NAB Panel Looks At Talent Development
September 19, 2008 at 8:17 AM (PT)
At the NAB RADIO SHOW in AUSTIN FRIDAY morning, a "Content Is King" panel moderated by WEEI-A and WRKO-A/BOSTON's JASON WOLFE examined talent development with the help of consultant STEVE REYNOLDS, WHJY/PROVIDENCE host GEOFF CHARLES and CLEAR CHANNEL/DENVER's KRIS OLINGER.
REYNOLDS gave a presentation about avoiding the "sameness trap" in a world where a lot of things are similar, pointing out how television understands how "everything begins with plot" while radio tends not to understand plot at all. He gave examples of client shows which have a plot of sorts, such as KSON/SAN DIEGO's "good Country fun," WZLX/BOSTON's "big, fat, fun mornings," and "hip life, hip hop, hip fun" for KPWR/LOS ANGELES' "BIG BOY's Neighborhood," as well as non-client KSTP-A/MINNEAPOLIS' JOE SOUCHERAY's show title "GARAGE LOGIC," which he said sums up the show.
Calling for hosts to use truth and humanity, REYNOLDS said shows need to be "real," both authentic and vulnerable, and he also cited RED ZEBRA BROADCASTING's BRUCE GILBERT's admonition to treat topics as hit records because listeners crave familiarity. And he unveiled what he called "the secret," saying that if a host puts out authenticity, relevance, innovation and humor or emotion, the result is more audience.
CHARLES, the long-time talk show host, advised talent to fight "corporate totalitarianism," noting that being an individual and authentic may run afoul of corporate ownership. He stressed the importance of character more than plot, saying that people like and identify with characters, and he touted the need for hosts to display passion.
OLINGER said that she wants talent to find a "wow moment," noting that hosts won't find one every day, but looking for it will help the show. REYNOLDS said that "it's in your DNA" to be able to do that, saying that good hosts instinctively know how to be compelling and connect with the audience. He talked about coaching talent and finding "the key to unlock the door" with a talent who refuses to talk about topics that the listeners want to hear. "Our job as coaches," he said, "is to create an environment for our talent where they feel safe."