Treat Them Like Dogs
by Tracy Johnson
In a perfect world, air talent would receive regular, constructive, positive comments. The PD would be supportive and upbeat. And upper management would act as a protective shield from other departments. In this make-believe world, talent could look forward to and even celebrate air check meetings.
In the real world, everyone dreads critique sessions because talent already knows the breaks that sucked. To them, it’s like taking a drink out of the jug labeled “Spoiled Milk”.
Jimmy Kimmel explains what reviewing his performance is like:
I look back at every show I’ve ever done and cringe. My vision of hell is a bunch of monitors with my old shows running on them.
Is that the way air talent looks at meetings with programmers? Sadly, yes, in most cases.
But we shouldn’t dread it We should celebrate the air check meeting.
There are many excellent methods of evaluating and training talent, but one guideline should be at the center of each: and that is the air check meeting. It shouldn’t be a painful experience. Some personalities even come to love air checks.
Evaluating a show should never be an exercise to stroke their ego, nor an excuse to be critical. Both are a waste of time. The only goal should be a quest for excellence. If this is a genuine goal of all parties, reviews can be both productive and pleasant.
So what makes some sessions fun and productive and others about as much fun as a tax audit? Let’s examine the differences.
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