Home URBAN Programmers Chime in on the lack of New Urban DJs

Programmers Chime in on the lack of New Urban DJs

Part 2: Urban Radio Desperately Seeking New Talent in Dry Pool

one-social-network Over the last couple of days, I have been corresponding with several PDs, announcers, potential announcers and radio people about the story we ran a couple of days ago concerning the lack of new urban radio talent. Here are a few of the things that we talked about. First and foremost, there are MANY eager young people ready to get into the radio industry AND there are many older industry jocks who are not ready to retire.  I’m not sure where the middle is but I do know radio is very interested in unknown jocks for full time shifts. There are some older jocks who understand the power of social networks and are able to comply with today’s demand but there are others who are not connected and don’t want to be. One older jock recently told me: “I have better things to do than to talk about what I’m about to play on the air or see pictures of somebody’s family members. I’m busy.” The kids, most of who understand and LIVE social networks can help add leverage and bring value to today’s radio corporation mostly because they are hungry but they are also smart and they have marketing savvy. Advertisers are going DIRECTLY to kids who have the most views or likes to help promote their brands and these kids are getting rich. Now radio wants a piece of the action. It may not be fair but it makes sense. I talked to at least 11 PDs and the general consensus is that stations are looking for new talent even for full-time positions and they are frustrated because they are having a hard time finding them. Perhaps the kids who are social net savvy don’t want to be tied down to a corporation or they may realize their value and not be interested in sharing it which may be an advantage to vet jocks in the long run.  Nevertheless, they still need training and not the kind many of us over 40 got when we entered the industry. I have to admit most of us were robbed, trained to be robots with no personality caught up in the midst of the consultant’s arena and today’s jocks are bombarded and controlled by research. Could radio FINALLY be ready to broaden the programming horizon?

Another reason PDs are looking for new jocks, from what I’ve gleaned, is because they’re ready to get back to doing real radio work.. training new talent.  Who wouldn’t want to sit back 20 years form now and say, “I gave him his first break?” How likely is it that an urban programmer today would be able to do that if things continue the way they are. I asked some of the programmers that I talked to how vet jocks can maintain their positions and several of them told me older jocks are very set in their ways and not willing to educate themselves on things like social networking. In addition there are other reasons programmer are having a hard time finding jocks as well. One programmer in a large market told me..

Man, it’s hard to find good talent today.  I gotta first say, have your resume and references all be in order to check out. I’ve had several good people (so I thought) apply and couldn’t get through the background check because their information was not in order. Companies do extensive background checks these days and a lot of our folks don’t make it through the process. Second, don’t send me unsolicited material. If you know there is a solid opening at a station, then reach out and EMAIL a package to the PD. You must also apply online too. Don’t think just because you sent a package to the PD, that it’s in the proper pipeline. Of course these are ways that work for me. Gone are the days when you can simply send an air check and the PD has time to listen to it with or without and opening at that station. I will however, from time to time, critique an air-check if a talent sends it to me. 

So this is interesting and it brings up a good point. We all deserve a second chance but this programmer is stating that good people are at a loss because they are not passing the background checks? Are they intentionally not disclosing certain things from their pasts by putting in the wrong information? Who knows but some of the best talent may have questionable backgrounds as we know in the industry. I can’t help but to wonder if some of the smaller stations may take a chance and hire someone with a past. At any rate, another programmer brings on of my earlier points home…

I think the highly creative talent should utilize social media to reach out to PD’s. We are all on it and monitoring Social Media and they can always take the email route.

This is a good suggestion but I honestly think some urban jocks are so paranoid about losing their jobs that they may not think it’s a good idea to friend a programmer at another station.  Jocks should do it anyway. Another programmer told me that a major corporation just decided recently to ask jocks to promote themselves on social networks. This was a shock considering which corporation it is but they are apparently starting to see the light. Perhaps some jocks are overselling themselves like this major market programmer who is always on the social networks states…

I’m not one who takes kindly to being overly “hyped” Give me a good air check that shows you can execute the format, entertain in a concise manner, always giving listeners a reason to tune back in. Don’t quote audience figures or social followings – I check, and will “check” you if they’re exaggerated.  A major market air staff is like a championship pro team. Unless he or she are exceptionally skilled, it’s unlikely “walk-on” talent can make the leap.

Finally another major market programmer makes reference to the inability to find qualified announcers…

Yes the pool for established and polished talent is dry because nobody is developing talent anymore. Even overnights are tracked and opportunities are non-existent. What I do is keep live jocks on all the time except.  For Harvey in the morning. Also I give young talent a chance by putting them on weekends and overnights etc.  I allow folks to send me air checks directly to listen to and critique. New talents IS extremely hard to find today especially.  Good male announcers are hard to find nowadays.

We are still working on the contest for new talent. RFFocus has been a source for current air talent for years, it’s time to open that up to include new talent. We have to postpone the announcement as an opportunity has come up. We will disclose the details soon . If  you are interested  in working in radio, you can leave your name and other info on this  form and we will update you. If you need more info about the contest now contact me [email protected]

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