Unlocking talent: delicate and dangerous

Abstract: The secret to radio's survival sits in the chair behind the studio desk; the challenge is to unlock the talent... Most of the times I have been called in to work with on-air talent, it’s been because their PD (Programme Director) didn’t know what was wrong. Actually, they did, they just didn’t have a word for it. I have found that the biggest challenge for radio station PDs is finding the time to do what they really want to do. Most PDs I know are former presenters or producers. This makes sense as a PD needs to have a deep connection with the product and the means of production. But stepping up into management has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is the opportunity to make a bigger impact on the output, the disadvantage is having to deal with all the shit that goes with it. Radio PDs are increasingly managing the bigger picture. They’re involved in the

The case for more talk in music programming

Abstract: The programming ethos for most music radio still sits in the 90s... I am constantly intrigued by the prevalence of music formats in radio stations. I am well-aware of the secrets behind their popularity, but I also know they’re built upon an outdated, and increasingly flimsy, premise. I spent over 25 years in radio, most of it in a state of constant anxiety; the reason for this is that I had burned into my brain the inflexible programming maxim of ‘more music, less talk’. As a result, every time I opened my mouth to talk I could hear a metaphorical clock in my head counting down to when I should ‘get back to the music’. And the more I talked, the louder it ticked. I still hear that clock today. When I monitor music-formatted stations I can sense when the presenter is under pressure to ‘get back to the music’, and the result is programming riddled with missed opportunities for effective content. So why

Stop worshipping false idols

Abstract: Whether we like it or not, Idols makes idiots of us all... The joke goes a little like this: How do you know when Idols is on M-Net? When your dog scrambles under the sofa...Like Idols, there's a faint touch of reality to this joke. Apparently, dogs panic at the sound of other dogs howling in pain. Tomorrow, we know, about 3 000 children in sub-Saharan Africa will die of malaria. South Africa rather wants to know who's going to win Idols. The word 'perspective' pops into mind. I have been following the developments in Idols with disinterest. So called 'reality shows' just don't do it for me. Maybe it has something to do with the blatant lack of reality, or because my hackles rise whenever someone tries to dress up a Yorkie as an attack dog. But then I remind myself it's all