Having a paint set doesn’t make someone an artist. I can buy a set of wrenches, but I’m not a mechanic. Likewise, radio folks can learn basic skills, but that doesn’t make them a winning personality. Everyone is unique and each personality has traits that set them apart. but there are common personality traits every air talent needs to win.

Personality Traits Of Winning Personalities

The traits are evident in personalities from Seacrest to Stern and DeDe to Duran. And each is a skill that can be developed and improved. Here are the common traits.

Interest: Winning personalities take an interest in the audience. Oprah is a great example. She understood, related to, and took an interest in her audience. They are also interested in a broad variety of topics. They are curious, and genuinely like to learn more about listeners, callers, and how things work. And, they are interesting one-of-a-kind characters with a distinct perspective.

Likability: What is it about Ellen, Tom Hanks, and Jimmy Kimmel that makes audiences feel good watching and listening to them? It’s a likable good nature. Great air personalities change a room when they enter. They attract a crowd with an endearing charisma. Likable people are generally upbeat, positive, and full of energy. Go here for tips on how to develop this trait.

Work Ethic: Everyone in this business works hard, but great performers find a way to get things done. They never make excuses. Ryan Seacrest earns a gazillion dollars working about 100 full-time jobs. His success didn’t just happen. He earned his fame by making it happen. Every job has obstacles. Knock them down and invest time and resources in the one sure thing: you.

Show Biz: Of all personality traits, this may be the hardest to learn. It comes naturally for some. For others, it can be difficult. But every air talent can commit to make every break count. Bring your “A” game to every opportunity.

Authenticity: Great personalities are authentic with an aura of honesty in their presentation. A standup comic can play a role for a 20-minute set, performing the same routine night after night. An actor can make you believe the character for a short time. In radio, a personality creates over 240 shows a year, about 1,000 hours of original material each year. Strategy and content can be perfect but will fail unless delivered by genuine, honest personalities.

Thirst For Learning: To remain relevant, be a learner. Passion for learning is part of what has driven Howard Stern’s career. He is never satisfied with a show, no matter how well it was performed. The pursuit of excellence starts with a desire to know everything possible about your craft.


How many of these personality traits do you have? The great news is that every trait on this list can be improved or learned. It just takes time and a commitment.

There’s help available. Get a talent coach or find a mentor. Or become a member of Insiders, which is like a Virtual Talent Coach. Or check out my online video course for radio personalities here.

But start today. Your career hangs in the balance.

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