by Tracy Johnson
Radio personalities are in an awkward position. Many get little feedback or coaching. Most have been on their own for several months as broadcasters adjust schedules for social distancing. This summer, my most-asked question from air personalities is how to advance on their Personality Success Path with little or no direction. But every personality can improve by addressing the 7 Deadly Sins of Radio Personalities.
Some shows are guilty of all 7 of these common mistakes. Most commit several on a regular basis. Almost everyone has a problem with at least one or two.
The good news is that these sins can be overcome by understanding the problem and focusing on creating new habits to overcome them. Isolate one problem at a time and even shows committing all 7 Deadly Sins can usually overcome them in just 7 weeks.
Don’t be frustrated if it takes longer than a week. That’s okay. It’s more important to fix it before moving on to another problem area.
The first deadly sin is gluttony. Even with pizza and sleep, too much of anything is not good for you. Seriously. Even pizza.
Gluttony is a problem when air personalities try to do too many things on-air.
Overcome this sin by conducting a full audit of the show using Zero-Based Programming. Prune the weak material and focus more attention on the hits. Strip it down. The result will be a much cleaner show that is easier to execute and more fun to perform.
Being bored isn’t a sin, but causing listeners to be bored is a deadly sin. And when do listeners become bored? Usually when radio personalities are bored.
Boredom happens when mundane, everyday tasks make the job seem less like entertainment, and more like a factory job:
Over time, it affects energy, attitude, and enjoyment. But listeners don’t care. They come for a show, and your job is to take them away from their boring routine.
Here’s how to tell if being bored is a problem:
Take responsibility for having a great attitude. It’s a choice. Find a technique that puts you in a good mood every day. Maybe it’s music. Or meditation. Or exercise. Or simply to put aside distractions and problems and decide to be happy during the show.
Sometimes overcoming boredom is hard work, but it’s an important part of preventing listener boredom. To fix it, get out of your routine.
Ego gone wild may be the most common of the 7 Deadly Sins.
Great performers need a healthy self-confidence, a swagger. The best performers are a bit cocky.
But when it turns into a show that is self-absorbed or condescending, there’s a problem.
Vanity is a sneaky sin that almost every personality must fight. Here are signs that it may be a problem:
Balancing a healthy ego with humility is delicate.
The remedy: Try to understand and master the concept of It’s Not About You…it’s All About You to start on the road to recovery. If it’s really bad, work on performing without pronouns to overcome the IMEWEUS performance virus.
This is a little more detailed and theoretical. If it’s one of the problems in your show, it’s probably best to save this for last. It takes a little longer to fix.
The relationship with listeners is critical. 7 of 10 listeners say they consider a favorite personality to be “like me”. Finding your voice, character, and perspective is a key step to success. It’s one of the first things we do when working with new shows.
Integrity and authenticity are essential to air personalities. To create a brand that attracts and leads passionate fans, it’s important to know what that character brand represents. That’s why I recommend a detailed personality brand profile.
With a profile in place, it’s much easier to build a fan base. Performing inside the boundaries in the profile will free talent from the sin of deceit.
Identify your personality brand, then build every piece of content to enhance it.
Studies show a majority of Americans have interacted with radio personalities at some point during their lifetimes.
Most personalities are limited in public appearances for now, but that won’t last forever. When possible, here’s how to overcome this Deadly Sin:
In the meantime, work to make more personal contact with as many listeners as possible. Here’s a simple way to reach a large number of listeners that most shows can do.
Then, commit to a plan to connect with the audience in public and on multiple touchpoints as part of a daily and weekly routine.
This is a silent, hidden sin because it’s not obvious.
The sin of omission is not doing things that don’t really need to be done but could.
Missed opportunities are a major problem.
Here’s how to avoid the sin of omission:
Fix this problem by identifying areas that could improve. Little things mean a lot. Fix those areas and take advantage of every opportunity.
This is the greatest sin of all because it feeds the other sins.
Lazy shows are sloppy shows, and sloppy shows never reach their potential. That should be really hard to live with. but many accept it.
Today, most broadcasters have multiple responsibilities. Soon, they start cutting corners and compromising quality. We focus on things that must be done – and ignore important things that are crucial to being an effective communicator.
The result is a show that sounds okay but not special. It’s good enough to get but listeners aren’t excited.
Every element on the air should have full, undivided attention. Stop answering personal emails, checking posts on social media, texting your wife, setting up a tee-time, watching a YouTube video, and ordering on Amazon during the show.
Meanwhile, the phone rings on and on. And nobody is fully engaged in the show.
Don’t be lazy. How can you invest energy to make the show sizzle? Maybe you could:
Even personalities guilty of all 7 Deadly Sins can fix the problems in 7 weeks. Focus attention on one sin per week. In seven weeks or less, you should be healed. Start with one or two sins that are easiest to overcome. Break it down into small, actionable steps, then go to work with a laser focus.
Then move on to the next thing.
And let me know how I can help.
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