Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ON THE HORIZON IN 2010 Part Three: Mornings and Talent Devlopment

In these days of WAN delivered, satellite and in-house recorded programming, how do we develop talent? We ask the best to chime in this week on FTC.

Alpha Director of Music Programming Scott Mahalick leads off: "Morning shows that make you laugh" are the key to a successful Country radio station. Jaye Albright of Albright and O'Malley locks it up: "Benchmarks and bits are replaced by today's hot topics, interacting with listeners about them in entertaining ways. No more punching out six hours of v/t's in 45 minutes with no prep.  Listeners want to help create our content, using all forms of new and old media.  Create a social network which shares on all of your traditional and new media channels."

Thanks to Tom Oakes VP/Programming for NNB – "As many stations face elimination of in-house on-air talent across middays, afternoons and nights, your locally-originated locally-driven morning show will become even more important if anyone wants to remain out front.  And this isn’t a show prep sheet driven show…it’s a morning show that reflects your hometown back to itself. Your morning show must understand (the ones who already win know this clearly) that they are the voice and face of the station and should be looking for every way possible to be involved with your listeners, clients and the community.  We can all pine for the old days when we had jocks 24/7.  But recalling the old days doesn’t help you in today’s environment.  Here in Alaska, we face the recruitment challenge of location – not everyone wants to move to the Last Frontier. So you change up the plan and look for talent who has raw natural abilities – sense of humor, are personable, a keen interest in learning, have that “show biz” yearning…it takes time but you can do it.  On our CHR’s morning show, the co-host was found at our local science museum.  She had no previous radio experience but had the desire and the qualities we were looking for.  Teaching the basics and continuous coaching has helped her grow into the role.  Sales does this all the time…programming can and should do the same. There’s no farm system anymore. We need to get back to creating our own talent bench. To recall John Anderson’s song of years gone-by…today’s chunk of coal could be your diamond tomorrow. "

Lance Tidwell PD of powerhouse WWYZ Hartford adds: "I know we have a talent pool problem, when we started to cut airstaffs in small markets years ago we said we would one day have a talent shortage and here we are!  Nothing left to do but coach through it.  I don't believe country music is going to have any morning shows that will work as well national as local anytime soon.  We haven't found a talent that can do serious numbers from coast to coast, I personally don't believe the format's life group is there yet, I don't think it meets their expectations for this format. VT'ing is fine, who we ge to do it in the future is the problem I see.  Expectations for salary and advancement with the younger people doesn't meet the reality of where the industry is right now but the economy may be righting that ship now.  One of my biggest concerns is the PPM and what kind of changes it will bring.  I'm hoping it's not going to bring radio to an even more boring place than it is or has been ... very hopeful but afraid it really could kill the radio star.  Imagine a break where a jock does a bit or break that pushes 60% of the audience went away but it was a hugely defining moment for him with the other 40% of the audince?  If we just follow the meters we're in trouble, we can see measure the audience size but what about the stuff we can't measure with regard to the audience?"

PART FOUR NEXT WEEK - Social Media in 2010

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