5 Tips To Be Likable On The Air!

5 Tips To Be Likable On The Air!

by Tracy Johnson

Attracting a large audience is pretty simple. Listeners who love you reward you with loyalty. That adds to your time spent listening. To make them love you, they must first like you. For higher ratings, get them to like you! So the question is how to be likable. Right?

Personalities don’t become more likable by being less UN-likable. Yet that’s how many personalities seem to perform their show.

And they aren’t more appealing by eliminating things your audience finds objectionable. Eliminating negatives usually just makes you more generic. That’s what puts you in the middle of the Zone of Mediocrity.

How to Be Likable

Likability starts by learning to see yourself the way others see (and hear) you.

You become likable when listeners hear a reflection of themselves in your show. When they identify with your point of view.

All of us are naturally attracted to entertainment that confirm our beliefs. That’s why some of your friends watch Fox News while others rely on MSNBC or the New York Times for information. The same applies to television shows, movies, websites, podcasts, newscasts and songs.

We choose elements that reflect our values and core beliefs.

Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, says:

If you challenge a person’s core beliefs, they avoid you. Agree with those beliefs and they like you. This is the essence of brand building.

The easy response to the likability question is to find things the audience likes and convince them you love it, too. That’s the first step personalities should take when starting their Personality Success Path.

But simply avoiding things listeners dislike and showing that you like the things they won’t attract them to your personality. It only makes it likely they won’t hate you.

Being likable on the radio is a process. And you can accelerate the process with these 5 ways to put you on the right path:

Be Yourself

Stop trying to be something (or someone) you’re not. You’re annoying those that should like you, and not attracting those that shouldn’t.

Accept the fact that your personality isn’t for everyone. It’s part of being a personality and not an announcer. Embrace your quirks, flaws and vulnerabilities.

But do it in a smart, calculated way that emphasizes your compelling attributes that attract others to your personality brand. This is a deliberate exercise that happens when you build a character brand profile.

But don’t just be your actual self on the air. Become an enhanced version of yourself. The character brand exercise will show you how.

Focus on a Target

Do you know who you are for? It’s amazing how many personalities don’t know who should like them, and who should not. If you don’t have a target audience persona, you need to get one fast. That’s the only way you can become a personality that builds a fan base.

When you know who should love you, love on them and lead them through the engagement cycle. Everyone else? Well, every individual is important, and we’d like them all to be listeners. But they really don’t matter. Only those that are potential fans will be in your focus.

When you focus on a target, you can take a stance that fits their worldview and your personal point of view. This starts by avoiding things that won’t fit as much as finding things that do. Stand up against the things your audience target hates.

One of the impressive things about your audience is that they respect and care about you as long as you stand for something. Find the right things to stand for and against, and you’ll be accepted as one of their own.

Reflect Their Taste

You don’t have to be just like the audience to appeal to them, but there must be a common bond that they relate to.Talent that loves the things the audience loves win.

So get behind things your station’s audience love most. If it’s pop music, be the spokesperson that positions and presents music to listeners. If it’s sports, be the market’s biggest fan of the team.

When you “love what they love,” you build a bridge between your personality and their passion. This is one of the easiest things to do. Talk about things that interest your audience. Demonstrate that you have the same interests in the things they love.

That’s part of mastering content additives on the air. I call it ize-ing your content. It’s explained in more detail in my seminar on demand My Solo Show Can Beat Your Team Show.

Relax and Be Vulnerable

Carolina Bermudez spent many years working on the Elvis Duran show. She knows how difficult personality radio is. She says

If you’re going to succeed on the radio, you have to let it go and be comfortable to expose everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. When you’re vulnerable, listeners get to know you, relate to you and can learn to love you.

When you open up and let them into your head by sharing your thoughts, they identify with you. Sharing who you are creates an emotional bond with the audience. That can happen in big ways, or in dozens of small ways.

Even taking simple steps like saying, “Suddenly it was clear that I was way out of my league” is an endearing statement that allows the audience to feel they know you. It makes you much more relatable.

Personalities that take themselves seriously usually fail to resonate with the audience.

Be Positive

This is the most important element of all. Negative, cynical and sarcastic personalities don’t last long. But your positive attitude must be genuine.

To pull this off, you have to actually be happy.

Being upbeat is a choice, and you can train yourself to be more positive. Don’t bring your personal problems to the radio station, and insist that everyone you interact with do the same. Create a happy space that gets you in a good mood, no matter what your off-air problems are.

If you ask a kid about their trip to Disneyland, they’ll tell you how great it was. Ask an adult who took the kid and they tell you how long the lines were, that it was too hot and the parking was horrendous. Kids tell you what it IS. Adults tell you what it ISN’T.

Which is more fun to be around? Exactly.

If this is a problem, here are two easy things you can do:

  1. Smile when you talk. It’s amazing how it changes the way you sound. It puts a positive, bright attitude on the same words you speak.
  2. Use positive words and phrases. No negatives allowed.


Many talent coaches don’t believe you can learn to be likable. I disagree. You can work on it by bringing out the aspects of your personality brand that are most appealing to your audience.

Doing these things won’t turn you into a great personality, but it puts you on the path to it. And there’s no doubt that if you lack likable traits, you’ll never become a lovable personality.

When the audience learns to relate to you, they can like you. And when they like you, there’s a chance they can fall in love with you. It’s part of romancing your audience. Doesn’t it make sense to put at least part of your emphasis on learning to be likable?

Opt In Image
New! Air Check Coaching
Custom One On One Private Coaching Sessions

The ideal tool for under-coached air talent, over-worked program directors and forward-thinking managers.



Special Offer: 50% off your air check coaching session: Use Coupon Intro50 at checkout.

Radio Guide to Christmas Programming eBook
eBook, FREE

Tracy Johnson’s Radio Guide to Christmas Programming eBook is packed with information, tips and best practices for all stations, from those flipping to an All-Christmas format to those who are competing with the Christmas […]

Get The Most From Your Best Seminar on Demand
Webinar, $19.00

GET THE MOST FROM YOUR BEST. Find out how to develop a strategy to recycle, repurpose, replay and reperform your best content to present more “A”-level content.  New! Air Check Coaching Custom One On […]

The New Insiders Radio Network

Is This Really Radio's Most Valuable Resource For Personalities Programmers and Promotion Managers?