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SENSITIVE ANNOUNCER

QUESTION FOR DAN O’DAY, FROM A PROGRAM DIRECTOR:

One of my announcers is the super-sensitive/actress type. She once cried when listener called to complain (although she's since developed slightly thicker skin). She is always building people up, telling them how great they are, which naturally leads some of those people to return that edification to her.

I, on the other hand, won't tell her she's great when she isn't. Often, right after a break, she will come to be and say, "Did you like what I said about X?" Even when I tell her, "I would have preferred you did it this way," or anything else that's not 100% affirming, I am running the risk of upsetting her. Not my problem I know, but if she does get upset, this often leads to less than stellar breaks for the rest of the shift. On the occasions we do meet outside of her shift, she claims to understand how I want her to do certain things, yet she still does them. She claims she can disagree with my comments and still do her job. I'm not so sure.

She has difficulty accepting any kind of feedback unless it's always positive. I realize that the use of language is important and I make every effort to incorporate positive language when giving her this feedback. I've even tried using the actress analogy (just like acting, you follow the guidelines of the director and know your lines...I need you to be prepared/do it this way for radio). Strangely, that doesn't resonate with her. She says, "It takes a hell of a lot more work to act." My response is maybe so, but this is a professional setting as well, and I need you to do things this way for these reasons.

Any thoughts as to how can I get that "buy in" from her?

DAN REPLIES:

From your query, it sounds like you do not conduct regular aircheck sessions with your super-sensitive/actress type. Assuming that is correct....

1. Schedule twice-monthly aircheck sessions with her, during which you address your general performance concerns.

2. Whenever she comes to you right after a break to ask what you thought of it, you gently remind her that she is supposed to be in the studio, preparing for the next break. She is not supposed to be focusing on anything that is not directly related to the rest of her program. Refuse to give any feedback on such occasions, instead reminding her that she has a critique session coming up later in the week.

If you, as Program Director, upset your jock during her shift, you are not doing your job properly. As you point out, when she's upset her program suffers. So it's up to you to remove the opportunity for her to be upset by you during her show. It doesn't matter if she agrees with your comments; what matters is whether she follows the instructions and guidelines set down by her program director.

We offer two audio seminars that would help you greatly:

HOW TO CRITIQUE & COACH RADIO AIR TALENT

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MANAGEMENT: HOW TO MOTIVATE YOUR STAFF TO PEAK PERFORMANCE

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