by Tracy Johnson
As job descriptions for radio continue to evolve, duties and tasks pile up for everyone. That’s especially true for program directors. In many cases, especially in small and medium markets, a good programmer is overseeing 3-5 stations and performing one (or more) shows. That’s even happening in large markets. That makes for a full day. But an even bigger challenge is self-evaluation. Maybe this technique will help on-air PD’s aircheck themselves.
Finding the time to air check the morning show is hard enough, right? It’s not just getting the meeting on the calendar. The bigger challenge is the homework involved to conduct a good air check session. That involves listening, evaluating, and creating an actionable agenda for a productive meeting.
But how can PD’s conduct a meeting to air check themselves? Even if you invest the time and effort to critically analyze the content and performance, it’s hard to be objective and creative. And it’s next to impossible to inspire greater performance by meeting with…yourself.
There are several ways to approach this challenge. Find the one that works best for your needs, but invest the time to find a solution. Sure it takes a little time, but you’ll discover that it will help your aircheck skills for coaching the rest of the team.
This may be the easiest method to execute, but it takes the most time. Record the entire show, in real-time. Then put it on and take it with you while going about your day. Let it continue to play so you experience the show as a listener hears it. Don’t turn up the volume when you talk. The goal is to get a good feel for how well the show is “printing” with the audience.
This is the technique Chunky (Evan Rose) uses to keep his content tight and focused-every day. He explains it here.
Here are some more tips on how to do this effectively.
This is a painstaking, detailed way for PD’s to air check themselves, but it works well if you’re doing a personality-oriented morning show.
Ask someone to pick a random personality break and transcribe it word-for-word into a document. Do not transcribe it yourself, or even choose the break. For best results, ask them to pick one from at least a week ago.
Then read the transcription like a script. You’ll be amazed at how each break can be fine-tuned for better performance. You’ll find dozens of things that don’t stand out from listening alone.
Get more details on the aircheck transcript here. There’s also a form to download that makes it easier.
No matter how much time you put into self-analysis, it helps to have an outside voice speaking into your performance. Try to find someone you respect and trust to provide feedback that helps you grow.
Maybe it’s the VP of Programming at your company. Or a PD in a different market. Perhaps you have a consultant or talent coach working with your station or a sister station. Whoever it happens to be, find them and use that relationship to help you grow.
Make sure the relationship is direct, honest, and truly helps you advance. You’re not looking for someone that just tells you what you want to hear.
The best solution could be bringing in outside help o keep your career advancing on a Success Path. That’s why we’ve launched a new service for radio. Our team of talented coaches, including Andy Meadows, Mike Shepard, and me, analyze your aircheck and work with you to build a path to improved performance.
You get a thorough, detailed, personal analysis, a one-hour coaching session, and a written report to serve as a road map f0r growth.
The service is designed for both under-coached air personalities and over-worked program directors. If that’s you (especially if you fit both categories), check it out. Details are here.
All air personalities need feedback. Typically, that responsibility is on the PD, as it should be. But just because a programmer is also an air personality doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need to be air-checked.
Try these solutions. PD’s who actively air check themselves almost always improve on the air and in working with the rest of their team.
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