Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Jay Trachman passed away on Saturday, November 28th. For those that weren’t familiar with Jay, he was a true friend to radio and one of my original mentors. Jay was a tremendous talent coach, teacher and author of “The Handbook for Radio Personalities.” A book that didn’t look like much on the outside, but once opened, it would transform any mediocre personality into a true communicator that understands what makes personalities great. Here are a few of my favorite tips from the book:

Be Yourself.

Know your audience.

Talk to ONE person.

Understand the nature of entertainment. Entertainment means helping people to experience emotions in a safe environment.

Have something to say.

Respect your listener.

Don’t lie to your listener.

Assume your listener is as intelligent as you.

Time Matters. Brevity is essential.

Be unique.

Make your listener feel.

People bond with people.

Get a life (one of my favorites). You’ve got to be an interesting person before you can be an interesting performer.

The book has much more, but those are some of the basic principles. I’m not sure how many of his books are left, but his son Will may be able to find you a copy. I was lucky to become an acquaintance of Jay’s. A few years ago as a Christmas gift to my entire air staff at KUPL, I bought everyone a copy of Jay’s book. I could tell talking to him how proud he was that after all these years his message of being one on one, yourself and real was still being taught. Like I posted on his Facebook page, radio needs more people like Jay Trachman.


  1. Always interesting how classic advice transcends boundaries. This makes a great sales primer and can apply to just about every interaction we have with other people. Thanks for pulling Jay's ideas up for us.

  2. She was unable to post this, so she e-mail it to me. This is from Leela K.

    Thanks for sharing this, John.

    The first thing that came to mind was how challenging it can be, in today's market, to squeeze a personality into a tightly programmed format, and still find space to do all of these valuable things.

    Also, of how important it is to find the best match between format and personality to create radio magic.

    As a long time country jock, with a definite southern lilt, I've naturally found work in country, though my own thoughts and values might work best in an Oprah or Delilah style format.

    If a talent is having trouble executing these great radio ideas, it might be time to consider changing formats. And in today's world, with the internet capabilities available, there is room for new formats to be born.

    You've been a great coach for me in the past and I'm happy to see that you're still out here supporting talent to become our best.

    Jay's legacy lives on in you.


  3. Thank you for your beautiful post about my Dad. I'm happy to see that people have taken his lessons and made them their own, to teach to the next generation of personalities.

    -- Will