Amazingly, I still hear people on the radio doing celebrity birthdays, “This Day in History” stuff, trivia questions, and “News of the Weird”-type stories that they find on the internet. (They should be looking up “hackneyed” in the dictionary.) It’s strange how many air talents think of mere habits as “benchmarks” that people listen for. Anything done too often or for too long will eventually become old hat. For example, David Letterman’s Top Ten lists turned into dinosaur bones a long time ago. He should have gone to Top 5, and just done one a week, say on Friday night.
If you do have something that you believe is a benchmark (for a while), you have to hold dear the concept that it’s not enough just to do it regularly. It has to be GOOD—every time. As long as you’re working hard to keep it fresh and not settling for subpar material, it’ll probably work. Just keep in mind that although you do want to be known for a certain style and a set of clearly identifiable qualities, you DON’T want to be known for just doing the same old things every day.
Reassess things regularly. If something even begins to feel like there’s a “Hey, is this milk still fresh?” element to it, throw it away. No benchmark lasts forever, and just like great actors, writers, or musicians, you want to keep coming up with fresh material.
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Radio Talent Coach
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2014 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.