Morning Showitis

Morning "Showitis" is a disease that effects radio air talent especially morning show personalities. It is curable with proper treatment

Here are the symptoms:

* Thinking they know all there is to know about doing a great morning show.

* They listen to direction but rarely follow through on it.

* They think what’s always worked in the past, will continue to work in the future.

* They think they ARE the station and that everyone else on the air staff is secondary.

* They think the station would fall apart without them.

Those factors are surly the beginning of a demise of a developing and established morning show loaded with potential. You may have heard them say, "the ratings speak for themselves."  That’s great for a show with longevity and growth and substantial ratings successes to back it up. Ryan Seacrest and Howard Stern continue to get guidance. Trust me, Howard Stern is a very smart business man who is not where he is today in the industry believing his own BS and thinking he’s got all the answers, despite what you’ve seen in movies or on television.  Listen to his show from many years ago and compare it to what it sounds like now, even prior to satellite radio, and you’ll hear a distinct difference.  It’s evolved enormously.

So what’s the cure for morning showitis?  There are a few things that can get rid of symptoms. One is trust in the guidance they’re given. The others are open-mindedness, willingness to take chances and above all, patience and hard work.

When a Program Director is listening to your show, they’re listening for greatness. It can come in any form. Where does your greatness come from? What do YOU feel are your strongest skills? Does your content/breaks resonate with the audience? Are you talking TO the audience or AT them? Do they NEED you every day? Would you hire you?

One of the greatest exercises is to listen to what’s on the air now. It can be a local show, a competitor or a show outside your market.  Give them a listen as a Program Director and make a list of what they do great and why and what they do that could use a little help.  While you’re listening, ask yourself these questions.

Are they relatable to their target audience?

Are they local and topical?

Are they so local they sound as if their show could only exist in their market?

Are they great at brevity?

Do they know when the break is over?

What are they doing to keep the audience coming back if they leave during commercials?

Did they give you a reason to listen tomorrow?

Do they have presence in other dayparts?

Are they more entertaining than informational?

What are their benchmarks?

Are they delivering on appointments they set and appointments the station sets?

Do they consider you, the air talent, the expert on something?

Are they playing enough music?  

If you answered no to any more than 3 of the above, they probably should be playing more music to start.  Music is the #1 reason most people listen to the radio even in the morning. It’s been proven in research studies nationally and locally.  The listeners have spoken!  Don’t fight it. You’ll never be criticized for playing too much music. You can always drop a song here and there but only if it's replaced by something great.

Be honest with yourself in the moment.  Is what you’re doing or about to do during the show worth more than playing another song instead?  I know it’s a tough question to ask yourself but it falls under one of the cures.  Trust. Trust in yourself and trust in others who have an impact on the show and how it’s performed.  If you’re a 10 song an hour morning show, what are you doing to lose one or two songs per hour? 

It’s funny. On television sit coms, the script, the staging, the lighting and the delivery are all practiced for hours on end prior to the actual taping.  There are script revisions, changes in character development and many other things viewers don’t ever see. All we see is the finished product.  Like stage theater, In radio, we only have one chance.  There are no re-do’s and no re-writes in radio. It’s live much like live television was in the 50’s and 60’s. When you think of it, it’s pretty ballsy what is done on the radio every day by some of the most talented people in the business.  We’re so used to it. It doesn’t rattle us. But ask any stage actor and you’ll find they are amazed at what air talent does every day LIVE!

Let’s not get morning showitis. Let’s not let our own successes get in the way of making ourselves better. Let’s never be satisfied. 

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