CRS In Action: 'Put Me In Coach'
February 10, 2016 at 9:01 AM (PT)
This MORNING's (2/10) COUNTRY RADIO SEMINAR (CRS) 2016 panels kicked off with a 9a (CT) slot for "Put Me In Coach: The Best Talent Coaches Converge," featuring moderator ALL ACCESS NASHVILLE Editor RJ CURTIS and panelists iHEARTMEDIA VP/Talent Development DENNIS CLARK, THE REYNOLDS GROUP Owner STEVE REYNOLDS, and former OKLAHOMA and DALLAS COWBOYS Championship winning coach BARRY SWITZER (THE VILLE 2/3).
The topic of talent coaching in broadcast radio was approached from both a traditional and non-traditional angle, as SWITZER's football coaching advice was married with the broadcast coaching skill sets from both CLARK and REYNOLDS. How could football -- on both a collegiate and professional level -- correlate with on-air broadcast radio? As SWITZER said, "Both disc jockeys and football coaches have a lot of bullshit they have to put out!" On a more serious note, SWITZER compared the two careers saying, "Evaluating talent is the key. And the talent has to fit within the team concept. It can't be a 'me' or 'I' kind of talent, because the team has to be about 'we' and 'us.'"
On the often-debated hot-button issue of the talent pool in radio, CLARK said, "Is there a talent crisis? I think there is. We're not encouraging talent to raise their hand." CLARK cited iHEARTMEDIA syndicated host RYAN SEACREST as an example of someone who always raises his hand. "He says yes, then figures out how to make it happen." REYNOLDS agreed that it is important that we coach talent to be present, work hard, and take initiative. "I think we all basically know the same stuff," explained REYNOLDS. "It's up to how we manage people that determines success. What we know about radio is less important than improving our coaching skills."
But how can we pull more out of ourselves and the talent around us? "I get more out of talent by giving them time," said REYNOLDS. "If you make a commitment to honesty, you can also criticize. What are they afraid of? If I can take fear out of the equation, I can often move them incrementally. People make great decisions off of hope and being positive." SWITZER agreed, explaining that getting to know your team's "players" both on and off the field -- or on and off the airwaves -- is an important contributing factor to a successful coaching relationship. Knowing what motivates a person, what goals they have both professionally and personally, and who they are as an individual results in more coachable moments with greater success rates. SWITZER maintained that his relationship with his players as people was just as important, if not more so, as his relationship as a coach. Genuinely caring about the people surrounding you can make a difference in morale and can lead to more trust and more success as a highly successful team.
SWITZER also encouraged talent and talent coaches not to underestimate the power of external forces. "Peer pressure is one of the greatest motivators in pro football," the coach said. He explained that on a higher level of play, a professional athlete is aware that if their talent is not up to par, there is someone out there just as talented waiting for the opportunity to take their place. SWITZER discussed watching film with his DALLAS COWBOYS team, explaining that the pressure of having 53 teammates in a room as your individual performance is critiqued is often enough to elevate a player's game play. Can we do this in radio? CLARK says, "Peer pressure is fantastic. Some people might use another word -- jealousy. Just keep doing your job; get noticed; get on the radar."
And the key to continued improvement? "You've got to see how you score on the scoreboard," said CLARK. Look at your ratings, break down your target demos and dayparts, review trusted metrics from NIELSEN, MEDIA MONITORS, and raw data from social media followers to see how your talent stacks up against the competitor.
In summation, both CLARK and REYNOLDS put forth key takeaways on the day. CLARK's actionable takeaways include: "Coaching is the most important thing a PD can do. Find the unique, not the average, in every personality. We are in the 'what people think' business; you can't manage what you don't measure. Setbacks are good and create more opportunity for coaching. Coaching personalities to be aware of other people's needs and perspectives begins with you." REYNOLDS' takeaways were: "Give them your time. Everyone is different; manage accordingly, and care about them. Be honest, always keep your promises, and be patient. Strategies win. And reduce fear in the room." For more on this panel, including a detailed handout on each of the key actionable takeaways, check out the CRS 2016 website and app.