Tip of the Week - 2016 07 27: Air Check Yourself

We all want to improve in what we do. In fact, if we want job satisfaction, we need to keep improving. Of course, during the initial learning curve, there are many gains made. However, it is a tragedy to reach a standard of excellence…and stay there.

Loyal radio listeners will forgive small mistakes and shortcomings. However, on the whole, they do expect a certain level of professionalism and sharpness from their favourite announcers. Don’t we owe it to our listeners to be the best we can be – for their sake?

One of the best ways to develop and improve, is the air check. This means for an announcer to listen back to a recorded segment of their own programme, and self-critique. They make note of anything that needs work, and then they do something about it.

What are they listening for? Here are a few ideas:

  • overused words or phrases
  • interview technique issues
  • microphone placement problems
  • voice breaks going too long
  • lack of preparation
  • issues with equipment operation
  • unclear script reading

Don’t listen to an air check immediately after your programme. Give yourself time to ‘take off your announcer’s hat’ – perhaps a couple of hours. Then, listen with fresh ears – as a listener, not an announcer. What do you notice? What needs improvement? Don’t get too down on yourself – be pragmatic, and note two things to work on. And don’t forget to identify things you did well too. Every critique session must include a pat on the back – even if you do have to stretch around and do it yourself!

Of course, we can’t always be totally objective. It is important that we also have air check sessions with our Programme Director or Station Manager. They have the advantage of recording a segment of your programme without you knowing about it (so you can’t act your best for the recording). When they identify an issue, don’t argue. Accept it, and work with them to get it right. The result will be a better programme for the listener, and better job satisfaction for you.

Happy broadcasting.

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: Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

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