Radio Producer – How to handle RJs

Published Monday, July 21, 2008

Many Radio Producers have come to me over the years with tears flowing down cheeks fists clenched tightly ready to attack because their RJ was acting like an arse, being difficult, well, being themselves… OK, first a few words on the jocks… They are not normal ordinary people, you know that right, if the were they would not be good jocks. Its not just Radio Jockeys, most entertainers are hard to deal with, this is just the way things are and you should get used to it and not take it personally. Radio Jockeys always want to be center of attention – the ones to come up with the big liners… but its not true that it HAS to be from them, it could come from somewhere else… Gaining their trust is the secret of a strong working relationship – they are doing the driving and you are navigating… put yourself in their shoes – how many people do you know who you would listen to without question for directions when you are doing 200Kph? That’s what its like for them… Sometimes allowing the Jock the credit is the best way to handle things, loose the battle to win the war… A real producer is the one who does the hardest thing of all – gaining the trust and respect of the On Air Talent. A RADIO JOCKEY is not like a TV comic, they work live and mostly work best “on the go” reacting to live situations as they come along… But they do need planning, gags, prep and ideas… And they do need to be taken seriously…

When your Jock nick names you “I’ll-take-care-of-it <your name>…” you know you’re doing a great job… But until that happens you can try out some of this stuff:

  • Deflect most of the daily shit away from the air personalities and free them up to be more creative and focused on the show.
  • Brainstorm ideas, concepts and bits with the talent and other station personnel. There is an art to brainstorming…
  • Provide prep materials to the talent, sort of “Set the buffet table” with more than enough choices so the talent can select the best possible material they want.
  • Serve as a liaison to other departments of the radio station and try to keep the Jock away from it all.
  • Supervises the show’s phone line, sms, IVRS, email, social media and snail mail.
  • You should be masterful at the art of phone screening, this is one of the tasks you can take away from the jock to make their life easier… always look for interesting callers rather than just the right answer and try to never put on some one who has called in before…

Ask yourself – Why me? What have I done?

  • The producer’s goal is to work so hard to make the talent so successful and rich that their own well-being comes second to the guy getting all the credit! The word indispensable will be linked to your name, this is a good thing!
  • I honestly believe that if you work your ass off to make the Jocks of the show successful and everything you do is for their own benefit, then you’ll be rewarded later and everything you’ve done for them will pay off for you! Remember, being a producer is the fast track to getting to PD and further on…
  • It’s a GREAT FEELING to see your on air team achieve awards and recognition (and hopefully good ratings) and know that you played a part in that. Hopefully, your Radio Jockeys are the kind of people that will show appreciation to their producer both personally and professionally. On the whole, most Radio Jockeys acknowledge who helps them and those who don’t, well, they wont last that long…
  • It’s natural (as the producer) to feel left out, but you need to get over it! You need to know that YOUR ROLE is to do everything behind the scenes! You are the one-in-all jack of all trades master fix it I’ll get it done just get out of my way…