Looking for a new beginning or fresh start? Or just a refreshing new approach to excite the audience? First impressions matter. That’s why personalities should plan ahead to avoid the 5 mistakes new shows make.

Here are the things to avoid.

Coming On Too Strong

Most personalities want to make a major impact quickly. They’re full of ideas and ready to start dominating the market. Whoa! Slow down.

In most cases, listeners don’t know anything about you. The existing audience obviously liked (or at least didn’t dislike) what was on before. And that has changed. So slow down and respect the listening environment.

Personalities cannot possibly become loved without first being liked. And they won’t be liked until the audience gets to know them.

And that takes time. I call it the Personality Success Path, five stages of growth from Introduction to Familiarity to Growth to Like to Love.  Every personality passes through each stage as they “romance” the listener.

It’s an impossible jump from Introduction to Love. It takes time. But coming on too strong in the Introduction stage often repels listeners, causing shows to never make it past Stage 2 (Familiarity).

Embrace The Listening Environment

Other than close friends and family, not a single listener tunes to a new show because of the personalities. They are there for other listening benefits. It could be music, information, a promotion, or to be put into a mood. Or maybe it’s because of long-ago formed habits.

This creates a tremendous opportunity.

The best way to win the affection of another person is to identify things they like and demonstrate you love them, too. Show that you love the format. Connect your personality to the station brand with personality and enthusiasm.

And it’s not hard! Just follow these guidelines to add color to every break.

Assuming Too Much

Most broadcasters assume listeners listen to the radio more than they do. In reality, they spend very little time with any station. Radio is just not important to most listeners.

I was discussing this with Jonathan Wier and Ayla Brown, the morning show on Boston’s WKLB. The show has been on for a little over a year and sounds great. But while the ratings are solid, the audience still considers them a new show.

Ayla summarized it perfectly:

I get what you’re saying. I listen to several stations each day in my 18 minute commute. That 18 minutes is my only impression of those shows. I couldn’t tell you a thing about any of them.

That’s a common experience.


I’m not talking about show prep. This is about preparing to attract potential fans. Before turning on the mic for the first time, every show should have a detailed, thorough plan that includes:

  • A clear understanding of the target audience and their qualities.
  • Management’s vision for the show. Communicate expectations early to avoid problems later.
  • For multi-personality shows, define roles and tasks. Who is the host? Who is the cohost? Many shows never talk about this, often resulting in a chaotic show that is hard to digest.
  • A Character Brand profile. Personalities can’t succeed without finding their “voice”. That is much easier with a character profile.

A Reason To Listen

Everyone wants to lead a large, loyal fan base. But listeners don’t magically fall in love with radio hosts. They must first be attracted to the show so they can experience the personalities.

Simply put, listeners need a reason to tune in, come back, and remember the show. Personalities need a major, fusion-force feature. Just as Carpool Karaoke made James Corden famous, one great feature is a powerful tool in gaining traction.

Audiences are first attracted by what you do. They fall in love with who you are. But they’ll never get to know who you are unless you attract them with what you do.


There are more opportunities for talented radio personalities than ever before. But it’s also harder to build a winning radio show. It takes persistence, commitment, and time.

Did you notice the common thread that runs through each of the 5 mistakes? Planning.

Most shows rush to just get started. I understand that. But taking a week or two to build a game plan with a clear strategy for success makes it possible to grow faster than rushing the show on the air.

Take some time to avoid these 5 mistakes new shows make. It will accelerate growth and improve results.


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