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Are You Performing Every Day?

by Ron Robinson

As “Dear John” letters go, perhaps my most recent was about as comforting and welcome as hearing a psyche-destroying, hard-time sentence being boomed from the Bench. “You’re goin’ away, Billy - and for a very long time. Doesn’t matter that the man needed killin’.” Nevertheless, it is that very letter that needs to be read to every Radio-person who cracks open a mic or who scribbles the drivel. More importantly, it is a representation of a manifesto that every manager involved in radio must learn, appreciate and apply. Failure to do so will, eventually, leave them with nothing else to screw around with except the livestock. (And, we know how jealous they can get.)

Generous and clever readers will already have noticed the suggested remedies for the maladies of which I accuse the Local, Drive-Guy of being a carrier are also implicit in the complaints. I submit the following for consideration: The only advantageous avenue left open to terra-Radio is the one which leads to the acquisition, supporting and/or training of human beings who either are or who can become superior Communicators.

I capitalize “Communicators” because, in my suspicious and cynical world, “Communicator” is another step above and beyond Performer, of which a few still remain or occasionally show up. Performers can be identified as the ones with the bull’s-eye targets on their backs. There are Announcers. These represent the bulk of what’s left of so-called “On-Air Talent”. If they can read a prompt and live on their own recycled body-fluids, they can get along. Then, there are the Talkers. These are the folks who occasionally cross the double, yellow line or speed past the “No Jock-Talk Allowed’ sign and, after being cruelly disciplined, are forced back into the Announcer-lanes.

Performers are the rare breed indeed, and a few have even managed to stick around. They are, however, only tolerated because of their influence and capacities to hold an audience and resented even so because they have this tendency to demand large rounds of fresh cash-dollars to maintain the situation. These are the witty, clever, warm-when-it-counts, cryptic-when-it’s-effective, modest-when-it’s-appropriate and schtick-available professionals who have always been somebody’s benchmark when Radio is considered as a career-choice.

”Communicator”. Well, I have been campaigning for the learning, addition and applications of a number of the skills necessary for developing Communicators since L. Ron Hubbard was still on the ground floor of that Fabulous, New, Franchising Opportunity That Will Splinter Off While Still Maintaining And Growing Massive Residual And Passive Income! But, I digress.

The application of a Communicator’s skills would, I suggest, elevate the delivery of every category – The Announcer, The Talker and The Performer. These skills would enhance the creativity, productivity and influence of the Writer-Corps, as well. When stations crash, even a casual observer of Radio would be able to ascertain that management was unable to a.) identify the problems and b.) were also ill-prepared to address and rectify them.

Meanwhile, there seems to be a lot of that recently and consistently going around and around the Radio flight patterns, so to speak. This is the scenario as the captains and co-pilots of Radio scream out for guidance through the ice and snow, particularly in the frigid northern states and beyond. It won’t be long before they, too, run out of cold weather, Jet-B fuel and drop from the sky like those abject, unaware starlings that fell and were also forgotten.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian Radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting, as they relate to Talent and Creative, have yet to be addressed. Check out his website

(9/7/2013 9:13:02 AM)
HNUNJv Thanks-a-mundo for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on...

- NY
(10/4/2011 9:33:20 PM)
To clarify, I should point out that the position of "Communicator" is the next, logical step up from "Performer".

"Communicator" to those who aspire, can also assist the Announcers and Talkers in making their own improvements as they aspire to the artful position of Performer.

The creation of "Communicators" is about a full-spectrum set of improvements - applicable to and necessary for all broadcasters... on-air and Creative.

- Ronald T. Robinson
(10/4/2011 12:44:00 AM)
This is phenomenal. I read a lot of good stuff on here, and this might be the best piece I've ever read. I'd like to think this idea of a Communicator was in the back of my head, and this puts it out there explicitly. Good stuff, man. This has become part of my performing mantra!

- @BobbyDeMuro (Twitter)

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