In this blog, we often talk about the importance of air talent to the health and well-being of radio brands. Every radio CEO will tell you their stations are all about people. And while you cannot deny the value a great programmer, DOS, or market manager brings to a station or cluster, the past, present, and future of this industry is tied to talent. They're the face of the brand – the contact points with the audience.
Your station either has on-air talent or it doesn't.
You're building a personality brand – or more – or you aren't.
When it comes to nurturing and growing talent, there are rarely “happy mediums.”
And while success and failure often hinge on a handful of meters or diaries, it's great personalities – or the lack thereof – that truly make or break radio stations. A music station can go through a drought of big hits if it has a personality show that is “cume urgent” – one that local consumers feel compelled to tune in day in and day out; one that feels like a member of the family. A sports radio station can survive a mediocre local team performance with hosts who know how to shake it up during those rough seasons.
Ironically, most programmers and managers can tell you about how familiar their airstaff is, and whether listeners rate their personalities excellent, good, fair, or poor.
But most know blessedly little about how personalities are wired, their personal goals, how they rate their own strengths and weaknesses, and whether they're truly happy.
We've partnered with Don Anthony, Mr. Morning Show Boot Camp, to create radio's first-ever research survey conducted among air talent. We're calling it AQ – a measurement of the radio industry's Air Talent Quotient.
We consulted with several radio personalities in order to design a questionnaire that gets to the heart of key issues facing radio talent. As I write this post, more than 500 members of the radio talent community have already completed the survey. And the sample balance is amazing.
We're talking to personalities rated by meters and diaries (as well as those in unrated markets), jocks in the biggest and smallest markets, morning show alpha dogs and sidekicks, and those who say they're set for life as well as some who say they're struggling and in debt.
The idea is to better understand our station linchpins – to work more closely with them, develop them, and strengthen the content of the radio broadcasting industry. Just like with Techsurvey, better decision-making comes with knowledge.
It's time we started benchmarking radio personalities – their opinions, attitudes, perceptions, and what motivates them.
We're asking about their life goals.
How many hours a day they spend preparing the next day's show.
The gadgets and devices they personally own.
Their passion level for radio and predictions about the industry's health.
How often they're airchecked.
And their opinions about social media, podcasts, video, and personal appearances.
We'll present the results at MSBC's 30th anniversary in Chicago in August. Registration and info for the conference are available here.
If you're on the air – full or part-time (or you produce a show), we want your opinion. If you're a programmer or manager, encourage your airstaff to spend 15 minutes to take this easy survey.
It's totally confidential – no radio company is in the least bit affiliated with AQ. Our plan is to update the study each year, tracking the key data points so we can learn even more this major radio resource – on-air talent.
You can read a quick descriptor of AQ here, with a link to take the survey.
If you're on the radio in any capacity, please take the survey. If you're not, please forward to members of your staff, as well as your friends on the air.
There's no limit to how many respondents we can amass – the bigger, the better.
And then let's meet at Morning Show Boot Camp, and figure this out.
Copies of the survey will be available free for distribution after the event.
Air talent is radio's most precious resource. Now, we're going to gain much-needed insight into what makes it tick and how to sustain it.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.