The Lost Art of Air Checking
By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting
If you are a regular reader of my articles, there’s one thing you know for sure; I believe in being “brilliant with the basics.” One of the most basic (and important) jobs a PD can do is critique talent. But with today’s busy PD schedules, this often gets ignored. Believe it or not, when I speak with talent, one of their biggest complaints is that they have not been air-checked in a long time.
So now that you’ve been reminded, give your talent what they want. Your time. Set up an air-check session today. To help, here’s a rundown of important areas to review with them.
– Trying too hard to be funny. There is a difference between “fun” and “funny.” Being fun is important and much easier to do. Most jocks are not funny.
– Not enough time checks. Too much time in between time checks.
– Not enough benefit-driven recycle mentions to “listen at work.” Use the morning show to get them into listening during the most important daypart, at work.
– Being an “Island” from the rest of the station. Not promoting what will happen later in the day on the station. Making the rest of the station part of your morning show.
– Laughing at everything said. Laughing when it is not funny. Nervous laughter (especially with sidekicks).
– Bits that go too long. In focus groups, most listeners “zone out” after about 20 seconds (unless it is really good).
– If you’re still doing news. Stories that have no interest whatsoever to the target listener. Use of words like “officials” and “authorities.”
– No promotion of what is coming up next. Whether diary or PPM, appointment setting is critical to increasing TSL.
– Talk for talk’s sake. Music is still a very important reason that people listen in the morning.
– Failing to sound warm and friendly.
– Weak or tired old-fashioned benchmarks. Drop the weakest one.
– Too much reliance on pop culture, show business, entertainment “blocks.” Most AC listeners rate this very low in importance.
– Companionship. Are you a good companions for your listeners?
1. Jocks who sound stiff/formal and unnatural.
2. Not promoting the stations unique benefits enough.
3. “SAYING” liners versus “SELLING” them with personality.
4. Not promoting tomorrow’s morning show.
5. Sounding bored and uninterested.
6. Failing to realize that you are their workday “companion.”
7. Use of DJ crutches such as:
• Good Afternoon
• Good Evening
• With you
• Thanks for listening “everybody”
• On a (day of week)
• Hump Day (if your jocks use this PLEASE eliminate)
• Saying goodbye at the end of the shift. Instead promote what’s next.
This Christmas, give your talent what they want the most. A slice of your time in an air-check session.
Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com
Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.