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Is Your Air Staff Driving You Crazy?

by Randy Lane

Morning shows got a lot of heat as markets made the transition from diary to PPM. The real-time methodology exposed vulnerabilities of personality-based shows and made managers gun-shy about paying a lot of money for a show that wasnt delivering the ratings they used to. Shows that were too inside, rambled too long, talked about things no one cared about, didnt use hooks and teases to lure and hold listeners all these flaws could remain hidden with the popularity contest mentality of diarykeepers.

Shows that have mastered the PPM techniques are demonstrating that talents value to a radio station is as valuable or more valuable than ever, even in the new order of things. With adjustments to content and structure, personality brands still represent a huge opportunity for station growth in a tight marketplace. Programmers can block, duplicate and flank music formats, as every stations song-to-song flow is available 24/7 online. They cant counter program or duplicate a personality.

But working with creative talent can be daunting for a programmer or manager who doesnt understand the way creative people think. Theyre children, theyre animals, theyre crazy - I cant even talk to them!  Here are some tips to help understand creative people and how to better relate to them.

Characteristics of Creative People
1.    They are vulnerable.  The first thing you need to realize is that good air personalities are putting a lot of themselves and their lives into their performance, which makes them vulnerable. There is a lot of emotional risk involved in being on the air.

2.    They want to be liked.

3.    They are seeking approval. Give them genuine and specific praise and you will save yourself money at the bargaining table when their contract is up. If there are no sincere compliments, that means you dont care and you dont like the show.

4.    Since there is no studio audience, they thrive on feedback. Talents need constant reinforcement of what they do best.   No feedback = they will do anything to get attention, including being destructive and self-destructive.

5.    They dont value their creative gifts. They think theyre normal and everyone has them.

6.    Most creative talents are introverts and are uncomfortable in crowds.

7.    They dont like to be told what to do. Asking is always better than telling. Develop the art of asking the right questions so talent sees the point themselves and they have ownership of it.

8.    They are child-like.  Comedians will tell you that they key to staying on your game is to continue to look at the world through the eyes of a 9-year-old.

9.    They are non-linear. Most managers are more analytical thinkers looking at the sequence of things; creative people are looking at the whole picture. Anytime you can, communicate information in a fun way (metaphors, analogies, humor, etc. vs. a long memo) to get across your point.

10.    Self-esteem is the life force of a personality, and if that is suppressed or diminished, then so is the person and their performance.

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