One of the biggest challenges for program directors and operations managers running the new multi-format clusters: dealing with different kinds of talent. While music DJs have a lot in common no matter the music format, their talk radio brothers and sisters live in a whole different kind of world.
While the most talented music jocks can be eccentric (with gusts to batshit crazy) successful talk show hosts are just as opinionated off air as they are on the radio. They talk back to their bosses, in person and on the air. For most PDs and OMs, this is something they just aren’t used to when dealing with staff.
PDs can’t deal with a talk show host the same way they deal with a music announcer
Most music jocks wouldn’t consider going on air to attack the boss. Talk radio hosts make it a sport to criticize the boss and openly defy them on air. It’s just part of their DNA. We want talk show hosts to be fearless on air. While we want music announcers to be the opposite on air and just play more music and talk less.
There is no cookie cutter approach to managing talent in a multi format cluster universe. You can’t communicate with a talk radio personality the same way you can talk to a deejay.
Talk show hosts challenge everything – including authority. Needless to say, this can cause quite a problem for PDs and OMs who see themselves as the final arbiter on how things are done in programming.
Remember, we hire talk radio personalities to be opinionated. There were times I’d have to tell controversial talk show hosts that I wasn’t one of their callers, so they had to let me talk. They could relate to that kind of handling. But that just got their attention.
I had to spend time selling them on the merits of what we wanted them to do on air. But once they bought into it, I never had to address the issue again – except to tell them over and over how they were doing a great job. Here’s why:
Despite being opinionated and sure of themselves on air, talk show hosts are a lot more paranoid off air than their brothers and sisters in the music format.
It is interesting how in the United States, programmers are starting to come to terms that music radio has to be more than an iPod. That’s it’s time to give deejays more time between songs to speak on the radio to bring back personality music radio. And how do they intend to do this. Well a headline in the American music radio trade publication RadioInfo reads: Taking a Page from the book of Talk Radio.
More Music Less Talk formats created a generation of DJs who rarely standout between songs
Duane Doobie is the Editor of the American radio trade publication RadioInfo. She writes:
“As many RadioInfo readers know, this publication’s sister trade is TALKERS magazine – journal that covers the talk radio and spoken word side of the media. Even though my role at this operation is on the music end of things, I can’t help but notice (across the hall) the sheer vibrancy of broadcast talent in the news/talk and sports talk radio arena … especially when compared to the voice tracked/liner card-reading facelessness and plasticity of so many of the voices barely holding together the elements on the air in the world of today’s music radio. Future of music radio may be in taking a page from the book of talk radio to teach deejays a new delivery and presentation style between songs.”
“Talk radio with music – disciplined and carefully executed – might just be what the doctor ordered.” – Duane Doobie, editor of RadioInfo
For more on what the editor of RadioInfo has to say about giving deejays more of a voice between songs on music radio, check out this On The Kowch blog.
Click on this On The Kowch blog for information about why listeners bond with Deejays on music stations. This may come as a surprise to music radio program directors.