by Tracy Johnson
Radio personalities either have an impact on listeners or not. Everyone on the air is either a personality or announcer. There’s nothing in between. Radio needs more true personalities. So what holds some back? Almost all human beings want to be loved and accepted. Nobody wants to be average, but few are bold enough to be special. The vast majority of radio personalities are trapped in the zone of mediocrity.
Personalities that stand out – the elite 1% – are almost all hated or disliked by a percentage of the audience. That makes personalities uncomfortable.
But the very things that cause listeners to fall in love causes others to dislike them.
Many radio stations work so hard to avoid negatives they scrub character traits that attract fans. Talent becomes cautious, worried whether listeners twill be offended to the point they can’t demonstrate attractive traits.
As a result, nobody dislikes them. Some like them just fine. But nobody loves them. And that’s sad.
To become an on-air superstar, not just an announcer or DJ, focus on things that will cause listeners to love you. Removing things that may be offensive to some will not win.
That’s what puts talent in the Zone of Mediocrity:
Complaints are loud, and dealing with them isn’t fun.
Most media personalities share a point of view cautiously, timidly and politely, afraid to upset a listener. They hate emails or phone calls like this:
You know, I don’t like what you said today about ________.
It hurts. It’s hard to hear. But it’s part of the gig.
Think of a radio show as a story with characters. Chapters happen in each break, each day.
For a story to be compelling, there must be friction. Some call it conflict.
A story must have compelling characters. Listeners cheer for some, and root against another. But only strong characters inspire passion.
The stronger the point of view, the greater the friction. And the stronger the attraction.
A protagonist and his or her story can only be as intellectually fascinating and emotionally compelling as the forces of antagonism make them.
Another way to put it is that love doesn’t exist without hate.
But too many on-air talent are afraid to be personalities.
Instead of silencing personality, how about celebrating it?
It is more important than ever to stand for something!
Broadcasters invest in research to get rid of things listeners say they don’t like rather than investing in creating things they love.
That’s why so many are in the Zone of Mediocrity.
This needs to change. Here are a couple of tips to creating personalities that are irreplaceable:
Know Who You Are: Build a deep character brand profile and stay true to it.
Take a Side: The middle of the road is for road kill. Get out of the middle. Tolerance is great in real life. It’s a problem on the air. Be bold.
Speak in Absolutes: Prefacing a comment with a qualified statement like, “I think” or “It seems to me” or “In my opinion” weakens personality. Take a stance stating opinion with conviction is more powerful and entertaining.
Being in the Zone of Mediocrity results a product that is tolerated, but lacks passion. It’s for personalities stuck in Stage 1 (Introduction) and 2 (Familiarity) of the Personality Success Path.
It’s like being a decent football team that plays NOT to LOSE. That’s a sure strategy to turn in in average seasons, but never win the Super Bowl.
That’s the definition of the Zone of Mediocrity.
If you are in that zone and want to get out, get help with my Audience Magnet course. I show talent how to build a personality brand that truly resonates with listeners. Learn how to do it by developing a unique personality brand.
The bottom line is this:
Stay out of the Zone of Mediocrity. There’s no future in it.
Find your voice. Develop content with a point of view. Have an opinion.
Make a difference. Don’t be mediocre. Because the opposite of love is not hate. It’s indifference.
There's no formula for becoming a great radio personality, but most top shows share these 7 habits. This eBook analyzes how winning personalities succeed. Use it as a road map to jump-start your career.
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