by Tracy Johnson
Want a great radio show? Get a great radio producer.
Can’t afford a great producer? Improve your existing producer.
Don’t have a producer at all? Find a way to fill the roles of a producer on your show.
Really great producers are the secret sauce behind great radio shows. Here’s 3 essential skills the job demands.Click to tweet
A strong producer fills many functions on a winning radio show, but several skills are essential. Here’s what to look for:
A great producer wears a lot of hats, and it’s impossible to compile a list of everything that goes into their success. But these 3 skills are essential for each producer:
Radio shows evolve minute by minute, and the producer must manage the ebb and flow without losing overall focus. You have to listen to every moment, while still managing phone calls, monitoring social media and staying on top of production, sound effects, music beds, promos, ringers, prep and many more details.
The only way this is possible is to be prepared in advance, and put in place a system that works to streamline the repetitive tasks the job requires. It’s the only way to handle all of the balls you’re constantly juggling.
Develop a system to compile notes, information and methods to collect and manage all the content that must be juggled every day. Evernote works great. You could also set up a G-Mail box an provide access to everyone on the show, so they can stay updated on plans for tomorrow’s show.
Technology is your friend. Find an effective app for your tablet or phone that makes it easier. But technology doesn’t do your job. It’s only as effective as the effort you put into making it work for you.
A radio producer represents the morning show throughout the radio station and in the community. Perhaps the most important relationship is with the program director. When the producer understands programming, and knows the station’s overall goals, it gives the PD confidence that his or her strategy will be respected and implemented on the air. This solves a lot of problems, and saves a lot of meetings!
Simultaneously, the producer knows exactly what and how the host(s) think, and what choices they would make. As a result, the producer interfaces with with sales, promotions, management, engineering and digital media. Therefore, people and relationship-building skills are a necessity.
It’s also important to interact with the public. Answer the phone, return email and respond to listeners! Everyone’s busy, but taking time to get back to everyone that contacts your show is customer service they expect.
Be proactive in making friends with celebrities and influential people in your community. Get to know the television producers and performers, the politicians and PR teams for local sports teams. They can help you, and your show.
Producing a radio show is more than a full-time job. It’s 24/7/365. It’s frustrating. Your job is to get talent to do the right thing, and make them think it’s their idea. It will wear you out, but you won’t get the credit. That goes to the talent.
A great producer wears many hats, all of which demand a flexible, humble approach. Producers have to take pride in the success of their air talent. They get their satisfaction when the show succeeds. It’s not that they have low self esteem or lack an ego, but a producer’s mentality is to put their team in a position to succeed. It’s leadership from a support position.
A great producer has an ego that is fed when the air talent becomes a star.Click to tweet
How do you feel when your words come out of someone else’s mouth and they get credit? Does it bother you? Are you jealous? Do you want that credit? If so, you probably don’t have the right attitude to produce a great show.
A producer’s job encompasses many areas of the show and the station, requiring diverse skills, but these three traits are key to success for every radio producer.
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