Sunday, November 14, 2010


Here’s an easy and extremely helpful way to get everyone on the same page about the exact target of your radio station. This is something I’ve done at nearly every station I’ve programmed. I put this list together using actual research from Arbitron, The Media Audit, Scarborough, and local perceptual to come up with this list. I gave this list to everyone at the station. Here’s a sample of my “Target Listener.”

Board Target Demographic
Adults 25-54

Narrow Target Demographic. We must OWN this demo!
Adults 35-44

On Target Demographic. We must always use her as a filter.
33 Year Old Female
• Married
• Young family
• Employed Full Time
• Contemporary in fashion and trends
• Trendy
• Not afraid to go out in the city
• Very into family/friends, but loves weekend getaways with husband
• Drives a foreign car (only 23.7% of metro population own a domestic car)
• Faithful/Spiritual
• Gives of her time to charity. Volunteers
• Loves new movies and Hollywood gossip
• Reads People, OK!, Women’s Day, Glamour, Cosmo
• Loves to watch ET, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment Television, HGTV, Food Network.
• Loves to find TV shows the whole family can watch at the same time
• Wants to protect her children from off color humor
• Has a college education
• Median Household income is $52,000
• Didn’t listen to country music before the early 90’s. Loves Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Brad Paisley
• She listens to the lyrics and knows their meanings
• Also listens to Hot A/C, A/C and CHR

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Most radio stations don’t sell the music anymore. They feel that just saying the title and artist is enough. Many stations don’t even do that because they are jukeboxes running jock less.

In every piece of research I’ve ever seen, listener LOVE to know the title and artist of every song. It’s always at or near the top of what they want. Yet, so many stations don’t even do that.

I’d think we need to take it a step further and actually SELL the music. Talk about the songs, the stars, have audio from the artists run over the intro of them talking about what the song means and how it came to be. Make the song a big deal. Be excited about being able to play it. Isn’t that a big reason why most of us got into radio?

Think about it. If we sell the music and make the listener a big fan of the artist and their song, they will want to hear them more and spend more time listening to us to hear that song. They may also go out and buy and download the single. It’s a win-win for records and for radio.

I think it’s not only our job to play the music, but to sell the music and make fans of the songs and stars.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


This is from Mark Ramsey. Like almost everything he writes, this is dead on. Check out more about Mark at

Blockbuster once defined the video business. Now in bankruptcy, it has shuttered thousands of stores and fired thousands of employees.

Flash back 25 years, and Blockbuster was revolutionary. All the videos most folks wanted – and all in one place and easy to rent. Blockbuster quickly became THE way to experience movies at home. It became the established way.

The analogy to radio is obvious. The established way to consume content – check. Purveyor of the hits most people want most of the time – check. Conveniently located and part of your daily habit – check. Local to your community – check. A vast network of outlets nationwide – check. Thousands of employees and managers all clinging to the status quo – check.

And like radio, Blockbuster drifted into a business model that calcified over the years. With tremendous scale and tremendous profitability comes a sense that you can do no wrong – that your way is the way, come Hell or high water. With scale and profitability comes a sluggishness to respond to change and competitive threats.
Competitor Netflix was once a flea on Blockbuster’s butt. After all, they were the upstart – a virtual company mailing DVD’s to people at home and later, laughably, actually streaming content online. Let’s see, an industry confronted by a competitor streaming content online…where have I heard that before?

Now Netflix’s profits are up 25% in the past year. They continue to ramp up deals with the Hollywood content-makers and are likely to offer a streaming-only option soon. Today, Netflix streaming accounts for 20% of prime-time Internet traffic.
Meanwhile there’s another competitor that brings the best of the Blockbuster experience to a corner near you with even greater convenience and an even lower price: Redbox. In the second quarter alone, the “DVD services” revenue of Redbox’s parent corporation were up 44%.

Blockbuster could have responded to all this; indeed it eventually did in efforts that are generally viewed as “too little and too late.”
So back to radio, the established way to consume content featuring the hits most people want most of the time, conveniently located and part of your daily habit, local to your community, with a vast network of outlets and thousands of employees and managers working with a calcified business model.

What are five things radio learn from Blockbuster?

1. Pay attention to the way habits change

People didn’t wake up one day and start ordering DVD’s online or streaming them direct to their TV’s and mobile devices. It happened gradually over a decade. But the habits were changing decisively, and Blockbuster generally ignored them until it was too late.

Like Blockbuster, radio broadcasters proclaim the dominance of their reach and give primarily lip service to the changing behaviors of the listening audience. When 75 million Americans are registered to use Pandora, you can assume that behaviors are changing and the wind is no longer at your back, radio. Like Blockbuster, radio’s investments are too little.

One hopes they will not be too late.

2. Don’t buy your competitor until you invest in your future.

How did Blockbuster respond to weakness in their sector? By trying to buy their competition, Hollywood Video. That acquisition fell apart in 2005, well into the growth curve of Netflix. In other words, Blockbuster focused on buying more outlets like themselves rather than investing in the future consumers were heading towards.
If deal money were available to radio, would we use it to invest in our multi-platform digital future? Or to buy more radio stations? You and I both know the answer to that. Hello, Blockbuster!

3. Act fast and with commitment

Netflix began renting DVD’s by mail in 1999. Blockbuster introduced an online DVD rental service in 2004. Naturally, Blockbuster is dwarfed by Netflix in this space. That’s what happens when you’re five years late to the party.
Redbox began to sprinkle its kiosks around the country in 2004. Blockbuster created its own kiosk business in 2009. Naturally, Blockbuster is dwarfed by Redbox in this space. That’s what happens when you’re five years late to the party.
What trends is radio five years late on? Frankly, what trends are we not five years late on?

The key is not only to act, but to act fast and with commitment.

4. Talk to consumers about the experience they want, not the one you’re giving them
Value is in the eye – and the ear – of the beholder.

Netflix and Redbox are both more valuable than Blockbuster to a growing number of consumers because they offer a different and richer value proposition: Greater convenience, greater choice, lower cost, greater personalization, etc. Blockbuster viewed the problem as a “how do we maximize profits from our customer base and get new customers into the store” problem, rather than a “how do we increase the value of our offerings to consumers who can and do have choices” problem.
Today, radio is in a similar dilemma. Consumers want value, not “radio.” They want music and information content on their terms, not yours. It is the wise broadcaster who understands the difference.

Do you know how many times a broadcaster has asked me to provide a research-based roadmap to the future consumer for the kind of content radio provides and to map out how that broadcaster can satisfy that consumer regardless of distribution channel?

5. Recognize that you’re not in the business you thought you were in

Part of the reason why Blockbuster was so slow was that they envisioned themselves as being in the “brick and mortar” video rental business, when in fact they are in the business of “distributing entertainment content to consumers any way consumers want it.”

That’s a huge difference with huge implications for strategy and action.
Radio, meanwhile, sees itself as being in the “radio business,” the business of selling spots to agencies to reach listeners who are measured by diaries or meters.
Instead, radio must recognize that it’s in the business of connecting local consumers with clients via the megaphone of the broadcast. Where these two groups meet and how they meet and what medium brings them together may be propelled by your radio tower, but it is not limited to it.

Yelp and Google Local are growing at your expense. Groupon is growing at your expense. Pandora is growing at your expense.

Until you understand what business you’re in, you won’t even recognize your competitor when he steals your consumers from under you.

Hello, Blockbuster.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is from talent coach Tommy Kramer

Here’s why you simply have to have personality on the radio. Just being a music source isn’t good enough anymore (if it ever was), because the way it’s set up on iTunes or Amazon, they make recommendations based on what I’ve already listened to or bought.

So their sense of what I might enjoy is actually far more accurate than your little playlist, which contains at least a hundred songs that I could never stand in the first place, or I’m sick of now and never want to hear again—no matter what your format is. You have to entertain to offer something different, so people will abide the songs that aren’t their favorites. And you want the feeling that we’re just sitting in the living room playing songs while we talk—you know, like in real life.

Ask yourself every day “What did I do today that was really entertaining?” It doesn’t have to be a big, shiny production; just something that made listening to you worth the time I spent.

Otherwise, it’s “Hello, iPod.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There’s a lot of talk recently about how an FM receiver could be built into all cell phones. I’ve heard a few radio executives get really excited about this. Some may even think radio’s troubles could be over when this happens. Don’t hold your breath.

If there is no content worth listening to on the radio, no matter how much distribution you have, it won’t matter. Stations that are “most music” and “less personality” have the most to lose with the FM receiver in cell phones. Many people have their entire music library in their phones. No commercials. Why would they choose to listen to a radio station that has no compelling content on their phone, when everything they want musically is already there?

My point is, until there is something compelling, relatable and riveting on the radio, having a FM receiver in cell phones won’t matter. When radio wakes up and starts investing in talent and gives people a reason to listen beyond the music, then it may matter.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Radio personalities campaigning for votes (ratings) is very similar to Politicians who are campaigning. Getting out and meeting as many of your listeners as you can is extremely important. Shaking hands, kissing babies, showing up at events, and personally asking people to listen is a big part of your job and success.

Tim Johnson is a Republican Congressman in Illinois. He has made a promise and goal to personally call around 100 of his constituents every day. He calls them on his way to work, on his way home, during lunch, his morning walk, or time he sets aside each day. Some calls are 15 seconds, others are an hour. That’s well over 300,000 calls a year. Congressman Johnson gives his constituents a chance to personally talk to him, ask questions and share concerns or issues they may have. 100 each day. One on one. Personal.

By the way, he’s never lost an election.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


We have a format here at Dial Global Radio Networks called SAM "Simply About Music." Gary Thompson is the PD and came up with this promotion for one of our affiliates. It's great. This is from Mark Ramsey's BLOG.

There’s a SAM affiliate in Illinois that’s been with Dial Global for a couple years. Over the last year, the station had flattened out in the ratings. Earlier this year, we developed a plan to get some street buzz for the station. Like most stations they had no money for promotions. On Fridays instead of calling the station SAM, we rename it after a “facebook fan” that we select….its called FACEBOOK FAN FRIDAYS. We re-do new imaging for the station every Friday, calling it stuff like “Tina Smith-FM”. We run promos saying what we’re doing. We play up the fact that “all this great music is thanks to Tina”…and “if you see Tina today, thank her.” Turns out people like to hear their name on the radio ALL DAY, and end up telling their friends. The station’s Facebook friends have gone from a few hundred to a few thousand. And for whatever reasons, the ratings doubled in the last book. I’ve given this idea to other SAM’s, along with producing generic Facebook fan imaging for them.

Interesting tactic that’s less about gathering Facebook fans and more about generating some excitement and word-of-mouth out in audience-land.
Now if the station has a mechanism to “can” that word-of-mouth and make the whole process easier to share and communicate to friends (exactly the purpose of social media), you have a great opportunity to power the ability of an audience to share themselves with each other in your presence.

That, my friends, is called “branding.”

Will this branding yield ratings like it seemed to do in this case?

Try it and find out.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Doug Erickson printed this on his website It's written by John Hendricks and makes total sense.


As a career broadcaster, the thought that Radio could be over sends a chill up my spine. Those of us in the USA have, for the better part of a century, enjoyed FREE radio and television.

Now, in a very real way, Radio is the only free media still standing. Think about it...

•Internet Radio, at the very least, requires subscription to a high-speed ISP. Cost: around $60 per month.
•Cell phones with internet access cost about twice that.
•Even before television converted to HDTV, most viewers subscribed to either cable or satellite service. Now, for many to access local channels, they have to subscribe.
Anyone who has ever worked with Cable and Cell Phone providers knows that they understand the absolute basic premise of the media business: Distribution.
No matter how great the programming is, if you can't get it to a mass audience, it will fail.

And if they control the distribution, they control everything. Steve Jobs understands this.

Cable and Mobile providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars into developing their distribution platforms -- and they fully intend to see to it that nobody will make more money from the use of their platforms than they do.

As James Carville might say: It's all about distribution, dummy!

The day is quickly arriving when we'll be down to 5 major systems of distribution:

•Mobile phones
•Small dish networks, such as Direct TV and Dish Network
•Sirius/XM satellite radio, which is now using portions of many of the above
This leaves terrestrial RADIO as the only FREE service left. It seems to me this is something worth fighting for!

Before Radio tries to make 'friends' with the digital world, it should consider what that will mean:

•Radio will be at the mercy of out-sourced distributors.
•Radio will no longer be free, forcing us to compete with all other media, including video, on the same platforms.
•Radio will no longer have the ability to connect advertisers with 240 million American consumers on a free platform, and that will lead to huge losses in ad revenue.
To some degree, this loss of ad revenue is already happening. Don't believe me? Just ask one of your local account execs. Ask who's getting the budget your local station used to get?

You'll discover that cable television offers local insert rates (into FOX, CNN, A & E, and local network television) that are, in many cases, lower than your station can offer, and considerably lower than the local TV stations.

So, what can Radio do to protect its place in this new hyper-competitive media world?

Only one thing: Create programming content that people do not want to live without.

And there is a contemporary example we can emulate: HBO.

About a decade or so ago, HBO realized they had become just another 'movie channel,' and that they were forced to bid higher and higher amounts for the top box office films in order to keep them off competitor channels.

HBO was becoming a commodity with ever-increasing product costs that were out of its control. How would they survive and thrive?

HBO began creating original programming. At first, true hit shows were rare, but then The Sopranos hit Sunday evenings.

Suddenly, HBO was the "movie channel" everyone had to have, the premium TV they were more than willing to pay for.

You've seen the result. HBO continues to invest in original content, and to pay for quality programming that is not available anywhere else. HBO has increased its value, and its differentiation at the very time network TV is struggling to produce real hit shows, seen by fewer and fewer eyeballs, producing less and less revenue.

If Radio, as the last totally free medium, is to survive and thrive, giving in to cell phone apps and online streaming is not the way. Cutting costs, cutting talent, becoming music services with lots of ads, will only hasten our demise.

It really is All About Distribution, Dummy!

And with a weekly cume of nearly 240 million unique listeners, Radio's distribution far exceeds that of any of our competitors.

We already have the audience on the best platform available, because it's ubiquitous and free. Now we need to invest in original content that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

It's not the playing field that has to change, it's the plays.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ode To A Dying Breed - The Radio DJ

By Cory Cory

Radio DJ's going the way of the dinosaur

Sooner or later, your favorite local radio music format will be gone. One day, perhaps without warning, it will be replaced by talk, news, or some “contemporary” format. Popular songs you once enjoyed, or maybe loved to hate, first become oldies and suddenly one day a program director somewhere decides the demographic skews too old and those songs just vanish from the radio.

The final cut comes when the format’s premiere disc jockeys disappear. Recently, one of the country's top jazz DJs, Dick Buckley from Chicago, died. For several decades before his last broadcast two years ago, when it came to jazz he had few peers. Like the best DJ of any format - classical, country, rock, R &B - Buckley introduced old songs to new listeners and new songs to old listeners. Interspersed with his tales of hanging out with Count Basie and Duke Ellington, he typified the emotional hold a talented DJ with great music could exert over listeners.

Author Michael Chabon discusses the power of local radio in his essay, Radio Silence, “(The song) "Runaround Sue" by Dion & the Belmonts (1961) was my mother’s all-time favorite. We used to hear it sometime on WMOD (“Washington DC’s Goldmine”), and she always got a certain look when it came on, something between surprise and reverie. All those songs, and even more, their familiarity and evident importance to my mother- the associations and memories they stirred, the good feelings they engendered – came to mean something to me. Their lyrics, their instrumentation, the outmoded crooning or falsettos of their vocalists, their monauraul shimmer, became part of my understanding of the era that had produced them, and my understanding of my mother, and of the way she saw and talked about her life.”

Unfortunately, formats pass on. AM radio stations that once filled the airwaves with 1940’s favorites, the Andrews Sisters or Dorsey Brothers, are long gone. That music may as well be Gregorian chants. 1950’s formats that made their bones on doo-wop, Chuck Berry or the Everly Brothers have become distant memories like poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

The 1960’s, which popularized FM, were the decade that was supposed to change it all. But you don't even hear much 1960’s music on local radio anymore. A few warhorses like "My Girl," "Satisfaction," or "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" survive, usually on FM, but they are token exceptions. Even Beatles and Stones’s playlists have dwindled to an overplayed few. The legendary AM stations like WABC or WLS in Chicago, which once hooked Boomers on rock and roll, don't even play music anymore.

The 1970’s are on their way out, also. "Black Magic Woman," "Stairway to Heaven" and "Ramblin’ Man" may still be around, but it means scouring the dial to hear them, if you're willing and haven't grown tired of them yet. Take note, Billy Joel, Prince, and Phil Collins, your days on local radio are numbered.

Who cares, you may ask? Besides satellite radio, it’s possible to download any of these artists, and thousands of others, anytime on your iPod. Your MP3 player will play "Purple Rain" all day if you like. People with iPod buds wander ubiquitously through suburban malls (resembling nothing so much as those emotionless drones from the Invasion of The Body Snatchers, the original "pod people." Without question, musical choice is more varied and available than ever.

But something has been lost, which brings us back to the disc jockey. Chances are, no matter where you grew up, some DJ affected your life at some time - was it Cousin Brucie? Larry (Uncle Lar) Lujack in the Midwest? Early "The Soul Man" Wright in the Delta? (The Real) Don Steele in L.A.?

The best of them were shamans, communicating from a spiritual world, conjuring powerful magic. Their medium might have been Wagner, Beethoven, Hank Williams, Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen or B. B. King. But the magician behind the curtain was that DJ.

Precious few shamans remain. Jonathan Schwartz remains one of the best things about satellite radio. For years, he could switch seamlessly between AM and FM, playing Sinatra and discoursing on Sinatra songs all the way back to Frank’s 1930’s Hoboken days. Then, he might segue smoothly on another show and play Frank Zappa (Google please, if you're under 40).

The best DJs, like Dick Buckley or Jonathan Schwartz, don't just play music; they are artists producing indelible aural memories. Soon, like their formats, they will disappear and we shall not hear their like again. The iPod and the MP3, and whatever technology comes apace will doubtless provide more music, better quality, and easier access. But no technology will ever recreate the great DJ’s and the intimacy of local radio. Future generations will be poorer for it, having missed out on one of life’s little pleasures.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I don’t hear enough recycling of great bits on the radio. When I talk to talent, many are afraid to recycle. They think the listener will think “they aren’t creative or funny enough and keep doing the same thing over and over” or the talent thinks they can hit home runs 100% of the time in every break. Neither are true.

Don’t be afraid of recycling. If you have a great bit, phone call or an idea, why just do it once on the air? If you put a lot of energy and effort into the bit/break, why not do it two or three more times and expose it to a different set of ears. Of course, be strategic in your recycling so you can hit the most different listeners.

Look at all the major brands that are built on recycling and extremely successful doing it. Watch CNN Headline News. It’s the same stories over and over repeating every 15-20 minutes (probably about the same time as your TSL). 1010 WINS in New York is consistently one of the most listened to radio stations in the country and they have built their success on “give us twenty minutes and we’ll give you the world.” They recycle news, traffic, and weather every twenty minutes. If you have HBO you know how much HBO recycles movies and TV shows. It’s helped make them one of the biggest premium channels in the world with over 40 million households.

I could go on with more successful examples of other media outlets that are successful with recycling their programming, but you get the idea. Recycling isn’t bad. Go for quality, not quantity.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


What if record labels could no longer do promotions at radio for adds or conversations? Not even a box of CD’s. How different would the chart look?

What if PD’s and MD’s had more time to listen to music and more freedom to add or convert what they wanted, not what a VP/Programming dictated to them? How different would the chart look?

What if a song only got added or converted based on nothing more than the merit of the song, the relationship the PD has with the label rep and how good of a salesman the rep is? There was no tit for tat. How different would the chart look?

What if radio stations were not allowed to play a song every hour overnight to get the song more “spins.” How different would the chart look?

Think about it. Probably the top 10 or 15 would look pretty close to what it looks like now. But, positions 20-40 would look drastically different. The chart would probably move faster, mediocre songs wouldn’t stand a chance, let alone get into the top 30. Not even the ones from superstars. I bet country radio would be healthier because radio stations would be playing more “hits” and less of the mediocre songs. The label’s balance sheets would probably be better off since they are not spending millions of dollars a year in promotions at radio stations for songs that ultimately don’t make their way to recurrent and then a power gold.

I would love to see what that chart would look like.

Monday, August 16, 2010


People use radio as an appliance. They don’t think about it much. They certainly don’t listen like we think they do. They turn it on and most likely it plays in the background as they go about their day. We need to constantly re-engage and remind them of who they are listening to.

For years Classic Rock stations have done weekly music themes. Mainly so they don’t sound like they are playing the same 400 songs over and over again. But they also do it to re-engage the listener. Do something different that the listener doesn’t expect to hear and they will do a double take and be reminded of who they are listening to.

There’s no rule that says only Classic Rock and Oldies stations can package up their music differently on the weekends. I think nearly any format can get away with it. Legendary AAA station KINK in Portland, OR does some really cool theme weekend’s and theme months. They do them to re-engage and remind the listener about KINK.

We need to always be looking for ways to re-engage the listener. I see no reason why a Country station can’t do theme weekends. People use the radio different on the weekends. They are in a different mindset. I’ve personally had HUGE success doing “Retro Weekends”, “Two-Steppin’ Weekends “(two back to back from the same artist), “Summer Song Weekends”, “Christmas in July”, “Songs that went to #2”, etc. I tried to do anything I could to get attention and separate myself from my competitors. In a competitive situation, you need to cut through the clutter of all the radio stations in the market. Especially, if you are playing a lot of the same music.

Getting listeners to sit up and take notice of your station should be a priority. There’s a lot of noise on the radio, do what you can to cut through and garner attention.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Imagine how boring a TV newscast would be without video to accompany the story. Audio on the radio is the same things as video on a TV newscast. Your show should be packed full of outside audio. Phone calls from listeners, artists talking about their music, even topical drops from TV shows, movies and local news will make your show sound even bigger.

Today, there are a million ways to get audio. It’s much more entertaining to hear the actual artist talking about their new single, then to have the jock re-hash in their own words what the artist said.

I hear a tremendous lack of show prep when I listen to different radio stations all over the country. Many jocks that are live and local sound lazy. Not a lot of preparation or thought is going into their breaks. They crack the mic, say the title and artist and move on. Having audio takes preparation and time but the reward is great. Adding audio will not only enhance your show, it will give you more entertainment value.

Remember, we’re in the audio business.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Why do radio personalities feel the need to talk different than real people when they are on the air? Is there something in the studio not seen by the human eye that makes people use phrase like “good lookin’ Monday”, or “comin’ straight atcha?” I’m being facetious, but trying to make a point. There are many phrases that shouldn’t be uttered on the radio and while many of today’s top talents don’t use them, they are running rampant in radio all over the country. Here’s a few phrases that never need to be said again:

Saying the day of the week. The listener knows.

“…straight ahead”

“…with you”

"Hope you are having a great day.” It always comes across as insincere.

Trying to tie the song title into what you are going to talk about.
Ex. “Keep on Loving You from Steel Magnolia, and I’m going to keep on loving you as long as you keep listening.” I actually heard that on the air. I call it “playing with the song title.” It may have been cool 40 years ago, but not today.

Using “we” and “us” on the air when it’s just YOU and ONE listener. Use “I” and “you.” Think singular, not plural.

“…Hey” or “did you hear about…” or any other transition to get you into a bit/break. You don't need them. Just start the bit and move on.

“Outside” or “out there.” You are with the listener no matter where they are. Don't blow the theatre of the mind by separating your location from the listener's location.

Giving the time any other way but digitally. Just say “10:45”, not “fifteen minutes away from 11.” Also, no need for double time checks.

Saying “folks” or “ladies and gentleman.” You only have one listener, not a bunch. Again, think singular, not plural.

This list could go on and on, but these are the big ten. Stop saying these today and you’ll sound more natural and real tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010


In radio, we tend to focus on the big picture issues. Sometimes we’re so focused on the big things, we lose sight of the small things. The details. The things that would only take a few minutes to fix and would make your radio station better. Here’s a few “details:”

Wash the station van every Thursday before a busy weekend of remotes and appearances.

At appearances make sure your jocks are all in station gear. I always liked having my jocks in a “staff” shirt. Something different that the listeners won’t be wearing. It will make your jocks stand out among listeners.

Make sure your segues are tight. Many jocks just let the system do the segues and the pre-programmed “next starts” aren’t that tight. Go back through all your elements (sweepers, jingles, promos, etc) and make sure you are tight with the next starts. It will increase the momentum of your station.

When running promos, make them timely. Always record three different versions, “this Monday”, “tomorrow”, and “on now.” That will create immediacy. Make sure the sales people are doing the same thing with their client’s spots.

Speaking of promos, don’t run a morning show promo on Friday. Nobody wants to hear about Monday on Friday. Let them look forward to the weekend and not think about going back to work.

Always have a recorder with you and get listener audio. You can use it in either imaging or for your show.

Speaking of audio, when a winner comes to the studio to pick up a prize, ask to take them in the production room to record some station audio. If they say yes, they will appreciate the tour and the opportunity to be in the radio.

Take some time today to focus on the details. You may not need to sweat the small stuff, but sometimes you need to pay attention to it.

Monday, July 19, 2010


With the 234th Birthday of America a few week's ago, I thought it would be a good time to motivate and inspire you with some famous Presidential quotes.

“Whatever you are, be a good one."
Abraham Lincoln

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
John F. Kennedy

"You ain't learnin' nothin' when you're talkin'."
Lyndon Johnson

“When you are in any contest you should work as if there were - to the very last minute - a chance to lose it.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
John F. Kennedy

“A man is not finished when he's defeated; he's finished when he quits.”
Richard M. Nixon

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effect."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

"I have never been hurt by anything I didn't say."
Calvin Coolidge

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.”
Theodore Roosevelt

"I never saw a pessimistic general win a battle."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"A good leader can't get too far ahead of his followers."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, June 28, 2010


Radio is immediate. Radio can react at a moment’s notice. Radio can capture the moment.

One of the biggest assets to radio is its mobility and the way we can capture the moment. Radio can turn on a dime and get something on the air fast. The moment can be BIG, like Mother’s Day, Christmas or even summer. But it can also be a brief moment in time like Tiger Woods’ press conference, the Bubble Boy over Colorado earlier this year, or the final episode of Lost. Better yet, it can be something local that is only happening in your town. The best radio stations can read the moment, react to it, capture it and find some way to relate it on the air to the listener.

It’s something you have to train your brain to do. Start by looking at everything in your life, your town, even in the news as if it’s something that could be translated on the air into a bit, sweeper, promo or a charitable campaign. Capture the Moment.

I always keep a note pad by my bed and in the car. If I see something that could translate on the radio, I write it down. You have to move quickly. What’s topical now probably won’t be in a few days, maybe even a few hours. Get your entire staff to be on the lookout for things that you could put on the air that would capture the moment.

Some of the Jack formatted stations are among the best I’ve heard when it comes to capturing the moment. Since most don’t have personalities, they do it in their imaging. If you want to hear a great example, listen to in Buffalo. Joe Russo is the PD and does a great job of being topical and capturing the moment in his imaging. Plus, a majority of it is local. WBUF is probably more topical and local with NO personalities, than many stations with full staffs.

Most stations today don’t have the staff or the time to dedicate to capturing the moment. If you do and your competition doesn’t, you become more memorable and a better radio station than them.

Take a moment to capture the moment.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Kelly and Rider at KYGO in Denver do a great thing every Tuesday. It’s called “Tell Us Something Good Tuesday.” They air calls from listeners with something good happening in their life. Could be a birth, an A grade in school, buying a house or car, etc. I heard one a few weeks ago where a woman whose husband had been out of work for over a year finally got a job. It was one of the most touching calls I’ve ever heard on the radio and it made me feel good all day. People don’t want to hear complaints or negativity. They are dying to hear good stuff and this benchmark does a great job delivering that.

Since we are on the topic of good things. We did a thing at WYRK in Buffalo that was awesome (and we ended up making money off it). It was called “The Good Kid of the Week.” Every Friday morning at 7:10 (do it before kids head to school), we would announce that week’s “Good Kid.” Listeners would send in nominations. We’d put the kid on the air, send him prizes and run promos for the next few days highlighting him and soliciting for other nominations. The response was HUGE. You can never go wrong with making parents proud of their kids.

For a week, pick a different morning show in your market (doesn’t even have to be a direct competitor) and tape them while you are on the air. Listen to it later to see what they had going on. It always amazes me how many morning shows don’t monitor other shows in the market. Its good know what they are doing. Who knows, they may be doing it to you…

Here’s to a great show.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I listen to a lot of radio and do a lot of airchecks for jocks all over the country and Canada. I’ve noticed that a lot of my comments and recommendations are the same for many different personalities…no matter what market or format. Here’s my top 11 list of the most consistent recommendations.

How many of these do you recognize?

The best radio is one on one. Just YOU and ONE listener. Say “I” and “you” not “us” and “we.” Never, ever call listener “people”, “folks” or “ladies and gentlemen.” Think singular, not plural.

Always be topical, connected and prepared. Never crack the mic without knowing what you’re going to say and how you are going to get in and out of the break.

Include audio in your show and imaging. Audio is to radio, what video is to TV. Think how boring a TV newscast would be without video. Audio enhances any show and gives it another layer.

Slow down. Take your time and don’t sound rushed. Pause between your thoughts. Let the show breathe.

Smile. You can hear a smile on the radio. It will instantly make you sound friendlier.

When starting a bit/break, don't ask a question, make a statement. It's more effective to say “I'm love this new TV show...” instead of asking “have you seen this new TV show?” Listeners can't answer you. Hook them by always making a statement. Even if people don't agree with you, you'll hook them in.

Don’t play with the song titles. For example, if you play “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and come out of it with “it’s a great day to play The Generation Gap game….” It’s a bad radio cliché to tie the title of the song into what you want to say. It makes it sound like you have nothing better say. Just give the title and artist and don’t be cute with the title.

Be specific when you tease something. Don’t say “coming up” or “stick around for that.” Those lines do nothing to move listening. Instead say “I’ll tell you in less than 10 minutes” or “you’ll find out more at 11:20.”

Always call the listener YOU. If you are on a show with multiple people, always call your team mates them by their names. YOU is for the listener.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


There’s a radio station I sometimes listen to that calls themselves “legendary” and it drives me nuts. I love the music and the overall presentation and the jocks are OK but saying your station is “legendary” may have worked 40 or 50 years ago, but not today. Unfortunately, radio stations today aren’t consisdered legendary by anyone other than the people who work there or the owners. Listeners don’t care. They don’t believe the hype. They are too busy and don’t use radio the same way they did when legendary radio stations did exist.

That brings me to my topic, stop self serving, both as an individual jock and the station as a whole. I hear it all the time. Personalities need to stop patting themselves on the back on the air, running calls from listeners telling the DJ how great he/she is and how much they love them. Radio stations need to stop calling themselves “legendary” or “world famous” (with the exception of KROQ in LA, they have the heritage and can back up that position). 18-34’s and 18-49’s are very sensitive to hype and hate it. Very few things turn them off more. There is nothing endearing or genuine about self serving and patting yourself on the back. You don’t need to tell listeners how great you are. They know. That’s why they are listening to you and choosing your station over the competition.

One of the best ways to endear yourself to the listener is to make fun of yourself. The exact opposite of self serving. Look at Howard Stern. He made fun of himself everyday and guys could relate with him and in turn were endeared to him. When Howard started dating a super model, moved into a huge apartment in Manhattan and talked about how much money he was making and the famous people he was hanging with his audience began to lose interest, couldn’t relate and weren’t endeared to him as much as they were when he was a typical married father living in the suburbs, bitching about his life and living a life most men could relate with.

Don’t do the show, or program the radio station for you, do it for the listener. There’s a big difference between selling your station’s benefits and selling the fact you think you are great.

Monday, May 24, 2010


1) If you don’t have one, get a HD Flip Mino Camera. Awesome. Make two different promos each day for your show. A video promo to post on the web and an audio promo for the radio.

2) It’s all about recycling and promoting other dayparts. It’s a lot for a morning show to worry about each hour. Instead, have all the other dayparts record short :10-:15 promos promoting their show or a feature coming up later in the day. Run them going into EVERY stop set in the morning. Now you are reclying from your daypart to others without worrying about doing it live and taking away from your content.

3) Everyone seems to have a “Friday Song.” Many times it’s George Jones, maybe Steve Azar, even Todd Rundgren’s “Bang the Drum.” They are all fine, but take it a step further. Make it topical each week. Every Thursday take the past week’s topical audio from TV, news, movies and your show and put the drops in the song. Each Friday it’s a “week in review.” It’s always updated, topical and fun.

Here’s to a great show.

Monday, May 17, 2010


“The best radio station”, "Bluegrass to 50's & 60's Rock n' Roll to 70's Golden Country and even some all time favorites through today." These are actual positioning statements that I’ve heard. Really, I’m not kidding. Do you really need a position statement anymore? Have they become too radioish, too cliché, too crutch? I think so.

Don’t confuse the station name and the positioning statement. The name is great. Calling yourself “The Wolf”, “Today’s Country 95.7”, “Power 106”, “New Country 93” are fine. It’s when you get into telling the listener your station is “more fun and the best country from yesterday and today” that it gets to be clutter and cliché.

When jocks say the positioning statement every time they crack the mic, it slows down the momentum and it’s just that much more time before the jock gets to the content. Plus, most jocks say the position statement so much, they don’t “sell it”, they are just “saying it.” How can the listener be excited for the station, when the jock doesn’t sound like he/she are?

AC stations are the worst. It never made sense to me on a format that is all about “less talk and more music” to have the jocks open up each break with “Today’s Soft Rock Favorites with more music and less talk” (another real position statement I’ve heard on the air). You say less talk, yet you just said a complete sentence of nothing but “blah, blah, blah.” At least that’s what the listener heard. Don’t believe me? Ask any listener to repeat verbatim your positioning statement. I bet they can’t do it…and would probably be embarrassed to do it in front of their friends because it’s just not a natural thing to say.

Talent Coach Tommy Kramer taught me something that instantly changed the sound of my station for the better. Have your jocks stop saying positioning statements and only have the voice guy read them in the station imaging. Your jocks can focus more on content, opening each break with something brilliant, not a positioning statement that becomes an instant tune out. Better yet, drop the positioning statement all together…yeah, I said it. Especially if you are a heritage country station. Simply saying “Country 95.5 WXYZ” is enough. Listeners know who you are and what you’re about by the music you play and the talent you have. Give them more credit than constantly thinking you need to remind them that you play “John and Jane in the morning with the best country from yesterday and today without a lot of talk all day on a no repeat workday.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I’m a radio guy. I’ve always loved radio. Working on and around radio is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Blame it on WKRP in Cincinnati or the fact my Dad always had the radio on, maybe it was because I listened a lot when I was a kid. Thinking about how much and why I love radio got me thinking I should make a list of “what makes radio great.” So, here goes. They are in no particular order:

CONNECTION-If done right radio and the personalities can connect on one with the listener better than any other medium. I love being able to listen to the radio and not being able to imagine anyone else listening. The DJ is talking ONLY to me. It’s truly a one on one medium.

COMPANIONSHIP-When a listener is alone and they turn on the radio, it’s an instant companion. Sit in a quiet room all alone, then turn on the radio and listen to the difference. The radio can change everything about a quiet room.

IMMEDIACY-Unlike other mediums, radio can be instant. Whether it’s a topical sweeper, promotion or a brand new song you can’t wait to share with the listener, we can make that change and effect people instantly.

NEW MUSIC-Studies show that radio is still the biggest place for people to discover new music. New music has and always should be an important part of radio.

COMMUNITY INVOLVMENT/HELPING OTHERS-How many times is radio behind a massive benefit helping the less fortunate in your area? I bet a lot. Radio gives back to the community more than any other medium. We can move faster and do more than TV, newspaper or the internet.

PROMOTION-This is one of my favorite parts of the business. It’s a totally clean slate on anything you want to do. For those that are really creative, this is the area that will separate your station from the rest. I love the feeling after doing a promotion that has gotten everyone in the market talking.

IMAGING-Like promotions, the more creative you are, the more you will stand out from the rest. I love having an imaging idea in the morning and hearing it on the air later that day. I can’t think of any other business that can take something that’s playing in my head and in a few hours be able to share it with thousands.

HALLWAY VIBE-I know this doesn’t exist at every radio station, but it should. I have friends that are lawyers and CPA’s and I can guarantee you that their office environment is nothing like radio. We’re in the entrainment business and the hallways should reflect that.

There are many other things that make radio great (like free food samples from a new client) but these are the big ones. Make sure your radio station focuses on these and you’re station will be great.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


This is a copy of a letter that we sent to the country music industry this week touting Dial Global's massive country audience.


Country Music Professional:

We are very excited about some news recently given to us from the American Forces Radio (formally Armed Forces Radio) pertaining to Dial Global’s Mainstream Country format AND YOUR ARTISTS.

Dial Global now supplies The American Forces Radio with our Mainstream Country 24/7 format and rebroadcasts it over their worldwide network. In addition to our network of over 200 radio stations in the United States that carry us through Dial Global Radio Networks, we are now heard in 188 countries around the world wherever there are military installations, bases, offices, etc. We are heard in every United States Embassy and Consulate around the world. We are also heard on 37 ships at sea, including all aircraft carriers. In addition, some of the installations broadcast us terrestrially so surrounding English speaking civilian support personnel and the native civilian population can listen. The conservative estimate is that the audience of Mainstream Country on the American Forces Radio Network is over three million per week. That doesn’t include the domestic cumes of nearly three million, making Dial Global’s Mainstream Country format the most listened to country outlet, not only in the United States, but around the world with a total weekly cume around six million.

For those of you that don’t totally know what Dial Global does, in addition to ten other formats, we program four 24/7 Country Formats (Hot Country, Mainstream Country, Classic Country, and True Country, all of them consulted by Albright & O’Malley). We provide a 24/7 radio station, complete with live talent, promotions, imaging and music logs to over 600 affiliates around the United States including Alaska and Hawaii

Country music is heard around the globe through our Mainstream format. Dial Global’s country formats are truly your one-stop to reach millions of country music fans around the world!

Please call us any time with questions. We are pretty proud of our massive audience.


John Paul
Sr. Dir/Country Programming
Program Director, Hot Country
Dial Global, Denver

John St. John
PD, Mainstream and Classic Country
Dial Global, Denver

Monday, April 19, 2010


Here's what some of my Facebook freinds are saying about the ACM Awards:

Kelly Ford
Love the fans around the stage @ACM's on @cbs4Denver. It gives great energy to the performances. Blake Shelton nailed it! Wooohoooo for Lady A and song of the year. You heard it first on Denver's Kygo.

Travis Moon
Congrats to Luke Bryan!!!

Dale Desmond
Does Rascal Flatts ever sound good at awards shows?

Erin Heise Luecke
Way to go Darius Rucker for a great ending to a great awards show. Lady A....Amazing!

Jon Anthony
Well, at least they're doing a whole B&D special that will be TAPED tomorrow night. Surely, the (different!) sound guys will fix the screw-ups in post-production!

Jennie Smythe
Good lookin' crowd at the las Vegas airport at 5am... Present company @AshleyMixson excluded of course.

Jim Quinton
What an ACM awards! Congrats to Lady A, LUKE BRYAN, MIRANDA LAMBERT, Carrie Underwood and all the winners!

Chad Rachel Are Cloverdayle
Really enjoyed watching the ACM's tonight! LOVED Miranda's performance and watching Reba sing Terry's new song, "I Keep On Loving You"! So incredibly pumped to play w/ Jason Aldean's band for our showcase on May 19th too! ....But right now, I'm mostly looking forward to celebrating Rachel's birthday in the morning!!!! :-)

Lois Lewis

couldn't be ANY better: Darius Rucker just sang in my ear, "Lois, you look wonderful tonight." I mean.... wow.

Kerry Wolfe
It is 88 degrees in Vegas by the pool. John Crenshaw is here with long pants, long sleeve shirt and drinking Starbucks. What's wrong with this picture? Oh yea, he has wool socks on too.

Brandon Broda
just got in from capitol nashville after party... lady a ..luke.. took em down at acms tonight..back home tomorrow...

Heather Froglear
Yay Carrie! Hey, did Reba visit Troy J. Andreasen, M.D. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon? It looks like she got new boobies! Very nice!

Heather Froglear
I'll take a Jack and Dierks to go please.... slurp.

Heather Froglear
I'd like to be a marshmallow in a Rascal Flatts Smore Sammich...

Heather Froglear
Wow! These ACM's are great! Lovin all the performances so far.

Dale Desmond
Darius performing after the Entertainer award? What's next? Taylor gets shutout? Oh wait...

Dale Desmond
The sound guys are scrambling to fix Ronnie's mic. What a way to ruin B&D's big moment!

Erica Hall
ACM's are over, now off to stalk me some Matthew McConaughey. Last nite in Vegas

Christie Michael Matthews
Oh wait..... one more thing..... did Taylor win ANYTHING? I was so focused on Miranda....

Greg Frey
wants to thank Country Radio.

Dale Desmond
Man-crush on Tim!

Greg Frey
didn't know Keith Urban was such a Kinleys fan.

Erica Hall
Matthew McConaughey, Josh Duhamel and LL Cool J. I love the ACM's...hotties everywhere!!!!

Sue Wilson Cordle

Mic to music mix way off on ACM broadcast. Music overpowering vocals.

Greg Frey
has it on good authority that German metal pioneers, The Scorpions, will be presenting the Entertainer of the Year award at the ACMs.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The Spring Book is on and it’s time to take a look at everything on your station and make sure everything is tuned-up and focused. I’ve never understood why stations only focus on “tuning up” going into the spring or fall books. To me, it’s something you should do all the time, not just twice a year. Your station and show should be the best it can be in all four seasons. Anyway, I digress. Here’s a quick list of some things to look over and tune up:

Make sure all imaging is fresh and updated. Imaging can burn as much as the music.

Are promos for music and your station position consistent and focused?

Make time to meet regularly with your airstaff. You can’t get them to improve if you are behind a closed door, on the phone and online all day.

Is everyone on the same page with the station plan? Including sales, promotions and the street team?

Make your contesting the most fun and compelling in the market with LOTS of tunes-ins.

Make the appointments to listen. TSL is about tune-ins.

With your contest and winner promos, make sure they are creative and direct ways to explain the promotions. Refreshing them every three to four days.

Completely review Selector or Music Master. Clocks/ Categories/ Rotations/ Rules/ Songs.

Do the call-out and auditorium parameters match the latest strategic plan? Double check demos and male to female quotas. Are they correct each cycle?

If you do callout, are you getting any perceptual data from the call-out?

Get away from the station, phone and e-mail and listen all day long. Completely examining everything on the station. Listen as a listener, not a radio person.

The market changes and competitors make audio chain adjustments all the time. Make sure the station continues to sound BIG and full against the market.

Do you have compelling content and a unique local experience? That makes our listeners have passion for our stations.

Does the station sound fun? Is there a good "vibe" in the hallways?

Good luck! Here’s to a great spring book!

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm the subject of "10 Questions with..." in this week's


John Paul
Sr. Dir/Country Programming & Hot Country PD
Company: Dial Global
Born: 11/18/73, Longview, WA
Raised: Longview, WA (40 miles north of Portland, OR)

April 4, 2010

1) Congratulations on the job at Dial Global-tell us exactly what the job description is?
We have 14 different 24/7 digital formats. Four of them are Country. I oversee the PD's that program Mainstream Country, Classic Country and True Country. I'm also the day to day PD of the Hot Country format. Our four country stations together have over 600 affiliates across the country with total cumes over five million.

2) How was the move from Portland, OR to Denver for you and your wife (Nicki), and your baby. You guys settled in?
We love it here. The Portland area is my home and Buffalo, NY is my wife's home. We are nicely nestled in between both. Denver is awesome. The move was extremely smooth. We found a great house and my wife gets to be a stay at home Mom to our 11-month-old daughter. She loves that. Plus, l've never lived in a city that's an airport hub to so many different airlines. That means tons of direct flights and really low fares. I actually like flying now.

3) Can you talk about the transition from terrestrial radio to a network? What's the learning curve like?
The learning curve is extreme. I'm learning something new every day. It will take a few more months before I understand everything we do and how it works. I ask a lot of questions. Going from looking at everything local, to now national is a huge adjustment. I love having live jocks in all day parts (that's something new to me), all of them with major market experience. There are some restrictions with what we can and can't do (because they affect so many affiliates) but we find ways around them. It's all about supplying great programming out of our building.

4) What's the biggest surprise about the switch so far?
The number of people we have listening. The numbers are huge. Our AQH is well over 300,000. It blows me away. That number doesn't even include the fact that we supply Armed Forces Radio with our Mainstream Country format. We are heard on military bases, major ships at sea and in embassies all over the world. If you want country music is Baghdad, South Korea, Frankfurt, etc., you listen to us. I laugh when I think of an Iraqi local listening to country music, and he's listening to us! Our cume alone from listeners to Armed Forces Radio (not including the cume from our domestic affiliates) is around 2.5 million. You add total cume for our Mainstream Country format and we are around 5 million listeners a week.

5) The way you left terrestrial radio was a lot different from the industry you started in. Was it still fun when you left and would you ever return?
It was fun, but really stressful. Part of what continued to motivate me at KUPL (while knowing we were for sale, and dealing with cutbacks, downsizing, loosing programming tools and live day parts, etc.) was the fact that my goal in radio was to be the PD of KUPL. I grew up listening to KUPL and even worked there part time when I was 18. Being able to work there kept me motivated, but in the end I knew I wouldn't survive the sale. I saw it coming, was prepared for it and was actually relieved when it happened. I knew I had bigger and better things coming. I love radio, whether it's local, national, syndicated or satellite. I would never say I wouldn't go back to terrestrial radio, but I can't tell you how happy I am doing what I'm doing right now. There aren't many companies left that really care and invest in programming. Dial Global is one of them and I'm so glad to be here.

6) How many people do you oversee? And do you do things like go over air-checks with them?
I don't know the exact number. With all the jocks, promotions, production and programmers with all of our Country stations, it's over 50. I also oversee some people that work out of our office in L.A. I meet regularly with my Hot Country jocks and daily with the PDs, MDs, production and promotions directors and constantly offer feedback. It's my job to help make the jocks and the other stations sound as great as they can. You can't do that by having your door closed, not communicating or not returning phone calls/e-mails.

7) If I owned a radio station, why would you say I should take a Dial Global service and what would be my choices?
We can instantly supply you with a large/major market sounding station. Just because you are in Small Town USA doesn't mean your listeners aren't entitled, or want great sounding radio. We have researched music, big promotions and top talent. It will save you a ton of money and you'll be the best sounding station in your market. Plus, we supply you with all the tools to make the station sound local. We probably do more to make the affiliate sound local, than most locally programmed radio stations do. We give you all the tools to win.

8) I know people always say that the local stations need to try and keep it 'local'- however let's face it-many times even when they are 'locally programmed,' in reality they're not-so can you keep a network station sounding local with the little staff that they hire?
It's tough, but many PDs don't have the time to teach, train and push their jocks to be local. It's a shame when I hear a live and local radio station and the jocks aren't doing phoners and involving the listener. They aren't connecting with the music or the area they serve. They are just title/artist/time/temp. It's boring. Our big push at Dial Global is to give people a reason to listen beyond the music. It's just as much about talent and programming as it is the music we play. I love that philosophy. It's sad that a lot radio companies don't share that vision.

9) How do you like Denver so far? Is it a great city?
We love Denver. The weather is great (it's sunny and 70 as I answer this). It doesn't rain. I have a view of the Rocky Mountains from my house and my office. There's lots to do and see. We are having a great time exploring the area and seeing the sights. My wife and I are avid outdoors people and can't wait to hike and camp this summer in the mountains.

10) You were the Agenda Chairman of this past Country Radio Seminar. Great job! Were you pleased? Why are you returning next year-I don't remember anyone else doing two years. Isn't this kind of what the guy in Russia did when he extended his term?
Mike Culotta was Agenda Chairman two years in a row. Yes, I was extremely happy with CRS and the Agenda Committee. We knew we had challenges this year and made some big changes that I think paid off. The response has been huge and it was great to see CRS attendance up over 3.0%. I'm returning as Chairman because I enjoyed the process of creating the biggest radio seminar in the country so much. It's fun to see it go from ideas at our meetings in July, to an actual seminar.

Bonus Questions
1) Do you really drive a Volkswagen Bug? That must move well up those Colorado Mountains!
I do. I have a 1973 VW Super Beetle. I drive it every day and love it. It's in perfect condition (I'm the 4th owner. It's all original paint and parts). It's been a great car. The chicks dig it.

2) How are the restaurants? Where are you taking me when I come out there and I don't eat sushi, Indian or Ethiopian?
I'll take you to a great place called Arby's. It's really fancy. Make sure you wear a sport coat

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I came across this top ten list while cleaning out some files on my computer. I don’t remember where it came from, or who wrote it but I thought it was worth sharing. They are not in any particular order.

1. Do whatever it takes to get the job done.
2. Look out for each other.
3. Don’t suck up, don’t slap down.
4. Clean up after yourself.
5. Recognize accomplishments. Congratulate victories.
6. Smile.
7. Challenge the norm. Be creative and different.
8. Play to win.
9. Don’t fear failure.
10. Think like an owner. Owners focus on results, regardless of who is watching.

Monday, March 22, 2010


PPM is showing us something we’ve always thought and now we have it confirmed. Teasing is very important. Not generic teasing, but good, specific, hook with a benefit teasing. Gone are the days were you could say “win Taylor Swift tickets all day today.” Now you need to tell me exactly when I can win, and if possible how I’ll win. The art of teasing is to be as specific as possible. Here are some tips:

Always be specific. The more specific the better. Say “you’ll win Taylor Swift tickets at 3:50.” Or “in the next fifteen minutes, I’ve got your Taylor Swift tickets.”

TV has always done a better job of teasing than radio has. You never see ABC saying “Watch Desperate Housewives on Sunday.” They tell you to watch them at “9/8 central.” Radio needs to do a better job of specifically teasing something.

When teasing new music from a brand new artist, it’s pointless to say “Love and Theft coming up.” Nobody knows who they are. It takes a few years and some hits before listeners know who these new acts are. Hook them with something about the band. Say “I’ve got a brand new band that got their name from a Bob Dylan record…Love and Theft is next.”

Laundry lists of songs coming up are a waste of words. I still hear people rattling off three to four different artists that are coming up. It does no good. Pick one. The biggest song or artist, maybe a new act but have something cool to hook people to wait for them. People are too busy to keep track of your list of artists coming up.

Don’t make people wait too long. They are too busy to care. Have the benefit pay off soon (within sixty minutes. Then once paid off, start to tease to the next event).

Don’t say “next hour” when teasing something. “Next hour” is very radioish. Real people don’t talk like that. Instead say “coming up between 4-5.” You’ll sound less like a “DJ” and more like a real person.

Make the tease worth it. If the payoff isn’t worth it, the tease won’t matter to the listener. Your teases should have meaning and a benefit.

Whether you are in a PPM market, or a diary market, it’s all about occasions of listening. Your goal needs to be to get more occasions. Hook listeners to come back throughout the day and tell when exactly when to do it.

Monday, March 15, 2010


One of the best lines I’ve ever heard about radio was “radio is a marathon without any finish lines.” How true. Whether you’re on air, in programming, promotions, or sales, the race is never over. There’s always room to improve, grow ratings, grow revenue, do a better promotion, and be better on the air. Here’s a few things that will help make you a better personality. They are in no particular order. Some of these may be a review, others may be new.

Avoid clichés. Saying things like the day of the week, “hump day”, “just around the corner”, “hey”, “let’s go to the phones”, giving the time any other way than digitally, are all examples of clichés. Thinking you need to talk like a DJ because your on the air is bad radio. The best shows sound like real people.

Cut the extra words. Speak in telegrams, not complete sentences. Don’t say “the time now is 3:15 with lots of blue sky, sunshine and 85 degrees.” You can say the same thing in half the time and have more momentum and energy. “3:15, sunny and 85.” Just say the meat of the sentence.

Write out your breaks. Not verbatim, but bullet points. Know where you want to go with the break and how to get in and out. Practice it before you crack the mic.

Be yourself and open up to the audience. Talk about yourself, but don’t be self serving. Don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself. Being self deprecating is not only relatable, but endearing. Look how popular it helped make Howard Stern.

Know your audience, not who you think they are, or want them to be, but who they really are. Study them and only talk about things they care about. Most listeners don’t mind talk if they can relate with it.

Very seldom do you need to have a transition between thoughts. Things like “hey”, “let me tell you about this”, or “did you hear about this”, are hardly ever needed. A simple pause and change in inflection will separate thoughts. It may feel a little weird, but it will sound so much smoother.

Prep. Not just going through papers, internet and show prep services. Keep a note pad with you all the time. Write things down you see while driving, at the store, things your kids say, etc. Take it a step further and keep a mini disc with you all the time. In radio all we have is audio and the more you have the better.

Talk TO the audience, not AT them.

Tape every call and include the listener. Listener interaction is key. Don’t just run phoners to run them. Run only the good ones. Make the listener the star.

Don’t listen to your aircheck right after you get off the air. Wait 2-3 days. You’ll forget things you talked about and it will sound fresh. You’ll have a better chance of truly critiquing yourself if you wait a few days.

Finally, have a life outside of radio. While working in radio is the greatest and once it’s in your blood it’s hard to get out, it’s important to have a life. Have friends that don’t care you are on the radio. Do things that your audience does and talk about that on the air. Learn to walk away from it every once in a while. It will keep you from getting burned out and help you relate better with your target audience.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finding A Great Radio Job Still Possible; Here's Four Who Did‏


After totally bumming everybody out with the first two installments in our series on the tough radio job market, we’re taking a break from the sad stories today to bring you four broadcasters who bucked the prevailing trend and were able to find great new radio gigs fairly quickly after being laid off from their last ones.

After exiting KAJA San Antonio, George King was only on the beach for two and a half months before landing a gig as station/operation manager for Citadel’s country WCTO and AC WLEV Allentown, Pa.

Asked why he was able to find a job so quickly, King says his keys to success were “keeping a positive attitude and perseverance. Keep your name out there, make sure you are accessible and keep an open mind to any and all opportunities. I would also suggest to anyone ‘on the beach,’ try to enjoy the time off and take advantage of it, if at all possible.”

John Paul was between jobs for four months after leaving the PD post at KUPL Portland, Ore., when it was sold, eventually landing a great gig with Dial Global, where he is now senior director of country programming.

In that four months, he says, “I took about three weeks to unwind. (The 18-24 months before I was let go were really tough with all the downsizing, cutbacks, layoffs and knowing we were for sale. The job got to be not very fun and extremely stressful.) I got lucky and Jaye Albright at Albright & O’Malley hired me to work part time and help them with special projects. I was able to stay connected to the business and people I love while looking for a full time job. Had I known how great the four months I was out of work were going to be, I wouldn’t have worried once about losing my job. I got to work for Jaye and be a stay at home dad. I didn’t expect it to be such a relief to be out of the rat race.”

Paul credits networking as the primary factor that helped him land a new job. “I treated looking for work like a full time job and talked to everyone,” he says. “Also, because of the part time consulting work I was doing for Jaye Albright, I was able to keep a level head and not panic. I actually was able to really enjoy my time off and make smart decisions.”

Former WMZQ Washington, D.C., APD/MD/air personality Jeffrey T. Mason spent four and a half months job searching after leaving that station, eventually landing dual gigs in January as afternoon driver at country KMLE Phoenix and midday jock at sister oldies station KOOL.

Asked about his strategy, Mason says, “It’s the age old saying: Never burn bridges. I’ve been lucky to stay in touch with many of my former PDs and co-workers. One of those was Kris Abrams, PD here at KOOL. We’ve always respected each other’s work and philosophies on radio. When things started to open up at KMLE/KOOL, he reached out to gauge my interest. After talking about it for a couple months, we decided it would be a good fit for everyone, so here I am.”

But Mason is well aware that his relatively short job search puts him in the lucky column. “Believe me, I KNOW this is a rarity, and I am grateful!”

Mike O’Brian ultimately decided not to pursue a new gig at all after leaving the PD post at Clear Channel’s KUSS San Diego. Instead, he went into business for himself using skills he’d honed during his time working inside stations.

“I have never wanted to leave San Diego,” he says, “so when I was let go back in April I built a studio in my house and started doing voiceovers full-time. I now have agents in LA, Chicago, N.Y. and London and my business has really taken off. Some of my clients over the past six months include Cadillac, Animal Planet and Microsoft, and I just did a session for the Discovery Network. The only way I would even contemplate getting back into radio would be if I could just do a morning show and then have the rest of the day to do voiceovers. Never say never, but I can’t imagine ever programming again and, honestly, I don’t miss it.

“Life is good. No complaints,” O’Brian adds. “I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do something I love from the comfort of my own home. I’m doing things I never would’ve had the chance to do had I not been let go.”

Monday, March 1, 2010


**This is a press release from the CRB**

New CRB Officers, Board Members Announced

(Nashville, TN – March 1, 2010) Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.® has announced the attendance figures for CRS 2010, reflecting a 3.5 percent increase over 2009 Country Radio Seminar attendance numbers.

This year’s CRS 2010 total attendance was 2,181, with 1,576 full registrants (attendees, exhibitors, panelists and sponsors) and 605 participant registrants. Participant registrants represent attendees that register for individual events or single day passes, but not the full three-day seminar. Last year’s CRS 2009 total attendance was 2,106.

"We are extremely pleased that CRS 2010 not only met our expectations, but exceeded them this year in many ways,” says CRB interim Executive Director Bill Mayne. “The attendance, sponsorship, participation, and enthusiasm were especially heartening. The level of artist talent was stellar, and the radio agenda panels were thought provoking and relevant. We were encouraged to see the Country Radio industry really get behind this year’s seminar, and our attendance figures show that. Every participant had the opportunity to walk away with valuable resources, relationships and ideas, and we look forward to continuing to improve the CRS experience as we move forward with this event for many more years to come.”

Several changes to the CRS agenda committee and CRB board of directors have been announced, including the creation of an additional CRS Co-Vice Chair position.

The newly elected CRB board officers and CRS agenda committee members are as follows:

CRB President: Mike Culotta (WQYK, Tampa, Fla.)
CRB Vice President: R.J. Curtis (Arista Nashville, Nashville, Tenn.)
CRB Secretary: Carole Bowen (WKIS, Miami, Fla.)
CRB Treasurer: Jeff Walker (The AristoMedia Group, Nashville, Tenn.)
CRS 2011 Agenda Chair: John Paul (Dial Global, Denver, Colo.)
CRS 2011 Co-Vice Chair: Clint Marsh (Talking Stick Communications, Warsaw, Ind.)
CRB 2011 Co-Vice Chair: Annie Sandor (Curb Records, Nashville, Tenn.)

“We feel it’s important to emphasize the sales side of Country radio at CRS 2011, so we have added another Vice Chair position to our agenda committee,” says Agenda Chair John Paul. “With the addition of Clint Marsh, we now have a Vice Chair who comes from the General Manager side of things, while the other Vice Chair, Annie Sandor, comes from the label/promotion side. With my experience in programming, we have nearly every angle of our business covered as we begin planning CRS 2011.”

The newly elected CRB board members are Jim Asker (All Access, Nashville, Tenn.) and Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications, Indianapolis, Ind.). Both will serve three-year terms on the CRB board, along with re-elected members Becky Brenner, Joel Burke, Mike Dungan, Renee Leymon, Mike McVay, Joel Raab and John Zarling.

Continuing their terms on the CRB board are: Tom Baldrica, Carole Bowen, Natalie Conner, John Crenshaw, Mike Culotta, R.J. Curtis, David Haley, Clay Hunnicutt, Keith Kaufman, Scott Lindy, Bill Macky, Michael Osterhout, Royce Risser, Denise Roberts, Tim Roberts, John Shomby, Jeff Walker and Rusty Walker.

Newly elected CRB President Mike Culotta summed up CRS 2010 this way. “Wow! What a vivacious, energetic Country Radio Seminar we had this year! I think it proves that when we work together as an industry, even during these challenging times, there's nothing this event can't accomplish. I've always been a huge believer in CRS, and we all need to believe in it now more than ever. Let’s continue to grow through learning and innovation, because that’s what distinguishes leaders from followers.”

CRS 2011 will be held March 2-4, 2011, at the Nashville Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. Visit for more information about Country Radio Seminar and the Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.

About CRS:
The Country Radio Seminar is an annual convention designed to educate and promote the exchange of ideas in the country music industry. Country Radio Seminar is a registered trademark of Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. CRS 2011 will be held March 2-4, 2011, in downtown Nashville, Tenn.

About CRB:
The Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. ® is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization founded in 1969 to bring radio broadcasters from around the world together with the Country Music Industry to ensure vitality and promote growth in the Country Radio format. More information may be obtained at: or at the CRB office at 615-327-4487.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Someone recently said to me when describing a station, “that’s the most fatiguing station I’ve ever heard.” We ended up having a conversation about what makes a station fatiguing to the listener and the damage it can do to your TSL.

Here are some of the most fatiguing things I’ve heard on different radio stations (thank God these all weren’t on ONE radio station):

• Way over produced. I love good production, but loud in your face production really wears on the listener.

• Fully produced imaging and production running over the intro of the song (I’ve heard this a lot recently and it’s brutal). Listeners hate it when we talk over intros, running production/imaging so loud you can’t even hear the intro is as equally brutal.

• Jocks talking “at” me, not “to” me. Be conversational. People don’t like to get yelled at in person, why would they listen to a station where the jock is “yelling” at them?

• Jocks that talk too fast because they want to have energy. Energy isn’t talking fast, it knowing where you are going with your break and how you are going to get there.

• Too much stuff coming at the listener. Letting the show and the station “breath” is not a bad thing. You can do this and still have nice pacing and momentum.

• I’m cool with speeding up song a bit…but just a bit. Stations have are 2 ½ or 3% is a little much and that can cause some fatigue.

• Not being familiar enough with the music. Too many unfamiliar songs when the listen is expecting to know the songs and the artist can be fatiguing.

Step back and monitor your station for listener fatigue. You may be surprised at how many things you are doing that are causing listeners to listen to you a little less.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I lost my job at KUPL in Portland on August 18th. Within a few weeks I was working for Jaye Albright part time while looking for my next full time gig. After four months I landed a new job as the Senior Director of Country Programming and Program Director at the Hot Country format at Dial Global based in Denver. The four months I spent as a “regular listener” changed my programming philosophy forever. In those four months I was given a great gift…to be able to listen to the radio as a real listener, not as a PD. I was able to “listen to the radio, not monitor the radio.” In that time I learned some things that I’d like to share:

Pandora is cool and it defiantly a big competitor to listening. I signed up for a Pandora account right after I was laid off and I love it. The downside, it’s not nearly as mobile as my Ipod (it will be soon), they play commercials and I missed the companionship and information of a personality.

It takes a long time for listeners to get familiar with new music. By the time I started to know and like a new song, it was being moved to a recurrent and I heard it less on the radio.

I listen to a lot of different stations. It would take PPM to tell me who I was a P1 to.

When I didn’t have to “monitor” my station or the market for my job, I listened to the radio less. It was on in the car every time I drove (but not working full time I was driving less). I listened in the bathroom and if I was working in the garage. No longer was I listening to the alarm clock or in the kitchen.

Most of the time I had no idea what stations were talking about since I wasn’t listening as much as they thought I was. There was a lot of “inside stuff” or no real explanation of contesting or bits. I felt like an outsider at a dinner party who was the only one who didn’t know anybody. You need to find a way to explain things all the time.

I don’t care about position statements. I only care about what’s on the radio. I’m smart enough to know what the format is by the song people are playing. I think most people are. Positioning statements can be just added clutter.

I only knew a few stations in Denver (KBPI, KYGO, The Wolf) so when I wanted to populate my pre-sets, I used the scan button until it landed on a song I like and I set the station. I bet that’s how most people find new stations when they move to a new city.

I finally became a real listener and can see how people really use the radio and what drives them to keep listening. It’s tough to do, but challenge yourself to listen like a listener, not like a radio person.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I love quotes. I like them because they are short, memorable and to the point (like all your breaks on air should). This week is nothing but quotes that hopefully will inspire you.

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Harold R. McAlindo

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.
Brian Tracy

You don't lead by hitting people over the head - that's assault, not leadership.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you'll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.
Vince Lombardi

Formula for success: under promise and over deliver.
Tom Peters

He that cannot obey, cannot command.
Benjamin Franklin

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw

Great effort springs naturally from a great attitude.
Pat Riley

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
George Patton

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.
Zig Ziglar

Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.
Woodrow Wilson

Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders.
Tom Peters

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.
Henry Ford

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
Abraham Lincoln

I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Bill Cosby

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

…and my personal favorite

Beer is proof there is a God and he wants us to be happy.
Ben Franklin

Here’s to a good show and great ratings.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Like most things in radio, a lot of great ideas are stolen or copied from smart people or great stations. This blog is no exception. I wish I could take credit for writing it. It was given to me a few years ago from fellow PD (CBS Radio’s KUFO/Portland) Chris Patyk who was the guest speaker at a college class I was teaching. Someone gave it to him and it had an impact. The same impact it had on me and I hope it does on you. Here are the “Four Agreements.”

1. Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth.

2. Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Programmers Welcome Country’s New Clearasil Brigade, But With Caution

This is Phyllis Stark's article she wrote for on 2/2/10. My comments in the article are highlighted.

by Phyllis Stark,

Less than two months after Taylor Swift aged out of her teen years, Nashville labels have a batch of new teenage acts lined up for release to country radio this year. These include “iCarly” TV star Jenette McCurdy (Capitol), Tyler Dickerson (Lyric Street), Jordyn Shellhart (Sony) and the band SHEL (Republic Nashville) comprising four sisters ages 16, 19, 20 and 21.

This sudden abundance of teen acts is reminiscent of exactly 10 years ago when—following the success of LeAnn Rimes and Lila McCann—there was a previous Clearasil brigade at country radio (all females that time around), including teens Jessica Andrews (DreamWorks), Alecia Elliott (MCA), and a trio of 11th graders known as 3 Of Hearts (RCA), as well as 20 year olds Rebecca Lynn Howard (MCA) and Jennifer Day (BNA).

Of the new batch of teen acts, Dickerson is the first out of the gate. His debut single, “Tell Your Sister I’m Single,” has just begun being worked to country radio and appears to be receiving a favorable response thus far. Dickerson has the distinction of being a teenage boy, something the format hasn’t seen since Blaine Larsen made his debut in 2004 at age 18.

While, of course, nearly everything will depend on the music these teens produce for the format, radio programmers are generally unconcerned about having a new batch of underage acts, even though virtually no country stations actively target teens, or even young adults. Swift’s proven ability to bring in younger demos may have helped pave the way for some younger stars.

“A hit is a hit,” says WBCT Grand Rapids, Mich., OM Doug Montgomery, who is excited about McCurdy’s upcoming debut in the format since he watches “iCarly” with his daughters. “If the song is a hit, it should be played. I don’t really care if is a kid or an extra-terrestrial singing it.”

WUSN Chicago APD/MD Marci Braun thinks this new crop of teen acts will be healthy for country radio. “Bring it on,” she says. “As a format, it can only be a good thing that Taylor brings younger, active listeners to our format. They’ll get to discover other artists, [and] hopefully buy some of their music as well. Plus, I hope they stick around and listen to us.”

Ryan Dokke, APD/MD at WKKT Charlotte, N.C., says if the music is right, younger artists “are great for the format. I don’t imagine we’ll see anything like we’ve seen with Taylor for a while, but if a young artist brings a few stellar songs to the table, it can’t hurt the format by converting a younger group of people to country P1s.”

“I’m for anything that will bring new cume to the format, although the chances of one of these new younger acts having the same success as Taylor Swift is pretty slim,” agrees John Paul, senior director of country programming for Dial Global and PD of the network’s Hot Country format. “I bet one of these new acts will have some success, the rest will probably eventually go away.

But, Paul cautions, “We need to make sure we aren’t afraid to be a country station. Having artists like Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser [and] Alan Jackson keep at least one of our feet firmly grounded in country. I think as long as there is balance in the music we are OK. It’s all about balancing the sound and not leaning too young/poppy or too traditional.”

“Country is the last ‘Big Tent’ format. Everyone’s invited in,” says KPLX (the Wolf) Dallas APD Smokey Rivers. “So it’s important that we not only cater to the center of the audience (35-44), but to also constantly work the edges of the audience demos as well. Mainstream artists that attract the center will always be in abundance. Plus, we can count on Reba, George and Alan to keep the 45+ folks interested. But maintaining a real presence with the 18-34 crowd has always been much harder to do. While younger artists have the potential to bring us much-needed new cume, you have to really pick your shots. But make no mistake; we must constantly be listening for acts that can bring young audiences into our tent now. Young P2s and P3s grow up to be solid P1s.”

But Rivers urges caution as well. “Taylor is fulfilling a need right now for the younger female side of the audience, but her success doesn’t signal a sudden shift in our core audience’s expectations,” he says. “The basic radio rules still apply. Over-delivering on new, younger acts will cause a station to become unfamiliar and that spells disaster. To work the younger fringes of the format adequately, you only need a couple of strong acts to break through. But you have to closely follow the audience’s lead to know who those artists are.”

Despite teen acts being well below the target age of most country stations, programmers say the audience is not as concerned with age as with content.

“I don’t think the younger demo cares about the age of the singer, but I’ve heard from many upper demo listeners (45+) that aren’t Taylor fans because they can’t relate with songs like ‘Fifteen,’” says Paul. “The older the audience, the more the age becomes a factor.”Montgomery agrees that “songs like ‘Fifteen,’ because of the narrow appeal, are going to be a concern, but no more so than songs about putting asses in sand like Zac Brown Band’s ‘Toes,’ because some listeners are upset by the word ‘ass.’”

“The core audience [instinctively] knows when an artist is too young for the station,” says Rivers. “Men especially notice it. They are also vocal about it if they sense they’re hearing too much of it. But I think the country audience also understands that you have to play newer and younger acts. The key is whether there truly is something compelling with the artist, their back-story or the song. That’s why Taylor’s music has worked so well for us. She’s so unique a talent that she immediately breaks through. The teen acts that are sure to come along will not have such luck. Taylor was first in that particular category, and first in wins.”

Braun is unconcerned about the age of the acts not matching radio’s target audience. “These teens and young adults will grow into our demo,” she says. “If we balance it correctly, we can both serve our demo while trying to bring in the younger audience. But balance is very important.”

Dokke is also among those who think the audience doesn’t care about how old the artist is. “We live in an age where a lot of the listening is controlled by ‘the kids.’ If the songs are great and relatable, whether targeted to the middle of the demo or younger, then I don’t think it matters the age of the audience,” he says.

Still, Dokke cautions, “I hope we don’t see every label trying to create a version of their own Taylor Swift. I don’t think I totally understand the rush to put these 14 and 15 and even 16 year olds out there so soon. Why can’t we let these kids finish school and have normal lives?”

Monday, February 1, 2010


Meeting with your air staff on a regular basis is key to the long term success of your station. I know from personal experience that consistently meeting with your staff is a challenge. Demands on PD's time are at an all time high. But spending some one on one time with your air staff needs to be at the top of your “to do list.” Here's a few air checking quick tips to make the meetings more productive and less of a drain on time.

 Radio people love to talk radio. Meeting with your air staff doesn't always need to be an air check meeting. Sometimes just “talkin' radio” is enough. For a jock, getting some one on one time with the PD can easily make the difference on how the show sounds, even if the PD doesn't even offer any critiques.

 Never critique a show without having audio to play for the jock.

 Whenever possible, use simple logic and analogies. It makes it easier for the jocks to learn and remember what you are asking them to do.

 If you use Audio Vault, ask your GM or engineers about getting AV Logger. It's an awesome program that makes doing air checks extremely easy.

 Don’t feel the need to give the jock a laundry list of things to work on. Sometimes just two or three key points are all you need to make a difference.

 Prepare for the air check meeting. Take some time before the meeting to listen, write up some notes and be prepared with what you want to say.

 Always give the jock written notes recapping the session. Chances are they will only take away a couple of things you tell them. Give them a written re-cap and they will remember everything you said.

 Start with positive feedback and always keep the meetings positive. If jocks dread the meetings, the chances of them getting anything productive out of them are slim.

 Leave no grey area. Be very black and white when telling the air staff what you need and want them to do. Leaving them guessing and not clear on the goals doesn't do anyone any good.

 In the meeting, don't talk about any other jocks on the staff. It's all about the person you are meeting with.

 Never tell the jock to do something that you can't back up as to why you want it done.

 Tell your staff to listen to their voice tracked show while they are on. Listening to themselves in real time is one the best forms of air checking.

 If you have out of market voice trackers, spend time with them on the phone. They work for you and need to hear directly from you what is working on their show and what isn't.

 Have a plan and make sure the staff knows it. Nothing is worse than a radio station full of air talent that isn’t aware of the plan. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

As a PD, you are responsible for everything that comes out of the speaker. Your air talent is a majority of that time. Just spending time with them, having an open door policy and being honest with your talent will have a huge return on your time investment. If it's not a priority, make it one. It's a win-win for everyone.