When you hone a knife, the knife is already sharp. By honing the knife, you’re making it sharper. When you sharpen a knife, the knife is dull and needs sharpening. How does this apply to your skill set as an air personality?
When you first started this wonderful journey of being on the air, you were a dull knife that needed experience and that time being on the air was when you were getting sharpened. Now that you have that experience and are sharp, how can you continue to hone your on air skills?
Always Be a Student
You may have been doing on air work for years, maybe even decades and are just as sharp as you’ve ever been. By being a student of being on the air, you are alert to what others are doing. What they do on air may or may not be for you, but by always listening to radio in your market or by streaming, you will determine what you might want to add or discard. Listen to all formats and discover what they are doing, how they do it and when they do it. Read books on radio like Valerie Gellers’ “Beyond Powerful Radio” or “Writing for Radio” by Vincent McInerney. Join Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB). They have tons of resource material not to mention Momentum.
Avoid thinking that you are so good that you are un-coachable. When listeners say something to you about your show, good or bad, listen. If you have the luxury of having someone like John Frost, Tommy Kramer, Chuck Finney or Beth Bacall as a talent coach, open up and absorb what they can teach you. All feedback is good feedback. This is the part where you must set aside any defensive emotions with the idea of honing your skills.
How long has it been since you listened to your show? I suggest that you listen to at least two full hours while doing work around the house and driving around doing chores. Listen to everything: songs, commercials, underwriting, jingles and your content. By listening to a couple of full hours you can experience how your audience hears you.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Johnny Stone is a veteran air personality in markets like New York City Metro, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, San Diego among others. Johnny is host of the Christian Music show Looking Up To #1 and the country based Looking Up Country. After serving for almost 9 years at WAWZ/New York (STAR 99.1) as morning show host and Program Director, Johnny is now on the air at Family Life Radio co-hosting afternoons with his wife Stacey. Contact Johnny at firstname.lastname@example.org