“You should give your name frequently during your show.”
Pretty shocking, huh?
By frequently, I mean:
- Every ten minutes or so (if you talk a lot)
- During every break (if you’re a music jock)
And oh, the turmoil that results from this simple suggestion.
“Every ten minutes??”
Shocking! Outrageous! Not in our market! Not in our culture! Not in our format!
How egotistical! Conceited! Self-centered!
“Okay,” I reply. “How often do you think a personality should give his or her name?”
And the answers (depending upon format, country and culture) are:
A) Once every hour (at the “top” of the hour)
B) Once per show (at the beginning of the program)
Either of these choices would be (I am told) much more modest and unassuming.
To this I reply:
Giving your name only at the beginning of your show (or only at the “top of the hour”) is conceited. It is egotistical. It is rude.
Giving your name only at the beginning of your show is like hosting a party and introducing yourself only to the very first people who arrive. And then for the rest of the evening, you don’t bother to introduce yourself to any other guests, because “they must know who I am.”
Frequently identifying yourself to your listeners is courteous.
It’s generous of you.
It shows that you are concerned with their comfort.
There always is someone who has just tuned in…and if you’re personable and interesting, that person will want to know who you are.
Listeners need what has been called “the confirmation experience”: Have they found the right station? The right host?
Remember, they don’t have any visuals with which to identify you; all they have is your voice. And even loyal listeners often have trouble identifying your voice.
Don’t believe me? Have you ever had the experience of a friend or relative — or even a spouse — compliment you on something they heard you do on-air…only to have you tell them, “That wasn’t me”?
Well, if people who know you sometimes can’t identify your voice, imagine how difficult it is for people who have never even met you.
Imagine that you drive 100 miles to work each day.
There are hundreds of signs along the 100-mile route: speed limits, exits, mileage markers, road identifiers, advertisements, etc.
The first time you make that drive, you notice almost all of them…because you’re anxious not to make a wrong turn or miss an exit.
Now imagine you’ve been driving that route every day for several months. How many of those signs do you consciously notice?
Maybe one or two.
That’s because once you know exactly where you are and where you’re going, your mind filters out the extraneous information.
It’s the same thing on a radio program. The only listeners who consciously hear you identify yourself are those who aren’t sure (or have no idea) who you are.
The ones who do recognize your voice, who already know to whom they’re listening, don’t even hear your name as it’s given frequently during your show.
“Announcers” May Remain Anonymous
Note that in this discussion we are talking about personalities, not “announcers.”
An “announcer” is someone who only does exactly what s/he is told to and never brings any of his/her own personality to the airwaves.
If all you ever do is read the liner cards and deliver endless, monotonous backsells (“That was ______, and before that we heard ______, and before that we heard ______….”), then telling people your name once a week is too much.
The Bad News: If you work at a station where hosts don’t already give their names frequently, you very possibly might hear some complaints about your giving your name more frequently.
The Good News: Those complaints won’t be from your listeners. They will be from one or two other staff members at your station. They have been in radio forever — possibly at this one station forever — and “that’s not the way we do things around here!”
Unless you have reason to believe that those two people fill out ratings diaries or are hooked up with Portable People Meters (which of course they shouldn’t even if they get the opportunity), ignore them.