Where Have All the Likable Air Personalities Gone?
November 3, 2015
Winning on the air is really pretty simple:
Listeners who love you will reward you with loyalty and quarter-hours.
To make them love you, they must first like you.
Therefore, the key to success is to find ways to be more likable.
That happens when listeners hear a reflection of their values in your show.
Relating to an audience on their terms is a basic pillar of personality radio. Personalities who are friendly, warm and involved in the listener's world become friends. This seems to be a declining art.
Perhaps it's a by-product of our obsession with PPM-centric programming philosophies that eliminate all "useless" talk, keeping it tight and trying to win more occasions of listening.
Or perhaps we've inadvertently raised a generation of air talents who don't understand the importance of being authentic, natural personalities on the air. Or maybe personalities really are disconnected from the audience because they're voicetracking multiple stations in other cities they know nothing about.
Or maybe it's management's fear of offending even a single listener. Broadcasters have evolved into a team with thin-skins. Talent is trained to avoid controversy and as a result, we have an audience without passion. This focus is misplaced. You don't become more likable by being less un-likable. You become irrelevant.
What can you do about it? For starters, check out my likability webinar. Click here.
Then, start building personality into your show. Here are four easy steps:
- Be the champion of things your station's audience loves most. If it's pop music, be the spokesperson who positions and presents music to listeners. If it's sports, be the market's biggest fan of the team. When you "love the things they love," you build a bridge between your personality and their passion.
- Formatic stories. Use your talent and skills to turn ordinary, routine breaks into mini-stories. Do it once per hour, adding your perspective, point of view and personality into the break. Once you have it nailed once an hour, do it twice. Then every quarter-hour. These format bridges connect each element to the preceding and upcoming element. Start tomorrow: It'll energize your show!
- Sell the station. Teach listeners how, when and why they should use your station. After all, when the station grows, you benefit. On music stations, create clever promos that explain why this song adds value and richness to the listener experience. Make those liner cards come alive.
- Paint a picture in everything you do. That includes endorsement ads and live reads. Those commercials aren't chores. They're opportunities to connect your personality to a sponsor's brand that can have a positive impact on your audience.
These four steps are just the beginning, but we have to get started. Radio needs celebrities, experts and authorities who lead listeners. We need passion-inducing personalities who command attention. And that starts with being more likable.