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.