What to do when you get no feedback from your PD

Steve Kowch explains why feedback is important for radio hosts to grow as broadcastersFrom where I sit On The Kowch, the main reason many young broadcasters aren’t getting feedback about their on air performance is because today’s program directors are too busy to air check the talent who need it most – those hosting shows on the weekend, mid afternoon, evening and overnight.

Today, most PDs only have time to work with prime time talent in morning and afternoon drive where most of the station’s ratings and revenue are generated. So how does someone starting out at a radio station get the feedback they need to grow? 

  DEMAND an air check from your PD. Give them a 10 minute CD or MP3 of your show. Choose what you think is your best piece of on air work. 

If that doesn’t work, make friends with experienced broadcasters at the station including the morning man or afternoon drive host. Send them the sample of your work you sent to the PD and ask for their help.

Make a deal with other hosts who are also being ignored by the PD. Air check each others’ shows. What you’re listening for are formatics. Is the host selling ahead, are they identifying the song or the topic, are they saying the call letters or station ID properly. Are their bits between songs focused? Or are they going on and on with no apparent end in sight? If this is the case, try figuring out how you’re going to end the bit before turning on the microphone. That will help focus you and get off before talking over the post.

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If you are in talk radio, are you re-establishing who your guest or what your topic is every five minutes or when you go into and out of a break? Are you giving out the phone numbers to get the calls you need so that you aren’t the only one on the show talking? Are you giving your opinion on the topic? If not, you won’t generate calls. Talk show callers react to your opinions not not your questions on the topic. If you rattle off a shopping list of questions on the topic, you won’t get calls. These are the things you need to listen for when doing your own aircheck.

Identify ONE problem and work at fixing it before exchanging tapes again or doing your own aircheck once a week. Don’t try to fix everything at once. Do it step by step. Exchange tapes once a week or every two weeks – what fits into everyone’s schedule.

From where I sit On the Kowch, young radio talent assume if they aren’t getting feedback it’s because the PD is happy with their work. It’s only when they send out demos and are not hired by other radio stations, do they realize they may not be as good on air as they think they are. You need feedback to grow as a broadcaster. This is why kowchmedia created an affordable two-for-one aircheck package. Click here for more information.

“Steve recently airchecked a news anchor shift of mine. I found his advice to be invaluable in helping to improve my on-air sound. I was pleasantly surprised by the detailed written synopsis and the one on one phone conversation he had with me. Steve’s advice to let the natural emotions show through in your read and to write in a one thought per sentence manner, is something I will use every day in my broadcast career. In short, if you want to be the best you can be on air, talk to Steve. You won’t regret it!” – Calgary news anchor


Steve Kowch ran two of Canada’s largest newstalk radio stations in Montreal and Toronto for more than 14 years. He was National Director of NewsTalk Radio Programming for Astral Media. He was a professor at two of Toronto’s leading broadcast schools and is the author of   99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Making It BIG In Media   Today Steve is Canada’s leading media coach at kowchmedia helping emerging radio talent chase their dream to become great broadcasters.

Contact Steve at 647-521-6397 or email steve@kowchmedia.com