I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent. – John Wooden
What’s your talent strategy?
Yes, you need to have a strategy in mind. You can have a success with either great DJ’s or with personalities, but it’s doubtful you’ll find it trying to be both. The differences are fundamental. In a DJ strategy the concentration is on quantity – how much are they talking, when are they talking, how long are they talking, etc. With personality radio the focus is on the qualitative – what are they saying, how are they saying it, why are they saying it, etc.
Many people confuse the two, and say they want personalities, but then they focus on the quantitative, which is the quickest way to demoralize destroy a true personality. Or they hire DJ’s and think of them as personalities. This is even more destructive, because the DJ’s convince themselves they are personalities, and begin to talk more without much effort in the show prep it takes to be one.
Remember, both of them can be successful in the right situation, but one of them is much easier than the other. Focusing on the qualitative is more difficult, more time consuming, and just more challenging, even though the payoff of a personality is much greater. With personalities you’ll find people calling to talk about what the talent said, and with talented DJ’s the calls tend to be more about how much they talk. I’ve seen that true personalities draw about 25% complaints, because they make definitive statements and take a stand. You can’t say you want to develop true personalities and then over-react to the calls you’re bound to get. The quantitative is simpler because it’s more tangible and measurable, but the payoff may be less.
If you’re thinking about your own strategy, keep this in mind: Radio is having challenges, and can lose it’s “magnetism” if it relies too much on music only. True personalities are an emotional draw that can’t easily be replicated. Music is easy to copy. For some time I’ve thought that music has become defensive in nature. While it can lose listeners if it’s wrong, people have come to expect it to be their favorite. Personalities, on the other hand, are an offensive weapon, because they are a draw that keeps people coming back.
So, what’s your strategy? Although I believe the personality approach has more long term value, either can be successful. But you have to be intentional and aware of what you kind of talent have and what your goals are, and not be fooled either way.