Recent studies have shown that people listen to their favorite stations now more for the company and connection with their favorite personalities than for the music. Those personalities who can discuss their personal lives — their trials and tribulations — are even more important.
But how real should you be, and when?
This week I listened to a podcast with author, Jessica Zweig, about her new book, Be: A No BS Guide to Increasing Your Self-Worth and Your Net Worth Simply By Being Yourself and was struck, in particular, by what Zweig had to say about authenticity and vulnerability.
If you’re a personality, or coach personalities, one of the goals for your show is undoubtedly to be revealing and “authentic.” In Christian radio, we have a big opportunity for the talent to be even more honest and transparent as opposed to perfect role models.
You might have a funny story about a spat with your partner or an embarrassing moment with your kids. But what happens when something deep happens? When and how should you address personal situations like divorce, for example, or revealing a health crisis.
Take this in, from Zweig’s interview:
The internet [and airwaves] aren’t for you to process your feelings. People don’t necessarily care about your heartbreak or that you’re struggling to pay your rent. They care about what you have learned that can help them go through the same thing. And if you’re in it, it’s hard to see the lesson, the wisdom, the silver lining.
You’re not doing it [sharing] to feel less alone. You’re doing it to make other people feel less alone.
Read that last part again…
I heard one show player confess on the air that she had an eating disorder. She was sobbing, clearly in the middle of a crisis, and her cohosts were caught trying to comfort her live on the air. Listeners called to make her feel better. On the other end of the spectrum, one morning show host waited two years to tell his audience he had gotten divorced. He just wasn’t ready. His wife and family weren’t ready. Had he opened up any sooner, he would have been too raw and it would have been about him, not his audience.
If you have something difficult to share, do the inner work of processing what happened first. Talk to a trusted friend, a pastor or therapist, until you gain the perspective you need. Take your time.
I like to think of it as you revealing your scar, not the wound.
This is not to say that the story itself won’t be emotional or raw. Good storytelling will ensure that the emotion is still there. You just don’t want the audience to feel like they have to console and take care of YOU.
They already have enough to worry about.
Founder & CEO, Angela Perelli Coaching.
Angela Perelli is award-winning former programmer for the iconic KIOI/San Francisco and groundbreaking KYSR (Star 98.7)/Los Angeles. As Program Director of Star 98.7, she managed some of the biggest personalities in the country — Jamie White & Danny Bonaduce; Ryan Seacrest & Lisa Foxx; Frosty, Heidi & Frank as well as VH-1’s Dr. Jenn Berman, MTV’s Mark Goodman and Richard Blade.
Seven years as VP/Talent Development at the Randy Lane Company laid the groundwork for the launch of Angela Perelli Coaching in 2014, including coaching Lisa & Eric on K-LOVE and Mike & Jeannie on Air1. Now she works with shows across the US and Canada, from market #2 to market #240, in all types of formats, including Jerry & Blanca and Johnny & Stacey on WGTS/Washington, D.C.
Angela loves to focus on the things she finds most rewarding — teaching, developing, collaborating and creating. Adding life coaching skills, Angela helps radio personalities find their voice, hone their story, and become so much better than before.