Squashing the waffle

It’s quite ironic that one thing that really leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of all PDs I know is something that also sounds so sweet: waffle. Nothing says, “I’m unprepared” more than a stream of speech that is hoping to create a worthwhile link. I’m well-known for calling people who do this ‘emergent…

Knowledge is power

There’s no denying that knowledge is power; so imagine if, as a broadcaster, you somehow had complete knowledge of everything. Imagine if during a news report you were able to embellish on one of the topics in the report. Imagine if you were able to talk on absolutely anything; if you were able to recall…

The Producer: Tinker, tailor…

I was once asked by a controller and trainee producer to describe what was expected of him as ‘radio producer’. I then delivered a 10 minute explanation that, I fear, provided very little explanation. I had failed to properly summarise what a producer was supposed to do; and so I was forced to re-evaluate my…

Catching piggy

Interviewing a politician is like trying to catch a greased piglet. They squirm and dart around in an attempt to avoid being nabbed, and if you do manage to get your hands around them they squeal like a…well…a stuck pig. The secret to catching them is not to chase them, but to set a trap….

Real radio talent prep

One of the main differences between real radio talent and people who just talk on the radio can be summarised in one word: preparation. In the current shift within the industry towards a return to more personality-driven radio, this has become even more critical. So here’s a warning: if your PD doesn’t currently insist to…

An irresponsible leap of faith

I find it puzzling that so many radio talent would never cross a road without first looking left and right, but then think nothing of taking callers live on air without first screening them. I once challenged a drive show co-host for doing this and he laughed at the analogy and said, “but taking callers…

Taking the listener to the edge

Let’s face it – few things get a better reaction on radio than a brilliantly funny joke or comment, especially if it’s naughty; you know – close to the bone (sorry, it’s a habit). So how can you manage to pull it off? Before venturing down this tricky road, know this – there are two…

Getting the facts straight 2

If you present a radio show and think that people are going to listen to everything you say, you’re delusional. Similarly anyone who spends his or her time simply listening to the radio either needs their head examined or really needs to get a life. Normal people see the radio purely as an accompaniment to…

Getting the facts straight 1

In radio we speak of ‘the listener’, which is something of a misnomer because the average listener doesn’t. Listen, that is. They hear what is coming through the radio – they hear the music and they hear you talking – but very rarely do they actually listen. This is most frustrating. It also has important…

Tweaking the nerve

Everyone has a nerve. Many people have more than one. If you want to be a truly effective radio professional you have to know how to reach through the radio, find that nerve and gently pluck it. You will then be able to play with peoples’ emotions. It sounds ruthless, I know, but then most…

In-jokes – kick them out

The listener is a funny character; not funny ha-ha, nor funny strange; more funny pain-in-the-butt, because it’s so hard to really please them. When you think about it, there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of different people listening to your show, all of whom are made happy by different things; all of whom find…

Profiling: not nice, but necessary

‘Profiling’ – the process of allocating ‘typical’ or stereotypical characteristics to a person or persons based on, say, physical attributes is usually not particularly nice; ask anyone of Middle Eastern descent who’s been grilled by customs officials at JFK. However in our business it’s an essential portal to effective radio. If I were to ask…