The Face of Your Radio Brand

I’ve been saying it for awhile now, and it’s time to say it again. Air personalities are the future of radio. And it’s high time to make them the face of your brand. In the past, radio was able to compete for four main positions in the lives of an audience:
  1. Music
  2. Information
  3. Promotion
  4. Personality
That’s all changed, and I think you know it. Radio is fast losing the position of being the “go to” media for music. Information is transmitted in seconds via mobile devices. By the time you hear it on the radio, you probably already got a notification on your phone or from Twitter. And promotion is more challenging than ever in a world. How can you out-promote a $1 billion lottery prize? All of those things still have a place on commercial radio. I’m just making the case that we can no longer win the position for those things. But there’s one advantage that remains and will sustain into the future: Personality. And that’s where brands should be investing their future.

Radio Personalities As Face Of The Brand

Establishing your talent as the face of the brand is risky, and probably scares you a little. First, they must be truly strong personalities that command an audience’s attention. Promoting average talent or DJs that don’t move the needle won’t get you anywhere. By the way, if you are lacking that high profile talent, we should talk. You probably need a talent coach. So let’s assume you have a great personality or show, but you’re still reluctant to invest the future of your company on air talent. After all, what if they leave at the end of their contract? What would happen if you create a superstar talent only to have them take the audience across the street? And doesn’t it put you at a disadvantage when negotiating that next contract? Those are considerations, for sure. But don’t let that fear hold you back. It doesn’t stop the Patriots from promoting Tom Brady, the Phillies promoting Bryce Harper, the Lakers promoting LeBron or a movie studio promoting Tom Hanks. They’re stars, and they attract audiences. Building your brand on talent is much greater opportunity than risk.

5 Ways To Promote Personalities

Here are 4 ways to build a radio station by making personalities the face of the brand.
  1. Start by making personalities the spokesperson(s) for your brand. Use them to position other elements, including programming features, positioning elements and contests.
  2. Promos should be built around unique, non-duplicated content and the stars that create it. Radio stations can’t be the place for Justin Bieber, but can be the place for your morning show.
  3. Develop more high profile features performed by interesting personalities. That’s the fastest way to become familiar and move through the Personality Success Path.
  4. Build a social media presence around the talent, rather than forcing them to fit into the station’s social pages. Wouldn’t you be more likely to follow Game of Thrones on social media than HBO? Listeners are much more apt to be fans of air talent than a “faceless” brand.
  5. Make radio talent more important on your website. It’s amazing how so many stations have more information about artists and songs they have no stake in than in stars they do.


Stations that prioritize, and even promote personalities above the station connect with audiences more deeply than if they were to promote their programming attributes like “More Music Workdays”. The job of radio personality isn’t nearly as prestigious as it once was, or should be. It has the dubious honor of being the 7th Worst Job In America. And that needs to change. The bottom line is that we need stars on the radio. Broadcasters should not be afraid of them. We need to find them, nurture them, embrace them and promote them. It’s the one resource that can drive our future.

By Tracy Johnson

Recognized as one of America’s most innovative radio programmers and managers, Tracy Johnson’s broad background in traditional and digital media spans more than 25 years and has influenced hundreds of radio stations, programmers and personalities. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.