How Successful Personalities and Programmers Fight Boredom

How Successful Personalities and Programmers Fight Boredom

by Tracy Johnson

Boredom is one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Radio Personalities. Being bored isn’t really a sin, but boring listeners is. And when you’re bored, listeners will be soon.

Still, there you sit, staring at a screen, or several screens or in another in a series of endless meetings. You’re frustrated, tired, on edge—and completely uninspired. It’s hard to remember you’re in show business when the reality of the daily grind is finding a way to get through another show, another music log or another promotion.

When you’re bored, you become dissatisfied, restless and tired. You feel trapped in your own surroundings.

So how do you escape? When your creative juices aren’t flowing, and each show starts to feel like the last one, how can you find the inspiration to get out of the doldrums?

These six tips might help.

Overcome Boredom: Be Curious

Bored often creeps in when we spend too much time doing the same things over and over. Falling into repeated routines can cause you to lose the creative edge. Most humans are naturally curious, but when we’re bored, we lose the ability to even notice things that would normally get our attention and provoke that curiosity.

heinz-ketchup-bottleWhen you catch yourself getting bored with your station or show, get away from it for awhile. Take off a day or two to clear your head, and don’t even think about work. If you can, get out of the office and see a movie, even in the middle of the day.

Another tactic is getting into the target listener’s lifestyle. If you can put yourself in their shoes and see life (and your station) how they see (and hear) it, you can get a fresh perspective.

Heinz designers knew everything there was to know about their company’s traditional ketchup bottles, so they focused their curiosity on how people used and stored them. As Brian Grazer points out in his book A Curious Mind, Heinz researchers visited customers’ homes and opened up their refrigerators, where they found ketchup bottles balanced upside-down to let gravity pull down the remaining ounces. That insight helped re-energize the company’s designers, who then invented Heinz Easy Squeeze, an inverted plastic bottle.


Overcome Boredom: Get Outside Your World

A change of scenery is often all you need to get over a creative slump from boredom. Most of my ideas happen when on an airplane or a different city. Your creative breakthrough may depend only on a weekend getaway.

Or it could come from an article, a blog post, a YouTube video or anything else from outside of radio. Just don’t use it as an excuse to waste time and avoid working on your show or station!

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An air personality I work with will often spend 20 minutes checking out an Instagram feed from a creative person they admire or scanning a Pinterest board to research what the target audience (adult women) are into. Seeing the creative choices of others can inspire you to find ways to make the most of the job that’s become boring to you.

Overcome Boredom: Make Yourself Laugh

If you’re on a team show, it should be everyone’s duty to insure the rest of the team is having a great time both on and off the air. Agree that the studio is a no-drama zone with no negative thoughts or comments. Personal problems don’t exist until after the show, and each person must take responsibility to enforce the rule with others.

If the studio is a happy place it becomes a refuge, something to look forward to every day. That changes the way you feel on the air. When you’re laughing together, it’s hard to be bored. So play much and play often.

Overcome Boredom: Exercise

When you hit the wall, it may help to change the scenery just by grabbing the laptop and move to another room or a nearby coffee shop. It can get the brain cells going. But if that doesn’t work, work out! Take a hike, go for a jog, ride your bike or hit the gym. Exercise can give you new energy and a fresh perspective.

An account executive I worked with spent about 20 seconds bouncing up and down just before every client meeting. It didn’t matter if it was in the office before a call, in the elevator or in the ladies room of the restaurant. Why? Bouncing or jumping causes chemicals in your brain to be released and your attention to engage. You’re sharper, quicker and more alert, and much less likely to approach that next meeting with the “same old same old” attitude. You may not need a trampoline in the studio, but if that’s what it takes…

Overcome Boredom: Make The Familiar Strange

Every day, you’re repeating the same lines, playing the same songs, promoting the same contests and creating the same music log. It becomes so familiar, you could do it in your sleep (and it sounds like many are!).

Try looking at each task in a new way to change the perspective. For air talent, one way to do this is through content additives. Dress up that boring weather forecast by telling a mini-story about it. Drop in names, neighborhoods, streets and landmarks. This can make your show come alive by forcing you to be creative in a function that often goes into auto-pilot. The technique is explained in detail in our Likability webinar.

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It can also help to get outside of your own creative experience and think about how someone else might approach the break or the job. For example, you’re about to back-sell a Justin Timberlake song for the 1,000th time this month. Channel Casey Kasem. How would he sell it? Don’t copy or emulate that style, but use it as inspiration to enhance your own content.

Overcome Boredom: Grind it Out And Move Forward

When all else fails, just committing to your craft may be all you have left. Force yourself to keep going, setting small goals by breaking down big tasks into something much more manageable. james-dobson

Sometimes we just have to keep going—even while resisting it—until something interesting, and positive, comes into view again.

Positivity is a state of mind, and when you make the decision to stay positive, it’s much more likely you’ll be engaged and not bored.

One tactic is to find a technique that puts you in a good mood every day. Maybe it’s music or meditation. It could be poetry or comedy, but find that one thing that puts you in your happy place and make it a part of your routine to do it every day before you start your job.

Dr. James Dobson once said that:

Success in life is 5% what happens to you and 95% how you react to it. You can’t always control your surroundings, but you can control your response to it.


Fighting boredom is a real thing for air talent. We lose sight of how the audience is hearing us, and allow problems affect our outlook.

Make it your mission to maintain a positive attitude makes you happier and more resilient, it improves relationships, and even increases your chances of success.



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