Lately, I hear a lot of people doing things on the air that frankly, they’re not very good at. Traffic reporters trying to be “personalities”. People trying to tell stories, even though they never seem to have an ending—or sometimes even a decent beginning. Jocks putting their hard-to-understand, marble-mouthed children on the air thinking that it’s “cute”.
It’s easy to think that being good at one thing means that you’re automatically going to be good at other things. But of course that’s not always the case. (Michael Jordan trying to play baseball comes to mind. Not pretty. His Airness became His Waving A Bat At The Air-ness.)
Here’s the way it works in radio, my friend: No one tunes in to hear you do your 5th best thing. Or even your 3rd.
Often, my early work with a talent is simply about shoring up fundamental stuff that may need work, that you may have never learned, or that you were taught wrong. But after that initial stage, I think the next job as a talent coach is to identify your biggest strengths—just one or two things—and then whittle it down to where that’s all you do.
So if you genuinely want to be a great air talent, start by asking yourself these two questions, in this order:
1. What am I good at?
Be honest. If you don’t know the answer to those questions—and most people don’t—you need a coach.
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Radio Talent Coach
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2014 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.