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Five Ways To Keep Good Talent

by Randy Lane

Once you've put your training and treasure into an air-talent that is really starting to prosper at your station, do you worry he or she is going to look for greener grass elsewhere? After all isn't it natural for everyone to want to advance and move up the ladder? If you want to keep that talent in that stable, here's Randy Lane with 5 tips to help you keep that great sounding talent on your team.

1. Set goals and celebrate victories: There are ways to measure growth other than ratings, so establish clear expectations -- digital, ratings, sales, etc. As a manager, it's up to you to communicate the goals to the point where every employee can repeat them back to you.

2. Share ratings and other relevant research information. Angela Perelli was on a conference call with a morning show after a book came out and casually said, "Congratulations on being No. 1, guys! That's awesome!" The show was surprised by the news; they hadn't heard anything about the ratings. "We don't want to encourage them...They aren't doing what we need them to do," the PD said. That may be true, yet it is also true that the show is delivering ratings. And better they hear from you, complete with your spin on where they need to continue to improve, rather than from their friend in the sales department.

3. Praise: This form of feedback must never be gratuitous and always specific and sincere.
Praise in public and private and as often as is genuine.
Reprimand in private only.

4. "Negative" feedback is most effective when it is tell-it-like-it-is honest. Deliver tough points in a casual, direct and non emotional way, as you would give someone the time of day.

a) Focus on one or two main points at a time rather than hitting them with a barrage of points that can lead to confusion and self-consciousness.

b) Use contrast as a growth tool. First, point out what isn't working well through creative questioning, then immediately pivot to what will work better.

5. Help out: The most fundamental thing that any PD can do for a successful, functional morning show is to take the attitude of "I work for the morning show," i.e. "What do you need from me?" (Technical issues, proper workspace, promotional help, artist interviews, etc.) If you know you aren't able to help in a certain area, be responsive and tell them straight out rather than saying "I'm working on it" or "I'll get back to you." Offer alternate solutions when possible. They may not like the answer but they will appreciate the honesty.

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(10/31/2011 11:46:25 AM)
Excellent stuff, Randy. In addition and as my daddy used to say: "Don't just applaud - throw money!"

Meanwhile, in all my years, I have had only one PD who actually "carried water" for the on-air staff. We mad him a Saint!

That he also would, from time-to-time, stuff our heads into the same bucket was only to be expected.

- Ronald T. Robinson

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