Defined Characters

 In Blog

Sometimes listeners amaze me. 

I know sometimes we radio people tend to think of our listeners as a singular, loyal, salivating throng that only exists to listen to our show and hang on our every word. Turns out that’s really not true at all. Surprise! Our listeners are made up of a bunch of unique people with varying degrees of education, attractiveness, happiness and how much they really give a blank about our show.

So it didn’t come as much of a surprise when a listener messaged me something insightful on Facebook the other day. It was more what she messaged me that was impressive.

Quick backstory: We’ve been looking for a new female member of our show since October. We’ve auditioned lots of great candidates so this is not a knock on them. But I did notice something, and this listener noticed it too.

It’s the fact that some of the candidates had defined personalities from the word “Go.” And others, no matter how much we talked to them, I just couldn’t get a handle on their real personality. 

Here’s how this listener put it: “Dave, you need to find someone to refine, not someone who you need to define.” Wow! She nailed it! That was the issue with so many people we auditioned. They were nice and they were friendly.  Okay, I like nice and I like friendly, but that isn’t much to go on for a powerful radio show. 

Powerful, addictive morning shows need characters that are already defined.  Randy Lane has been saying this for years, and ya know what? He’s right!  Think for a moment of the people on your morning show. Instead of their names, let’s call them by their characters. Maybe you have, “The Clueless Idiot”, “The Loveable Teddy Bear”, “The Dad”, “The Smart-Ass” and the “Bimbo.”  On my show we have, “Fat-Dumb-and-Can’t-Read”, “The A.D.D. Spaz”, “Ms. Naive”, “Douchebag” and “Mr. Judgemental.” (Okay, we’re a little bit deeper than that, but each of us starts with that character.

Once you have defined characters, then you can refine them. In other words, do you want them to be more of a “Clueless Idiot” or less? Do bits and have conversations that refine that character to make it exactly how you want them. Ask anyone on Randy’s team for help if you need it. We’re really good at this!

And if there’s someone on your show who, no matter how hard you think about it, they don’t have a defined character? No worries. They can become a program director!  Heeeey-Yo!



-written by Dave Ryan, The Dave Ryan Show, KDWB/Minneapolis and RLC Talent Coach


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