Building Air Talent Authority

In nearly any radio market you visit, there’s that one air personality that’s known for something.  If you mention “radio” and “news” or “weather” in the same sentence here in Jackson, MS, you’ll no doubt hear the name Randy Bell.  In other markets, personalities have become know as “the event girl”, “the concert guy” or perhaps “the gardening mama”.  On a national level, if you mention “rock” and “radio” in the same sentence, you might hear “Howard Stern”, “Mancow” or someone else depending on what part of the country you’re in.

Whatever the case, these radio personalities have become “authority” figures in their fields.  How did they do this?  It wasn’t just by coming in and doing a shift each day.  They branched out beyond the signal.  Is this tough for today’s air personalities?  Absolutely not.

Your personalities have this same opportunity to become authority figures within the confines of your local community no matter the size.  They can be the “local events” guy, the “weekend handy mom” or the “entertainment news night jock”.  They just need to pick something they love and completely own it.  When I say “own it”, I don’t just become more passionate about it on-air.  They need to be everywhere the station listeners might be online as well.  This includes blog posts, podcasts, social media and even video blogging.  The more platforms they can occupy, the more authority they will build in their niche.

Also, if these personalities ever want to get noticed outside of Smallville, this is the quickest recipe for it.  The national personalities we mentioned above didn’t gain the authority status they achieved by doing the minimal.  Yes, cultivating authority is more work – sometimes a great deal more work.  I’m certain they will all tell you it was worth it.

If you are station manager, this kind of cultivation is worth it to the air personality and worth it to the station as a whole.  When these talent become authority figures, additional revenue streams come into play in the way of sponsorships, promotions, etc.  Just keep in mind that the “go-getting” talent should also partake in the additional revenue.

Building Station Authority

The same things we have mentioned above can also be said for your radio station as a whole.  It does not matter how small your signal is or how minimal your staff.  Your radio station can command more authority within your community by becoming the “go-to” source for local news, events, obituaries, weather, farm news, …you name it.  The more you can “own”, the bigger your authority will become and the more you can charge advertisers to be a part of it.  Like air personalities, this means blog posts/news, podcasts for some shows/events, social media updates and even some video.

None of these extra steps need to be perfect.  They just need to happen so that you or your station can be talked about more in your community and so your content can more easily be found online.  Blog posts can be a short paragraph.  A podcast might be a recorded newscast that is re-purposed from on-air.  A Youtube video might be the news person holding a phone while reading the news on-air.  The more you reap, the more you’ll surely sow.

Radio owners and programmers have worked so hard at tweaking their on-air product each year in order to gain more listeners or beat the competition.  In some cases, leaving the programming alone and simply expanding the station online using other methods will produce better results.

Simply creating the content won’t cut it.  Always cross-promote on-air and online.  Promote fresh website content with social and your on-air programming.  Promote on-air with your online and social streams.  Good luck in your efforts to build authority on online revenue.

Before you go, check out this great video from UK streaming provider radio.co about building/broadcasting authority.  This is also a great example of a simple video that can be done with minimal effort.