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Net Talk • The Morning Show Meeting... I'd rather go to the dentist!
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The Morning Show Meeting... I'd rather go to the dentist!

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:31 pm
by bigstew
Its 10:05 AM, you are mentally exhausted because you just got off the air doing what you thought was a great morning show! However you dread this moment of every day because you have a Program Director (who has never done mornings, nor has he ever had any real success as an air talent) who wants to have a coaching session with you! We have all worked for this person, the one who has less personality than that cardboard cut out of Zak Brown in your on air studio. He has never been "in the heat of the moment," unless of course you are talking about him or her listening to that 80s classic from Asia! With that being said he is going to impart his wisdom on you, and "coach" you to becoming a better morning show. He is going to teach you how to be compelling and funny! Oh boy.... here we go..... stay with me here!

We all have egos in radio. If you say you don't, please quit now and go bag groceries! Egos are often looked upon by management as bad things, however with a good mix of humbleness an ego can help you! Your ego drives you to be better, to be the best! You want to be recognized at the local diner over your pancakes. That ego can often get us in trouble with Cardboard Cutout, Radio Programmer! It is hard to sit across the desk from a guy or girl, who has no idea what it is like to do a successful morning show. They don't know how busy it is, how you are multitasking 4 hours a morning, dealing with listeners, sales people who want you to cut a piece of production, and often times a morning partner you barely know much less get along with off the air. You didn't say this, you opened this break wrong, you didn't do this, you should say this here..... its like going to a buddies house who knows nothing about football and listening tell you how the quarterback in the Super Bowl could have played a better game!

So how do you deal with this person? Thats a great question and the one we will be asking ourselves for decades to come. I don't pretend to know the answers. I can only tell you be true to yourself, and your family! Don't let anyone compromise you or your beliefs. Unfortunately radio executives think they know it all, when in reality, no one really does. Radio is not a science! Sure, there is some science in involved when it comes to analyzing data, music research, cost per point in sales etc, but programming is a lot of gut! There are too many programmers who have lost their "gut" feelings, or if they still have them, they won't express them because they have a corporate boss who makes them suppress it! When was the last time you saw a PD or MD add a song because they "had a good feeling about it!" It happens occasionally, but not nearly as often as it did 20 years ago! Lets face it Elvis wouldn't be huge if it weren't for a PD taking a chance!

Remember this, you know your audience, you see them, talk to them and interact with them on a daily basis. If you want to disagree with the PD who is "coaching" you, do it respectfully, but also stand your ground. I think your PD will respect you more if they know they cannot walk all over you. Additionally, if you are that person who lets their ego override their mouth, take notes in those sessions, and revisit something the day after that has made you upset. In the end you are both people, and some respect in both directions goes a long way! Make intelligent, articulate, and humble arguments (especially if they can fire you), to get your point across. Just because they are the PD, doesn't mean they are right!

Lastly, don't be afraid to get a consultant involved, sometimes as air talent we cannot see the forrest through the trees, and neither can your PD! You may both have valid points! We are all in the communications business, however we seem to do a horrible job at communication! If you are a programmer, ask yourself this: "Is anything I am going to say to my talent in this air check session going to benefit their career, the Morning Show, or the Radio Station?" If you can honestly say yes, then please by all means address it! If you complaining because they said degrees when they read the temperature..... keep it to yourself. Listeners don't know the difference.

In closing, be the best you can be for yourself, for your show, and for your station. Learn and grow daily, read industry trades, listen to other morning shows and air talent, and don't be so fast to write off that morning show meeting! Be open minded, and communicate with your boss! If you can't handle a daily meeting explain that and ask to do it less frequently, but if they agree, make the most of the opportunity to have another set of ears on your show.... no matter how dumb you think they are.

See you on the radio!

Big Stew

Re: The Morning Show Meeting... I'd rather go to the dentist

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:18 am
by countryboy
This is a good post...very fair.

I remember my first coaching session with my PD, I was 17, he was in his 50s. He had been a radio star in NYC, but that was 20 years ago. I sat down, and he opened his desk drawer and pulled out a Michelob. That's how it started. At the end of the day, he's your boss. He's responsible to the GM. The question you need to ask is who would you rather talk to: Him or a guy who only really knows sales? The answer is easy.

My suggestion to people who loathe morning meetings is come prepared with information. One thing I always preach is "invest in yourself." So hire your own outside coach. Someone who cares about YOUR interests, and can tell you things the PD won't. Understand that radio, and most of life, is about collaborations and interactions. Those who succeed in collaborations can succeed at anything. Keep in mind that morning meetings with air talent have been going on for over 50 years. Rick Sklar did them at WABC. Keep an open mind. Regardless of the PD's experience, he might have a good idea. It may not have originated from him. It's your job to take his idea, and execute it in a way that works for you. Like a singer who does a cover song but changes the key and a few lyrics. A great artist is one who can make even a bad idea look or sound good. I've worked with air talent who could do that. That's what makes them professionals.