20 Top Takeaways From Morning Show Boot Camp 2019

20 Top Takeaways From Morning Show Boot Camp 2019

by Tracy Johnson

Don Anthony has done it again. Morning Show Boot Camp 2019 was another great event. The two-day conference is the industry’s best opportunity for personalities, programmers and managers to learn, exchange ideas and be inspired.

In case you missed it, here are the highlights, at least from my perspective,..along with my comments added:

Morning Show Boot Camp 2019: The State of Personality Radio

Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media presented the results of his annual talent survey. A few important things stood out:

Highlight: 45% of personalities report they are in debt or struggling.

This is alarming. Radio revenues are down, for sure. But the radio industry is not going to save our way to a brighter future. There’s no more to cut, folks. Personality is the future of radio. Smart managers should be investing in talent. Instead, the financial pressures on talent are driving them away from radio.


Highlight: 60% say there is more job stress now than a year ago.

Considering the financial difficulties faced by talent, this is little surprise. The biggest cause of stress: lack of money.


Highlight: 40% of all personalities say they are never air checked, and 23% say they are critiqued just once or twice a year. In other words, 63% of personalities are air checked less than 3 times a year.

This is why we’ve launched the new Air Check Coaching service for personalities, programmers and companies. How can air talent improve if they receive no guidance, feedback or coaching? This should be a priority at every radio station.


Highlight: Talent’s biggest gripe is lack of opportunity. 25% do not feel they are in a good position for advancement and 14% feel the PD is not good at their job. And more than half feel under-appreciated by management.

This is unfortunate, but there’s hope. It’s time for personalities to bet on themselves. If you’re not getting what you need, take matters into your own hands! Many of those at Morning Show Boot Camp 2019 were doing just that. It felt like a larger percentage of those attending were self-funded.

About Podcasting

There was much interest in podcasting. Don’t you find it interesting that broadcasting companies are investing in podcasting companies, while talent is shut out?  Sessions discussed topics including how podcasts can support and promote a radio show, why original podcast content is important and how to generate new revenue.


Futuri’s Daniel Anstandig:

Short clips of 90 seconds to 2 minutes gets more sharing and broader distribution. Long form audio of the full show on demand gets more subscribers. Both are important. If you have to choose one or the other, go for the short clips, organized by theme.

If you only have time for one or the other, launch a specifically focused podcast of your best feature. This has the greatest chance of being shared. Then start a longer from “on demand” podcast later. Or, create a short version of the best moments of the show each day. Isolating the highlights in a 15-20 minute podcast can be successful.


Carla Marie & Anthony, Morning show on KISS/Seattle had great advice for frustrated personalities with a desire to talk more than the format allows:

Limited in air time by the clock or format for your radio show? Build your personality and chemistry on the air with a daily podcast. You’ll develop your show much faster, even if it’s not on the air. Then, edit and repurpose the best parts of the podcast for the radio show the next day.

I love this idea. Don’t let a perceived lack of opportunity stand in the way of learning to entertain.

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Matty Staudt, Jam Street Media, commenting on developing a podcast about a specific topic:

If you aren’t excited about a podcast, don’t do it. Podcasts are a touch point for your listener. And that becomes a part of your brand.

Podcasts can build an audience, which is valuable if and when you find yourself on the beach at some point. Don’t wait until you’re out of work to start podcasting. (Podcasting is) a way to take the audience with you.


Seth Resler, Jacobs Media:

A podcast has to be about something. This is what brings listeners to the podcast. But they stay for the personality.

This is true for radio shows, and podcasts. Listeners become attracted because of what you do. They become fans because of who you are.


Matty Staudt:

Advertisers spend less than 1/2 on repurposed content than they do on original content, even if the engagement is the same.

If you want to launch a podcast, but don’t quite know where to start, here’s a great idea to support your radio show.

On the Art of Performance

Toby Knapp:

Life doesn’t follow formatics. And listeners respond when you put the extensions of your life on the air. You can have the tightest, most polished show ever and fail to connect.


Angi, Fred & Angi (Mornings on KISS/Chicago):

There’s a difference between a presenter and a personality. Personalities find a way to inject themselves into everything they say. We don’t all have to be rigid and perfect. We’re not doing ABC Nightly News here. We‘re talking to people as friends.


Angela Yee, The Breakfast Club:

The most important thing is that the listener is enjoying themselves. It’s not about you. And it doesn’t matter if you’re having a good day or a bad day. You’re doing it for the listener.

Angie is right on target. For more on this, check out the seminar on demand It’s Not About You, It’s All About You.


Fitz, Nationally Syndicated Personality:

The role of a personality is to make every day feel like a Friday

Fitz’ comment is simple, direct and right on point. Let this guide your decisions and attitude on the air.


From Programming Executives

Jon Zellner, iHeart:

I’d rather have someone that’s #2 and brings in triple the endorsement revenue than someone who is #1, but a pain in the ass.

Yikes! Has it really gotten to the point where the greatest criteria for personalities is how much revenue comes with you? Really? And we say that in front of nearly 300 air personalities at a talent conference? Endorsements are a great source of revenue for radio talent, but this sounds like we’re not that far from paying based on commission. I have to think about this one a bit more.


David Corey, Beasley Media:

Content is important but storytelling is the most important skill to succeeding as a personality. If you can’t tell a story, you may be a good DJ, but you won’t be able to lead an audience. If you have great content, that’s great. But it’s not enough. What’s important is your take on it and how you present it. If you can do that in a relatable way, you’ll have a great career in this business. It’s the one thing that can’t be taught and it’s the one thing we’re looking for most.

David is right on target. The future isn’t rosy for announcers. It is for personalities that connect through storytelling. Learn to tell stories here, and in the seminar on demand Storytelling Basics.

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Erica Farber, Radio Advertising Bureau:

Every single one of you are in sales. Every time you open that mic, you are selling your brand. When you go in and ask for money, management is wondering how you’re going to bring in value that brings in more money.


Jimmy Steele, Programmer:

Every time you open the microphone or post on social media, you’re making a brand deposit or brand withdrawal. We are living in a time of cataclysmic change, and if you’re doing the same thing you have always done, you’re not going to be here next year.  Before you crack the mic, think to yourself, “If I heard this on the air, would I tell someone else about it?”. If you’re working for a PD that requires you to read liner cards, leave.

Strong, Jimmy. And I agree. The future of personality radio is bright, but if you’re not in a position to grow your personality, you are wasting the opportunity.

Tim Clarke, VP/Content, Cox Media:

Data analysis shows that endorsements outperform a great produced spot…by far.

This is the power of the personality driving revenue and response. A recommendation from a friend has tremendous influence. Personalities must protect this opportunity. Here’s how to do that.

Emily Borden:

There’s nothing worse than a break that has a great out…then you keep talking.


Bert Weiss, The Bert Show:

You have to fill the air with nothing but A material every time you crack the mic.

10 Things To Start Immediately

I was proud to conclude the conference with my presentation, 10 Things to Start Doing Immediately On Your Show. It was a fast-paced, practical list that everyone can do to improve their show.

If you weren’t able to be there, you can take a little bit of Morning Show Boot Camp with you. The presentation, with an outline of the 10 Things are available to download here.


Thanks again to Don Anthony and the amazing personalities, programmers and sponsors that make this a highlight of the summer each year. Morning Show Boot Camp 2019 was a big hit, and I can’t wait for the next one.


Download my presentation from Morning Show Boot Camp 2019

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