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A Social Networking Site For Radio

Welcome to the all new Airchecker experience. A social networking site for radio. We are powered by the people of radio and those who have a great passion to have conversations about radio. As the voice of the Canadian radio industry since 2009. Airchecker has gained a loyal army of followers who say we are the best source for radio. 1000s of radio lovers power your radio news each week via Airchecker. read more >

Airchecker Is Social Radio.

Taking radio news into a social networking format.

Proud to be the worlds first. Airchecker is the modern day radio newsie.

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On our home page you will find head line news from industry leaders.

Side bar provides our latest blog post. Airchecks, video and other related radio links .

AC has has gained the trust of the radio community. We have connected with thousands of working radio professionals.

AC news is a bigger variety of what we know radio pros & the fans of radio will enjoy.

By logging in users will find more news that is fed to our site by 24 hour news feeds. Social Media, show prep to the latest biz talk.

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The Stuph File Program – Episode #0474

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0474.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

How To Host A Radio Party

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Everyone loves a party. It’s a celebration. It’s fun. And if it’s done right, guests can’t wait for the next party. But did you ever host a party? I’m sure you have. Hosting the party isn’t nearly as glamorous as going to a party.

It’s a lot of work to host a party. A great party is directly related to the amount of time and effort the host puts into planning the details and promoting – yes, promoting – the party to guests.

How to Host a Party

The list of tasks for a successful party is endless. From the planning stages of create a guest list to cleaning up after the party, it’s a big job. For example, to host a party, you have to:

Plan the theme.

Prepare the room.

Decorate.

Put together the playlist.

Send the invitations.

Hire a caterer.

Handle RSVPs.

Follow up with those who don’t respond.

Call and remind guests as the date gets nearer.

Then, guests have to know what to expect. What time does it start? When does it end? Is there dinner? Or appetizers? What should I wear? Can I bring a guest? Is there a charge for the drinks? What should I bring? Who else will be there? Who is it for? How do I get there? Where do I park? Where do I hang my coat?

When the party starts, the host has to make sure everyone is looked after. The host must insure guests  feel welcome and included by making introductions and facilitating conversations.

At the end of the evening, the host arranges for rides home for those who may have had a bit too much to drink. And often, they send them off with a gift bag to put a finishing touch on a great evening.

And when everyone finally leaves, guess who gets to clean up?

Your Radio Show Is a Daily Party

A radio show is a party that takes place on the air each day. The question is whether or not it’s a party listeners will tell their friends about…and want to come back.

Let’s go over some of the details it takes to host a party on the air.

Invitations

Do listeners feel welcome to come to the party? Do you build anticipation with specific, direct messaging so they know what to expect? When they tune in to the party, is it clear what the party is about and who it’s for? Or do they feel lost and confused?

Have you told them exactly when and where to listen? This happens both on and off the air. Use all tools available, including email, social media and promos.

When did the last email go the audience database? Were details included about the highlights for tomorrow’s party? Did you tweet them? Text them?

Is there a guide to the show on the station’s web site with updated information so listeners can come to the party?

Entertainment

Fun doesn’t just happen at a party or on the air. It’s the result of careful planning and preparation. You can’t throw a party, invite a few people and hope for something good to happen. You have to set up the entertainment to match your theme and excite your guests.

How is the content targeted to fit the guest’s mood? Does it makes sense to them? Is it appropriate? Is it appealing to those on the guest list? In other words, do you curate content, turning topics into stories that resonate with the target audience.

A great host builds a party’s schedule around one main thing that stands out above all others. What is the highlight of the party that guests will talk about tomorrow? Will something happen at the party to make it memorable? Are you staging your show in a way that points listeners to one key moment, then staging it in a way that helps listeners actually remember it?

A great host arranges entertainment that makes guests feel involved, but doesn’t rely on the guests to provide the entertainment. On the radio, are the breaks entertaining on their own, or are you just throwing out a phone topic and hoping the audience has something interesting to say?

Decorations

Little things make a big difference at a party. Decorations don’t make the party successful, but they add ambiance that enhances the experience. Are you using on-air decorations effectively?

Does the production match the theme of the party?  Have you taken care of little things like music beds and production effects that set the tone? Does it accent the party or does it overwhelm in an obnoxious way?

RSVPs

The invitations have been sent, but that doesn’t mean anyone will show up. Just because a promo aired for a feature that airs at 7:20 doesn’t mean listeners are coming for it.

A party host has to follow up on the invitation. Once appointment tune in events are set, it’s important to constantly remind them that the party is happening. Guests have other things they could be doing.

Don’t expect them to RSVP on their own. Build a plan to follow up and chase them down. Create a plan to make sure listeners come to the party!

Hosting

Remember that the party is not for you. It’s for guests. A host’s job is to provide a great experience. Do this well and guests will love the host for it. They’ll tell their friends about it. And they’ll look forward to the next party, which happens to be tomorrow.

Great hosts don’t spend their time talking about themselves. Do that and one by one, all guests will leave. Nobody wants to be around self-absorbed party hosts.

Clean Up:

As soon as the party is over, clean up begins. It’s time to pick up the pieces and start planning the next one. The process starts over, with new invitations.

But before the invitations go out for tomorrow’s party, it’s a good idea to review today’s show and consider how the next one can be better.

Conclusion

Your guests’ (audience) enthusiasm for your event (show) will only be as great as your attention to planning (preparation) and detail (execution).

It’s a lot of work to insure an event is a success. Don’t take it for granted and expect them to just “find” you.

BURLI AND CRAIG POWER, ACADIA BROADCASTING

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One of the most satisfying parts of working with Burli Software is the knowledge that our customers tend to stay with us for a long time. Loyalty is important to us, and it goes both ways!

Take radio reporter Craig Power, with the team at Acadia Broadcasting. He’s the morning news anchor and reporter at CKBW in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, having also been in the business for years with Bayshore Broadcasting, Blackburn Radio, Bell Media, and Astral Media, in radio stations all over Canada.

He’s used multiple newsroom systems over the years, but plainly Burli Newsroom has proven his favourite.

One Stop Shop

“It’s my everything,” says Craig when asked to describe what Burli means to him. For what I need to do on a day to day basis, Burli does it”, he said.

Craig needs it to do a lot. He not only reads the news on-air for South Shore Radio, he’s also his own reporter, venturing frequently into the field to unearth the local news that matters so very much to the community he serves.

Personally, I feel Burli is the only software for what I do for a living. ~ Craig Power, Acadia Broadcasting

He’s fond of using the remote upload tools in Burli to take the audio he gathers in the field and drop it directly into the editing environment.  Turning interviews into compelling stories is simple using Burli’s single editing interface, Craig says.

Working With Burli

Having everything on one screen is “a blessing”, Craig said.  He makes good use of the ability to bring in his text and audio from multiple sources and edit it in one, single screen, calling it “fast [and] efficient”.

 

As a former audio engineer, he is particularly enthusiastic about Burli’s multi-track audio tools.  While in the field, he likes to grab ambient sounds with his iPhone (bagpipes, he jokes, make a good background track on many stories), upload the audio from the field, and employ that audio directly in Burli, underneath his story.  The multi-track editor makes this process simple and fast.

He remembers when the principal way to get audio into an editorial system was playing it from a field recorder over some kind of cable. Burli’s upload and drag-and-drop tools are much easier to work with.

Plus, he notes, the audio editor itself has just the right number of tools that a reporter needs to do the job – it’s not filled with endless extra features you’ll never use.  “It’s meant to get something edited… on the fly, inserted into a script, on the air,” he says, perfect for his use.  He likes to top and tail, adjust levels, and insert ambient sound quickly and easily.  “Everything I’m using is what I need”.

Stacking Up
Craig notes with a laugh that he has used other newsroom systems.  In one non-Burli newsroom, he says, one of the other on-air staff confided she’d been using the software for three years, and she
still hadn’t figured it out.

Burli, Craig says, removes many redundancies and extra steps other systems impose.  Multiply those extra steps dozens or hundreds of times a day, and the work quickly becomes “tedious”.

He was very happy to be back with Burli in his next location. “Personally, I feel Burli is the only software for what I do for a living”.

Loyal Customers
Burli Software is excited to work with customers like Craig, whose enthusiasm is contagious when he describes his line of work.  That he’s equally excited about the tools involved in that work is a great compliment, one we work hard to earn.

We’d like to thank Acadia Broadcasting, CJHK, CKBW, and Craig for their business and support of Burli!

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0473

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0473.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0472

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0472.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

A Winning Personality Formula: TSP = TSL

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Memorize this show prep formula and remind yourself of it every day: TSP = TSL.

The amount of time spent preparing is directly related to the amount of time spent listening. It’s not the only factor, but it’s a major contributing factor.

Most personalities will read this and think the solution is spending more time gathering topics. But just finding things to talk about is the easy part. I’m talking about deeper preparation that transforms content from topics to entertainment.

Master chefs spend time selecting ingredients to be used in a recipe. Finding the freshest vegetables and most desirable cuts of meat are the foundation of his masterpiece.

But most of the time and attention is on what he or she does with the ingredients. How will they be cooked? What is the perfect combination of spices to accent the individual tastes and textures? Should it be sautéed, broiled, baked or fried? How will it be presented? What side dishes and wine pairings will turn dining into an experience?

Mastering the fine art of performance takes time to perfect.

Show Prep Formula Perspective

Dan Wylie is the VP of Programming for Canada’s Blackburn Radio. He shared a remarkable comparison that emphasizes the importance of preparation, and the commitment it takes to excel on the air. Dan told me:

The average NFL football game lasts 3.5 hours, but there’s only about 12 minutes of actual action in each game.

Most of the game time is spent planning, preparing, organizing and adjusting to current circumstances. Things like huddles, time-outs and adjustments at the line of scrimmage makes up over 95% of the game.

That’s just the game itself. NFL players spend the rest of the week reviewing their performance. They analyze competition, learn new plays and prepare a game plan. The off-season is spent conditioning, training and keeping themselves in peak condition for next year.

Show Prep Formula: The NFL Way

The quarterback comes out of the huddle. He looks over the defense, and as the seconds on the play clock tick down to :00, a frantic series of adjustments at the line of scrimmage looks more like a fire drill than a well-oiled machine.

Blocking assignments are altered, pass routes changed. Everything about the plan has changed. Sometimes it looks like they’re making it up as they go along.

Watching quarterbacks in the NFL is a great lesson in the art of creating a morning show. They make last-second decisions. But those decisions are the result of deep preparation for every possibility.

Quarterbacks spend countless hours learning the playbook and knowing the assignment for every player on the team. Then he spends about 60 hours each week watching video of the opponent, studying tendencies and looking for clues that give him an edge.

The coaching staff prepares a game plan. A play is called in the huddle. Everyone on the team knows what is about to happen. Then, everything changes when it’s time to execute.

Changes are made based on a deep knowledge of team strengths and weaknesses, opponent’s vulnerabilities and the situation in the game. but those changes are always made based on the team’s playbook, game plan and coaching direction.

Aaron Rodgers on Show Prep

Here’s MVP Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers on the keys to winning the Super Bowl:

The key is to be able to focus on preparation. You can’t let the distractions take you away from what you need to do next. You need to show up prepared to play, expect the unexpected, and know exactly what you are going to do.

Going into the game mentally prepared helps Rodgers know exactly what plays to run, and which audible to call against each defense. When the mind is prepared, the rest is just execution and muscle memory.

And that takes time. There’s no substitute.

Visualize It

Visualization is the ability to create clear, detailed and accurate images in your mind of events that you want to create as physical reality. There are visual triggers that help quarterbacks recognize which type of defense he should expect.

We often hear talent claim their best shows are spontaneous, just “living my life on the air.” I’ve actually heard personalities say, “Don’t talk about that now. Save it for the air.” More often than not, they start their show without the tools to succeed. They haven’t prepared.

Quarterbacks don’t design new plays in the huddle. They don’t run plays that haven’t been rehearsed. They plan every detail to give them the best chance to win.

It’s true that the best moments on the air are spontaneous, just as the difference between winning and losing is the result of instant decisions on the field. But spontaneity is the product of preparing for every possible outcome. This provides the background to react when unexpected circumstances arise.

Show Prep Formula & Your 12 Minutes of Content

Most personalities are on the air between 3-5 hours per day. The average for a personality oriented morning show, coincidentally, is 3.5 hours. Just like an NFL game. On a typical music station, it’s common for a show to execute four breaks per hour, each about 3-4 minutes, or around 12 minutes of content per hour. That doesn’t seem like much, does it?

But to make it great, you must invest the time.

Rachel Ettiger is half of the morning show Jeff (Kelly) and Rachel on Virgin Radio/London, Ontario.

Rachel is one of the best I’ve ever heard in presenting Entertainment Reports. But it doesn’t happen by ripping and reading the latest headlines and hoping for the best.

I love what Rachel told me about show prep:

It takes about two hours a day to prepare the Hollywood information, understand it, digest it and know it so I can just tell it without sounding like I’m reading it. It’s a lot of work to sound spontaneous and fresh.

Conclusion

How much time and effort goes into your show? Do you have a show prep formula?

Like a professional athlete your show should be in a constant state of preparation planning and adjustment. Train yourself to be alert for content that applies to your show. Obsess about how your content will be presented. Plan your entry point for maximum impact.

Every day is game day. You can’t win by making it up as you go along.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0471

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0471.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Paul D. Marks, author, Broken Windows
  • Sandi Harding, general manager, Blockbuster Video
  • Peter Franklin, Gabby Cabby

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0470

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0470.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Andrew Fazeks, science writer — The Parker Solar Probe
  • James Cridland, radio futurologist, — radio & podcasts
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0469

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0469.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

An Air Personality’s Perception of a PD

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I can’t resist passing this along. This is a hilarious job description for a program director. At the root of comedy is truth. Mix in some exaggeration, and presto! OF course, I love program directors. I was one once, and in the core of my soul, I still am. But you gotta admit, this is pretty funny. But I suspect it was originally conceived by an air personality.

The Man Who Makes it All Good

What do you tell friends who ask you what you do-really? Program Director, huh? Don’t the announcers just come on and say what they want? Not quite.

The Program Director is the person at a radio station responsible for “directing programming”.

Program directing usually begins at 10 a.m. when the “PD” (as he’s affectionately called) strolls in with a steaming Grande Mocha Cappuccino Latte which he actually got free through a station trade with a local coffee shop. Or, he traded some concert tickets for it.

Radio stations sometimes trade advertising for products or services. In this case, the PD is taking advantage of coffee trade set up by a former (sleazy) account executive a year ago. Everyone forgot about it, except the PD, who has keen skills like that.

At this point, the station probably owes Starbucks $2800 dollars in ads because the PD has been mooching on the trade and since the account executive that set up the deal was fired 6 months ago – nobody is keeping track.

“It’s all good,” says the PD.

Beware of Program Directors who use that phrase. Nothing is ever “all good” when somebody tells you it is – especially at a radio station. When a PD tells you “It’s all good,” he is really saying, “I’m ignoring the bad stuff because my latte is getting cold.” That’s not a bad thing. It keeps everyone positive and upbeat.

The Program Director is Like a Boat With Hats

Program Directors hire and fire the people on-the-air. Just like boats, the best day and worst day in a DJ’s life is the day he gets a new job from his Program Director and the day the DJ is canned and finally gets rid of the PD who hired him.

Most Program Directors can spot great talent. They have a sixth sense for it.

Unfortunately, once the talent is hired, most PDs also have another core skill: annoying the crap out of them over stupid, picky, meaningless issues which eventually force already unstable personalities to fantasize about a murder-suicide, involving (and starting with) the Program Director.

Sometimes the Program Director is also the Music Director. That’s called wearing two hats. Unfortunately, no one can afford two hats in the station’s budget line, which is where the record companies come in.

Record companies provide gifts to PDs like hats and other promotional materials including concert tickets, trips for listeners, t-shirts, etc. It used to be cash, cocaine, and hookers but government regulation kind of screwed that up. Thanks a lot, jerks!

Now, everything a Program Director receives has to be accounted for and disclosed. Why? Because the PD’s boss, the General Manager, wants to make sure he gets his cut.

Disclosure

I’m kidding. Disclosure occurs because the government doesn’t want the radio station doing any back room deals and promising to play crappy songs in return for anything of value.

Well, at least unless the public knows. In the good old days, radio had Payola (See “cash, cocaine, and hookers” above). That was great because the DJs and Program Directors were able to make a decent living by taking bribes and playing the record company’s crappy songs.

Governments finally stepped in and cleaned all that up. That’s why today, a DJ or PD can still make a decent living by taking a bribe and playing a song but ONLY if they disclose it to the listeners. Unfortunately, most radio companies frown on Payola and make employees sign a paper and swear to God they’re not taking any.

It seems the only folks who can legally take Payola anymore are the politicians who stepped in to clean up radio. Of course, they don’t call it Payola. They call it “campaign contributions”.

By the way: what’s the difference between a seedy record promoter and a lobbyist? You can trust the seedy record promoter. Wait, there is no difference.

There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

Anyway, back to the Program Director. Besides directing programming and maybe overseeing music, the PD has to go to lunch everyday – usually with the guy who does the afternoon show. It is embarrassing when the bill arrives because the PD is never sure whether to offer to pay the bill with another station trade or let the afternoon DJ pay with the money he made by illegally selling station stuff on eBay.

As you can see, being a PD is a day full of hard decisions.

Sometime in the afternoon, the Program Director might have to take a meeting. He will bring in a yellow legal pad and pen but seldom write anything down. This is because anyone with ideas will usually offer to “forward” the info to the PD.

Email has been a boon to the art of program directing. Plus, Program Directors agree they can delete more listener complaints faster now thanks to broadband.

At the end of the day, the Program Director hangs around long enough to make sure the General Manager leaves before he does. This paints the Program Director in a very positive light and suggests that he’s working himself to the bone. (This tactic also works in other professions.)

Other things you should know about the Program Director:

Sometimes he has to wear a third hat and do a show on-the-air. He will often use a pseudonym because the last thing the PD wants is for listeners to know that the idiot on the air is also the idiot who is doing the program directing.

Most Program Directors have offices with signed memorabilia from rock stars. Nothing says success like a framed jock strap with Kid Rock’s signature on it.

Oh yeah, and Program Directors do not look like Andy Travis from the old TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.

 

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0468

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0468.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Dennis Palumbo, author & psychotherapist — Getting into a writer’s head
  • Ernie Smith, Tedium.com — disposable cameras
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0467

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0467.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

☀️ Education’s Sun Shines Brightly With Burli

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Happy Wednesday! Here’s your “Boss Note” of the week!

To keep helping future journalists as they complete their program, Burli has opened scholarships with long time partner British Columbia Institute of Technology. Burli hopes to boost marketable technical skills as well as creativity and innovation in journalism.

Congratulations Gurneet Samra on winning the 2018 Annual Burli Software Inc Award. This award was initiated as Burli worked with BCIT to recognize novice journalists in training in their Broadcast and Online Journalism Program. It is designed to help newcomers to our industry get established as they enter this exciting field. Read: BURLI SOFTWARE AWARD AT BCIT

EDUCATION’S SUN SHINES BRIGHTLY WITH BURLI

More broadcast and journalism schools now adopt Burli technology into their curriculum. Professional newsrooms use it, so Burli has become a core skill needed by aspiring broadcasters around the world. The schools have signed on to Burli to prepare their grads for success in the marketplace. 

We think everyone – students, schools, broadcaster colleagues – and even audiences win when Burli is taught in campus labs and studios. See how we’ve done our best to make the system accessible to your broadcast program.

If you are looking for news tools to teach and share story content between the school lab and campus station for your college or university community, CLICK HERE FOR A SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL PRICING

Go after the life you want. Cheers!

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0466

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0466.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

6 Sure Fire Ways To Get Rid of On-Air Crutches

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Okay, so this is, like, an article about, ah, all those, um, bad, uh, habits or on-air crutches that Dj’s pick up, you know. Know what I mean? Fix these things and, like, you can be super-better at your, um, job and stuff. You know? Whatever.

All air personalities develop crutches. It may be repeating certain phrases (‘How you doin’ on a Thursday?”), running thoughts and sentences together or even just saying, “uh or um” all the time. Inserting “filler” words into conversation slows the pace and gets in the way of communication.

Those fillers happen when searching for the right word or waiting for the mouth to catch up with our thoughts. Soon they become ingrained and we don’t even hear ourselves using them. It becomes a habit.

And it’s a barrier for the listener. In fact, at times it can get so annoying she may hear nothing else.

On-air Crutches: Everyone Has Them

I can virtually guarantee that if you’re on the air, you have a crutch or two. You may know about it, or maybe not. Most of the time someone needs to point it out to you.

It’s a huge problem for most broadcasters. Kevin Olmstead, who became famous for winning over $2 million winner on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, points out that breaking up a statement with fillers causes a loss in confidence from your audience.

For example, read the following lines and compare how they sound:

We’re going to hunt down terrorists and bring them to justice, dead or alive!

And:

We’re going to, ah, hunt down terrorists, and, um, bring them to justice, uh, dead or alive.

Now imagine the President saying it at a nationwide address designed to inspire confidence in the administration. The first line sounds bold, powerful and focused. The second demonstrates less confidence, doesn’t it? It sounds tentative and lacks conviction.

Throw Away Those Crutches

It’s possible to overcome bad habits. First, you have to know they exist. Kim Welter, a member of Toastmasters and a former English teacher says,

 We seldom listen to ourselves, so we don’t know what the pattern might be,

That’s especially true for air personalities. Most dread the air check meeting. And many rarely, if ever, listen to their own show. This is where a program director or talent coach can help. If that’s not a possibility, start a new habit to air check yourself and pay specific attention to those little things that stand out as crutches.

Once they’re identified, go to work to overcome the bad habit.

Here’s how:

Change Your Posture

Changing the position in front of the microphone can make a big difference. If you normally sit down to perform, stand up. If you typically lean back, lean forward. Getting out of the comfort zone can sharpen performance because it forces the brain to be more alert.

When we get into habits and patterns, it’s easy to perform a decent break. That’s going on auto-pilot. Changing the posture can get you going down a different path.

Slow Down & Relax

Here’s an easy thing to improve: Relax. And slow down. This will also improve your vocal qualities. The fastest talker is not a powerful force. Filling each micro-second doesn’t win the biggest prize.

Practice relaxed and powerful conversation, both on and off the air. Replace crutches with silence. It will help you gather your thoughts and your voice will catch up with your brain (or vice-versa).

Speak as slowly as needed in order to maintain a thought without the crutch.

As you improve, pick up the tempo. But remember that momentum is more about keeping the break moving forward. It’s not about talking faster.

Pause Between Thoughts

Most crutches are defense mechanisms air personalities develop to fill time. One of the first lessons in radio was likely that dead air is a sin and you wouldn’t get to the promised land of ratings paradise unless you fill every second with sound.

It’s not true.

You actually don’t have to keep making noise in order to keep listener attention.

“Uh and um” occur when personalities feel (usually subconsciously) that they have to keep talking.  But pausing between sentences can actually add more drama and impact to presentation.

Pausing is an effective way to break the habit of using the same words over and over. Focus on one word that is a crutch, and every time you start to say it, just pause briefly. Collect your thoughts and move on without the word. This feels awkward at first, but it will break the habit.

It’s natural to try and fill all dead space. But it’s not awkward to the listener. It’s perfectly normal.

Prepare Better

Performing spontaneously is important, but too many personalities take that to an extreme. Plan the structure of each break and know what will be said before trying to say it. Visualize how the segment will flow.

If that doesn’t help break the habit, prep even further. Create bullet points to prompt you through the break. And if that doesn’t work, script the breaks until the habit is broken. There’s nothing wrong with writing out everything you say on the air. Some personalities actually sound more causal and spontaneous when reading from a script.

If that doesn’t work, voice-track until the crutch is gone. And force yourself to re-perform the break until you nail it without the crutch.

Work on Body Language

Sometimes habits recur when personalities perform with their head down, or their eyes closed or staring straight ahead at the microphone. Stop this practice. If you’re on a multi-personality show, make eye contact with co-hosts. If you don’t have a co-host, fake one.

Tune a television to a channel with talking heads, and make eye contact with them. Or buy a mannequin to sit across the console. Or mount a poster on the wall. Speaking directly and making eye contact helps eliminate distractions.

Focus

Breaks get off track when personalities try to do too many things at once. Chances are, this is the biggest problem. Even if the break is technically prepped, most air personalities don’t pay attention until a few seconds before the mic goes on.

Stop trying to multitask and focus on the next break. It will make a huge difference.

Be in the moment. If you’re thinking about the next segment, the next song, the next element…or worse, texting a friend…the habits will never get better. And they may become worse.

Conclusion

It takes discipline and attention to detail to get rid of bad habits, but you can do it! The result: You’ll come off as more confident, more prepared and more credible. You’ll also be more interesting.

Try it and let me know how it works for you. tracy@tjohnsonmediagroup.com

Thanks to The Blade for examples and help in creating this article. Click here.