This sentence creates more anxiety for talent than

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Why It Pays to Get Feedback: Part 1

So if you watched the Oscars, didn’t you just want to yell into co-host James Franco’s earpiece, “Dude, open your eyes more onstage.”  Now James may have had a tough time doing that if the “stoned” rumors are true, but my point is that WE could see what JAMES could not.   The same thing is true in all areas of performance.  There are things we just can’t see (or hear) that we’re doing wrong (not necessarily intentionally) until someone else points them out. 

Then, usually we’re quick to correct and avoid the error.
Now imagine this phrase:  “Hey Guys, Aircheck Session tomorrow after the show.”  This sentence creates more anxiety for talent than “The IRS is on the phone.”  (Let the fight or flight panic responses begin!)
Why?  Well, let’s begin by acknowledging that “Talent” have some basic level of insecurity, or we wouldn’t have needed to seek approval in such a public way.   In the mind of the personality, “I’m putting it all on the line everyday, for up to 5 hours, and you want to nit-pick over 3 minutes?”   They cringe at being micro-managed over every little thing in every little break. 
The other big component of the anxiety is that the person reviewing the tape has two big negatives in the mind of the Talent.  Numero Uno: the ability to Fire them.  That’s a biggie.   And perhaps an even bigger stumbling block is a “lack of credibility” in the Talent’s mind.  If the Talent doesn’t respect the PD “as a Talent,” or worse, thinks the PD is trying to “hold them back,” or is “jealous of the Show,” you have a recipe for aircheck sessions that never create improvement in Show performance.
How do you get around it?  How can you shift the balance of power in the room, so real collaborative change takes place and the Show improves?  It’s got to get done, and consistently. 

The best way to address this is for you to deal directly with your own coach, as we do here at The Randy Lane Company.  And pay for it on your own. Or as I like to say, INVEST in yourself. 
Why? 3 reasons.
 #1. You walk into the PD’s office, and he/she says “We’re hiring a consultant to work with the show, to help it get to the next level.” Anxiety level up or down?  I’m guessing up, because what happens if you don’t get the Show to the next level?  

#2.  It says to your PD that you’re serious about improving.  If you’ll only try to improve if they pay for it, that’s weak.  Make a bargain.  “Hey, I’m hiring a coach out of my own pocket, but if my ratings go up, you’re buying the next Quarter, or we’re splitting this.”  

#3 Tax deductible.  We know you itemize.


We know in the last 10 years, you’ve been asked to wear so many hats; the “Talent Coach Hat” is probably the one that gets “put on” the least.  If your station can’t budget for Randy Lane Company “Air Support”, then try this out:
Have an Intern/Production Assistant pull from the digital skimmer  airshifts from each show from a single day.  Get the shows scoped down, but not too tight; leave some of the beginning/end of the songs/spotsets, so the “reviewers” palate can hear what the listener hears.  Then have the midday host write a review-constructive critique of the night jock, and vice versa, and the PM Drive host review the Morning Show.  A month later, rotate it around.
So we’ve eliminated two negative obstacles and put the Talent IN CHARGE! Knowing your review will come from the same person you are reviewing should lead to more “positive feedback and constructive suggestions” than outright brutal criticism.   Many shows never hear what the rest of the station sounds like, so this strategy can be a great team building exercise.  It may lead to more “attaboy/attagirl” warm line calls from your fellow jocks.  And better cross-promotion and appointment setting for the rest of the day.  Reviews still go through the PD, who can make sure comments line up with format goals, and share them at the next meeting.  But have that follow up meeting within a week.  Don’t let two or three weeks slip by from “assignment” to “follow up.”  The energy of this exercise will be lost.
What if your station does airchecks and ratings don’t improve? Read next week’s blog for what to do next.

–Brian Egan

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