Radio personalities either have an impact on listeners or not. There’s nothing in between. So what holds you back? Nobody wants to be average. But few are bold enough to be special. Why is that? That’s why the majority of radio personalities are trapped in the Zone of Mediocrity.

Personalities that stand out are almost all hated or disliked by a segment of the audience. That makes us uncomfortable. We want to be loved and accepted. We hate criticism. But the very things that cause listeners to fall in love cause others to complain.

The Zone of Mediocrity

Shows work so hard to avoid negatives. Some try to eliminate negatives to the point that all of the positives disappear.  Character traits that attract fans are downplayed for fear of offending someone. Talent becomes cautious. The show gets safer. Soon, nobody dislikes the show. Some listeners think it’s just fine. But nobody loves it. 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. Fear of offending places personalities in the Zone of Mediocrity:


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I understand that complaints are loud and dealing with them isn’t fun. Nobody wants emails or phone calls that start 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.

Don’t Be Average

Legendary programmer Lee Abrams explains it well:

One of the reasons radio has lost its edge is that it’s average. There seems to be this effort across the  land to create things that are average.  Probably because of the fear  of doing something wrong. But it’s the extremes that cut through. Average,  unless backed by a marketing campaign of Biblical  proportions will just  blend in and not make any significant impact.

Attention goes to the extremes. And the extremes cause strong reactions. Another way to put it is that love doesn’t exist without hate.

Here’s a solution: Instead of trying to avoid complaints, how about celebrating them? Today, it’s more important than ever to stand for something! And that leaves you open to criticism.

Here are a couple of tips:

Know Who You Are: Build a deep character brand profile and stay true to it.

Take a Stand: The middle of the road is for roadkill. Get out of the middle. Tolerance is great in real life but in entertainment, it’s a problem. Be bold.

Speak in Absolutes: Take a stance stating an opinion with conviction is powerful and entertaining. Know who you are and let it fly.


Broadcasters spend thousands of dollars researching how 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.

The result is a product that is tolerated but not loved. It’s like being a decent football team that plays not to lose. That’s a sure strategy to have an average season but never win a Super Bowl.

If you are in the Zone of Mediocrity and want to get out, try my Audience Magnet course. I show talent how to build a personality brand that truly resonates with listeners.

Find your voice. Develop content with a point of view. Have an opinion. Make a difference. Don’t be mediocre. Gate is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference.

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