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Brian Wright “20 Steps To Good Talent Coaching”


  1. Set up a mechanical structure that puts the PD and the air-talent together on a weekly basis, individually.  Set a specific day and time.
  1. Make sure that every air personality records every show. The talent should listen to part of their show each day. By having the person record every show, it doesn’t alter their presentation.
  1. Do not talk about the various activities of the radio station in this coaching session. That can happen any other time of the day.
  1. Do not spend time talking about personal things during this meeting, unless it is something essential to the show.
  1. Always reward the on air talent for exceptional work. This can come in the form of a verbal pat on the back, a weekend off, etc.
  1. Avoid using the words, “This is wrong”. Always turn the negative into a positive like… “To improve on this…”
  1. Never have the coaching session go beyond 45minutes. Personalities can not retain that much information. Nor do they have that long of an attention span.
  1. Do not try to cover EVERY area that needs improvement in a single meeting. Make it a process not an event. You will get more accomplished that way.
  1. Do not be alarmed when you have to give the same coaching advice in several different meetings. Repetition is the key to learning. You are a coach not a king.
  1. Avoid criticism. Never talk down to any on air talent and never get upset. Anyone can yell and scream at an air talent but it takes real coaching skill to successfully motivate a person to perform at their highest ability.  Always coach through encouragement.
  1. Never talk to other on air talent about someone else’s coaching session unless you have permission to do so and it is relevant to the coaching of the individual you are sharing the information.
  1. Always give specific advice and illustrations on how to improve in a specific area. Never simply say, “You need to do a better job at that.”
  1. Make sure you keep track of the talents progress from coaching session to coaching session. If you instructed the talent to double-time in morning drive make sure you commend him/her on the progress and the mastering of that area.
  1. Always keep a smile on your face when you are coaching your talent. This sounds odd but it is very reassuring to the talent.
  1. Understand that most, if not all, radio personalities are very insecure and can get very defensive,(do not let anyone’s ego mislead you. Usually the person with the biggest ego is the most insecure). Always reassure them that you are there to build them up, not drag them down.
  1. Tell them that you believe in them and their ability. Do this often. Just like your husband or wife needs to hear “I love you” an on air talent needs to HEAR that you believe in them. If you don’t believe in them than you made a bad hire.
  1. Always encourage air talent to listen to the various other shows in the market. This will give them a good point of relativity. The idea is not to copy another person’s style but just to get a feel for what is happening at other radio stations.
  1. Always encourage your talent to listen to other shows outside of the market.  In this case your talent could pick up on a few things that he/she could benefit from.
  1. Always take notes during your talent coaching sessions. After the meeting is over you can print the notes off for the talent. You keep a copy as well. This is also a good way to keep your General Manager informed on the great progress of your air talent.
  1. NEVER threaten anyone with their jobs if they simply will not follow your advice and coaching. If it reaches this point you know that this person is not the right person for your radio station so he or she must be replaced as soon as possible. It was their decision not yours.

Brian is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming. After many years of success working for individual radio stations and clusters, Brian Joined one of the most trusted consulting firms in the country, Audience Development Group. For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue. Contact Brian atbrian@audiencedevelopmentgroup.com

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