What’s The Role Of Your Talent

Dana Perrino (Fox News) in an interview with a U.S. Navy SEAL discussing all the countries he had been sent to:
“Did you have to learn several languages?”
“No, ma’am, we don’t go there to talk.”

Recently I heard that some in radio management said the music was all that counted on a station, that a the talent didn’t add much value.  In fact that the concept of “personality” radio was old school, and in modern times it was about having good DJ’s.  I really didn’t know what to say.

You certainly can’t turn good DJ’s into personalities, and maybe that was at the root of it.  You have to know the principles of personality in order to be one.  However, a blanket statement about personality being old school fade me to think, “That means the pilot of an airplane doesn’t matter, just the airplane.”

I consider the right personalities a “force multiplier,” another of those military terms I tend to use.  According to wikipedia, force multiplication, in military usage, refers to an attribute or a combination of attributes which make a given force more effective than that same force would be without it. How cool that you can have this kind of forcer multiplier at your station.

All it takes is a strategy of understanding what kind of talent and why. You can’t take the “good DJ” route and then wonder why you’re not building an ongoing relationship with your listeners. It takes strategic intent to hire or develop talent that can build the relationship. It’s more difficult than the typical approach, because, in my experience, the best talents are also the most quirky.  That’s a nice way of saying high maintenance.

That high maintenance is worth it when you’re in competition as much as we all are.  While a good DJ might be able to keep people from tuning out, a force multiplier talent is magnetic, drawing people to him or her.  They’re the elite special forces of the radio airwaves.  Strong willed, independent, unique and maybe even a little egotistical.

I don’t know about you, but if I were trouble I’d rather hear a Seal is coming to rescue me.