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The Unique Selling Point Of Radio Is The People
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Radio personalities versus radio programmers & radio consultants: in Facebook language, their relationship is ‘complicated’. How can they reinforce each other?

The first part of the session Don’t Kill The Radio Star at Lokalrundfunktage 2017 made clear that radio needs personalities to prosper, and that there’s enough new talent around – we ‘just’ have to make our medium interesting enough for them to consider a career in radio. But then there’s that love-hate relation between formats and freedom; programming and creative. Program directors (and their advisors) have to cope with personalities, and talents have to deal with them. “Consultants said to me: you’ll never become a morning show host.”

Defend your personal beliefs

Hitradio Ö3 personality Robert Kratky was close to being fired a couple of times by his previous content director: “He threatened at least two or three times: when that-and-that happens again, I’m kicking you out”. The presenter thinks that radio personalities should overcome fear, and stand up for what they believe in, if a lot of personality is feasible for this particular station. “There are certainly formats that can handle it, but there are also formats where audiences primarily want to hear music.” His impression is that under their current director of programming, Georg Spatt, Ö3 doesn’t have many restrictions for talent. “Yes, the format should be followed, but when someone has a good idea and thinks: ‘I will now break the format’, then he may throw it out and answer for it later.”

Give your audience priority

In his opinion, that responsibility is not just towards the station management, as he feels like talent should focus on the listener instead. “The presenter who is concerned about his program director has already lost. The PD is there for those who need a missing link between them and the audience. Great personalities manage to overcome this hurdle, and talk to people instead. We’re not in the music business; not in the news business; certainly not in the we-copy-social-media business; we’re in the people business. We all like going to our favourite cafe where we know bar tender, who knows our name and is greeting us personally. It’s like getting home. You feel welcome, and you’re being cared for.”

Support your radio personalities

Kratky heard from listeners abroad that they once drove into the country on the way to their vacation adress, and discovered Ö3 on their car radio. They still like to hear Ö3 because, as they apparently said, it remembers them of their holiday in Austria. “That’s an emotion; a human factor within all those technical things that surround us, no matter which format we’re running. It’s about allowing human things.” He thinks that a program director can help doing that in a well-thought out manner. Talent coach Viktor Worms adds that while paintings made from colouring in numbered fields might be nice to see, they will never be a masterpiece. He therefore would rather offer talent a white canvas and beautiful colours. “It may go wrong, but it can also lead to art. We need those artists.”

Keep your airchecks private

Talking about the often kind of ‘hate-love’ relation between on-air personality and program director, Sina Peschke of radio SAW (who has fulfilled both roles during her career) has mixed feelings about daily airchecks, especially when they happen in front of the whole team, where everyone has something to say about everything. “Imposing, and completely overrated or even useless” are her words to describe that way of doing airchecks. Her preference is to have aircheck sessions in one-on-one meetings, which she considers to be tough enough already. “You have to cope with criticism after putting yourself out there naked for hours, giving it everything you’ve got. Then someone comes and says: that wasn’t good, and I didn’t like that.”

“The Unique Selling Point Of Radio Is The People”


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