Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Role Development

The 'key ingredient' for any jock/personality is to develop a 'role' with the audience. To visualize it take a look at sit coms where we have actors usually playing characters. Sinefeld was the 'observer with a unique angle' and used that platform to build a character that took funny views of the things in everyday life. Ray Romano built his show around a husband/wife/family relationship where he was mostly the 'unfortunate' one that couldn't quite get it while being lovable. Charlie Sheen plays the hip playboy in Two and Half Men living with an opposite nerdy brother and a little kid who gets more of his playboy lifestyle than we expect.

All of these people are actors and do a great job of playing their roles and developing their characters. How many of your air staff members approach their daily shows with an eye/ear on role development and realize that they are creating a character? I bet most of them would tell you they are seeking to 'be themselves' on the air.

So who wants to listen to a guy who lives in a sound proof room? We have to create and develop roles that the audience can understand in the time they have to listen. When Ray Romano creates his character he only has 20 minutes to develop the story and build his character. So we don't get a ton of insight - mostly that he's into having sex with his wife but she's a bit cool on it, his parents live across the street and are a pain in a rear, and his brother is mostly a loser. It's pretty simple stuff to build a show on and with only 20 minutes that's about all we can expect.

In Morning shows you have a whole different game to play with multiple personalities and a lot more time to develop them as we typically talk more. But, for years we've focused a lot on that daypart - it's time to work on the rest of the day and I bet most stations haven't spent the time and effort to coach and develop roles the rest of the day.

The lesson here is keep it pretty simple and basic and make sure to develop it well enough to cut through. Here's some roles that we often hear somewhat developed in our non-morning show air staffs that you might consider:

In Touch Jock: They know what's going on in the world on a general platform. They follow TV, Movies, Sports, Music, Personality, and the Community and work in the headlines almost every day.

Music Expert: Focused on the music and they know it inside and out. They offer some critiques, inside info on tours and new releases. Great on the concert scene also.

Everyday Joes: Almost as if you plucked someone out of the audience and put them on the air. They follow everything the audience does and relate to it in a way that sounds natural. This is usually not the deep voiced or formal sounding jock.

Wild Ones: It seems like they party all the time and are everywhere there's something happening in the market. Every event they hit is an adventure with drama, zany moments, and edgy actions.

Cool Ones: Rather laid back with a 'just the facts' attitude. This one is pretty hard to pull off and make an impression with. You can do it on screen with looks a lot easier than on the radio where we can't use those tools.

Rule Book: We hear this character a lot, but it usually doesn't make any impression on the audience. They execute the backsell, liner, billboard deal well with a smooth delivery and everything is well positioned, but it's usually about as entertaining as listening to auto phone answer systems.

The Mayor: Sooo plugged into the community. If there's 3 people at an event they are one of them. They have touched so many people personally they get known. How many times have you seen a jock who doesn't sound that great on the air, but seems to have huge numbers and a big following. Chances are they are The Mayor - they ran for the office and never quit once they got the job.

There are a lot more roles out there. If you're on the air or if you're coaching the air staff make sure to take some time and look closely at Role Development in every coaching session. If you want to build real personalities instead of just some taking heads this is THE KEY to doing it.

No comments: