For radio shows to grow roots and build a fan base, they must have the opportunity to be heard regularly and frequently. Most shows aren’t on frequently enough. Listening occasions are short, yet many morning shows disappear for 10 minutes or more without a presence. A large percentage of the audience could tune in and never hear them.

To get through the first two stages of the Personality Success Path (Introduction and Familiarity), talent needs frequent exposure. That doesn’t mean a lot more talk, but they need to increase their presence to make an impression.

Why Personalities Need More Presence

When launching a new show, most programmers proceed with extreme caution, for good reason. They limit talk breaks, which is a good idea. The new personalities don’t have a relationship with listeners yet.

But they also reduce opportunities to perform to just a handful of times per hour. One client limits their morning show to just four times per hour. That’s not four full breaks. It’s four total impressions per hour. Two of those breaks are talking over song intros. Other than that, there’s no presence. Everything else is music and imaging.

Imagine how that impacts a typical listener. In this market, the average commute time is 20 minutes. Let’s say a listener tunes in as a stop set starts. If they make it through the commercials, they hear:

  • Stop Set (5 minutes)
  • Traffic (1 minute)
  • Imaging
  • Song (4 minutes)
  • Imaging
  • Song (4 minutes)
  • Imaging promoting the station
  • Song (4 minutes)
  • Personality break (2 minutes)
  • Song (4 minutes)

That’s 24 minutes and one exposure (2 minutes) of the air talent. And we wonder why personalities are stuck in Stages 1 or 2 of the Personality Success Path. How can a relationship with listeners develop?

If the goal is to develop on-air superstars (as it should be), this station will be disappointed.

New personalities should be on as often as possible. But not for long, extended segments. The frequency will allow listeners to get to know the talent and speed growth from Introduction to Familiarity (Stage 1 to Stage 2).

Do it right, and it won’t change the music count.

How Much Presence Is Needed?

I can make a case that new personalities should be on more often than personalities in any other stage of development.

Established stars in Stage 4 (Like) or 5 (Love) should be on for longer segments. They don’t need to be on as frequently. But new personalities have to be exposed to become known.  Yet most shows are not formatted for that to be possible.

Here are a few guidelines when launching a new personality-oriented show.

Talk between every song. That’s right, every song. All of them. It doesn’t have to be in place of imaging. Use both. Make them work together.

Talk into every stop set. Many stations are now segueing into a promo and then commercials, with imaging coming out. There’s no personality presence.

Talk out of stop sets.  Use the opportunity to introduce the next song, promote the next content, or just say hello and make a connection by IZE-ing the content.

For specific tips and other, non-talk opportunities to have a stronger personality presence without increasing talk content, go here.


Teaching air talent to execute a game plan with a lot of music is a great discipline. It takes time to coach this discipline a commitment to have something to say every time the mic is on.

Without frequent exposure, personalities may never make it to Stage 3 (Growth). How will you adjust your format clocks to support a greater personality presence?

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