10 Tips to Proactive Success
by Michael Packer
President, Packer TalkRadio Consulting
Memo to PDs: With the price tag of stations soaring, sticker shock
has set in, and GMs are under intense pressure to bring more to
the bottom line to meet the monthly mortgage payments. As a PD,
you can help by making sure you do an outstanding job of managing
your station's most important assets: the on-air talent.
Value Your Talent
Searching for talent, bringing them on board, training them, positioning
a new show, growing their ratings - it's all very time-consuming
and a real challenge. Think about that the next time talent is
having a tantrum.
No matter how much self-confidence talent project on-air, they
still need to be able to sound off and talk back about their needs
and concerns. Listen to them and forward what is necessary to
Provide Quality Support Staff
Talent quickly can become demoralized if his/her perception is
that the support staff is "coasting" and not committed
100 percent to assisting with show prep, booking the best guests,
screening for quality calls, helping generate show ideas etc.
Weed out those on your support staff who are just "doing
time" until they can get to a music station or television.
Give Them Feedback
When you say you enjoyed their show, make sure you can give them
a specific reason why. When you need to correct their performance,
avoid confrontation. Try the approach of, "We are a team,
all shooting for the same goals, and this is how we can reach
Be Careful With Ultimatums
They are a last resort and should be used only after you know
you've got 100 percent backing from your GM.
Help Them Think Like PDs
Share programming strategy with your talent. When you are helping
them fine-tune their performance, talk to them in terms of how
programming works and how these strategies will help them grow
their ratings. Often, talent is much more cooperative when they
Review Their Ratings With Them
Break out five book trends of their show and review their growth.
Keep Them At Home
Six months in advance of the conclusion of talent's contract,
make it a point to take the extra steps to show the talent you
care and make them feel that this is the best "home"
for their show. Strengthen your personal relationship with the
talent months before an agent slips between you and the host.
Protect Your Investment
Have talent who shows great potential? Make sure they have a contract.
Don't allow your station to become the farm system for the competition.
Get the talent under contract ASAP.
On The Flip Side
If your competition or a nearby metro talker has a potential star,
think about ways to establish a relationship, just in case the
opportunity arises and you want to pick up the phone and talk
turkey. Note: If the talent is under contract, talk to your station's
legal advisor about how to avoid "contract tampering."
© 1998 by Michael Packer