Nearly all great performers have a larger-than-normal ego. In fact, a healthy self-confidence or a swagger is necessary to be a compelling, confident air personality. But a self-absorbed show is deadly. In fact, it’s one of the most common things that repels listeners.

Listeners have all the power. To succeed, you must find a way to fit into their world. Yet talent that attracts attention is also a key to success. This is a delicate balance.

There is a difference between connecting on a personal level and being vain. Vanity is one the 7 Deadly Sins of Radio Performance, a mistake almost every personality battles at times.

5 Signs You May Be Self-Absorbed…and Not Know It

A listener-focused show can tell endless personal stories without sounding arrogant or inside. Other shows can talk about external content and come off as being “all about us, not about them”. Why is that? Here are four reasons:

The Entry Point: The hook, or entry point, should be designed to pique listener curiosity. That means it should almost always start with them, not with you, If a break starts with a story about you, they tune out almost immediately. A simple adjustment to the opening line can be the difference between relatable and self-indulgent. For a great example, listen to this segment.

Listen and Respond Naturally: Many personalities are so focused on what they want to say next, they don’t pay attention to what is currently said. The result is a disconnected conversation that doesn’t sound natural. Comments may not actually be self-absorbed, but they appear to be steamrolling the conversation like an audio bully.

Redirecting Conversations: Self-Absorbed people tend to redirect conversations back to themselves. Listen to your show closely in aircheck sessions. It’s common to hear a listener comment on a topic, only for the air talent to turn it into a story about themselves. This is redirecting the conversation.

IMEWEUS: Imeweus is a big problem in radio. It’s over-use of the personal pronouns like I, me, we and us. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using those words, but too many can tilt the feel of the show to being inside. 

Inside Jokes: Maybe you think it’s charming to create an internal club where only the insiders get the jokes. Inside jokes are like being at a cocktail party where you don’t know anyone. You stand around with two people having a conversation that doesn’t include the outsider. You just want to leave. Being left out of the conversation is an immediate button push.


It’s easy to become bored with the basics. We want to liven it up and make it more entertaining for us by being playfully inside. But the audience doesn’t perceive it that way. Avoid inside, self-absorbed content. It will kill your relatability. Here’s more detail on how to avoid being self-absorbed in my two-minute drill:

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