Joining the 1 Percent

Joining the 1 Percent

by Tracy Johnson

Wouldn’t it be great to be a professional athlete? Or an actor? The fame, spotlight and money are alluring. But of course, this is radio. It’s different, right? Not that much. In sports, Hollywood, business and in radio, success is in the 1 percent.

We hear about superstars like Tom Brady and Mike Trout. They earn tens of millions of dollars a year for playing a game. Tom Hanks earns $30 million, just for one movie. It’s common for pop stars to take in $100 million a year or more.

But don’t assume all pro athletes or actors make a lot of money. The facts are that the top 10 percent receive more than 90 percent of all the money paid to these industries. And the top 1 percent makes a disproportionate amount more than the 10%.

The world’s highest paid athlete is soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo. He earned 93 million dollars in 2017. That’s more than $46,000 an hour. The average professional soccer player makes only $80/hr ($160,000/yr). Still not bad, but consider that their career lasts only about 3 years.

But think about that. Ronaldo makes 581 times more than the average professional soccer player. He’s great, but is he 581 times better?

Radio superstars like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and Ryan Seacrest earn millions. Others earn millions, and many others earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Focusing on the 1 percent of radio personalities indicates being a radio personality is a path to riches. But it’s like every other industry. Rewards go to the elite.

Everyone else scrambles to make a living.

I don’t want to depress you. Not at all. I want to encourage and excite you. Because everyone can become a wildly successful radio personality that earns a 6 or even 7 figure salary. That may seem out of reach, but it’s not.

Myths of the 1 Percent

Several radio myths have been advanced that resulted in potentially great personalities being stuck in a rut, outside of the 1%.

Myth #1

Perfect execution is the path to success.

The reality is that great execution is the price of admission.

Radio personalities have been coached to follow the format, keep breaks short and make the station sound better. Those things are fine. I have no quarrel with those disciplines of performance. But that doesn’t lead to becoming part of the 1 percent.

Great execution is a fundamental that listeners come to expect.

Nobody goes to a concert just to hear any old music. Fans expect to hear great music-the hits-performed by a favorite band. Performing the format and turning listeners into fans are two different things.

The 1 percent has fans. The rest have listeners.

Myth #2

Personalities are born, not made. You either have it or you don’t.

The reality is that popularity is a process. It doesn’t happen by itself. Every single radio personality with basic skills and a desire to succeed can become part of the 1 percent.

But most will fall short. The difference is effort.

Olympic gold medal winners have skills, but their talent is developed with tens of thousands of hours of hard work and dedication.

In radio, thousands of talented, charismatic personalities fail. And thousands of those with average talent become wildly successful. The difference is commitment and attitude.

Announcers become personalities by advancing through the five stages of the Personality Success Path, a logical way to grow a brand by focusing on building a relationship with the audience.

Myth #3

Content is King. We must talk about the right topics to win listeners.

The reality is that I’ve never seen a personality fail because they were talking about the wrong things. But many fail because of the way they talk about those things.

Relevant content is one thing. Relatable communication – real personalities connecting with real listeners – is another.

Great content is a good start. But topics must be turned into stories that resonate. Then it must be teased, promoted and branded.

Great personalities are master storytellers. They understand how to build suspense into content and cause their audience to stay glued to the radio to hear what happens next. This is a skill everyone can learn.

Myth #4

Listeners know what we do. We just have to do it well.

Many personalities have great moments once in awhile. There are breaks that absolutely kill it, and you know it. You can feel it.

But all athletes can have a good day on the field. A great break doesn’t put you in the 1 percent. Tomorrow is another day. There are 16 more breaks tomorrow. The 1 percent creates magical, Didja hear moments every day.

One break that causes reaction doesn’t insure continued success or added tune-in. You have to bring it every day.

Each listener is assaulted by more than 5,000 messages each day. All compete for attention. Standing out in a sea of competition is a tremendous challenge. That attention is hard to get, but it’s even harder to keep.

We must build breaks that reach through the speakers and captivate listeners every day.

How To Be In The 1 Percent

Here’s the good news. Your show doesn’t have to be 581 times better than the average air personality to get into the 1 percent.

Do these things consistently and you can become the Cristiano Ronaldo of your market, a wildly successful personality earning a 6 or even 7 figure salary.

These are my 3 secrets for becoming an on-air superstar.

Secret #1: Advance through the 5 Stages of Growth in the Personality Success Path.

Secret #2: Find your personality’s character voice and stay true to it.

And Secret #3: Learn the art of telling stories.

You can do it. I know you can, because I’ve seen it happen for personalities all over the world. That’s why I started the new online course called Audience Magnet.

It’s an intensive 58-lesson video on demand course that teaches radio personalities to become wildly successful personalities.

The course is available now, and there’s a free seminar on demand that explains the 3 secrets in detail. I walk you through it for free. At the end, I share a ink for a special offer for the course.

It’s called the Audience Magnet Blueprint. Get details and watch the Audience Magnet seminar on demand for free here.


With the right training and a focused strategy, radio personalities can get on a path to becoming an on air superstar.

Be prepared for hard work along the way. But you’re already working hard, right? It’s time to apply skills and effort to a strategy that will put you on a path to being part of the 1 percent.

You’re just one breakthrough away.

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