If you want to really coach instead of just critique, here’s what your Talent doesn’t need to hear: generic thoughts like “You had a good show today”…or “You guys were really funny this morning.”
These types of non-specific comments, even well intentioned, are too vague to result in any real progress. Remember that Air Talents, if they’re really good (or if they’re ever going to BECOME really good), are like musicians. They work on their performances note by note, measure by measure, a little more precise here, a little more subtle there, until they put together the end result.
Part of your job in helping your Talent get better is to talk about specific breaks. “I really liked it when you asked that caller about X” or “That bit about X was really great” homes the Talent in on exact ingredients of the performance that please you, and that hit the target in terms of the way you want the station to connect with the Listener.
If you can, play the example for the Talent, then make your comments and get response from him/her. Think of yourself as both the Conductor of the orchestra and a collaborator with each musician.
And you don’t have to always be rah-rah positive. It’s okay to play a break, then ask “What were you thinking there?” or “Where was this going? What was the ending supposed to be?” Reinforcing that there needs to be a point to each break, and that Prep is essential, aren’t negative thoughts. They’re just “workshop” techniques to increase focus. You don’t have to be a jackass about it, but in the long run, what people learn while they work for you is the bottom line. (It’s also okay for you to realize that coaching isn’t your strongest point, and to hire a specialist. It can make your job so much easier.)
If, as an air talent, you’re not getting specifics from your PD, take some tape in there, play it for him (or her), and get some feedback. Remember, if you’re not getting better all the time……..you’re not getting better…all the time!
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Radio Talent Coach
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2014 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.