In a perfect world, air talent would receive regular input, filled with constructive, positive comments. The PD would be supportive and upbeat. And upper management would act as a protective shield from complaints. In this make-believe world, talent could look forward to, and even celebrate air check meetings.
But in the real world, everyone dreads critique sessions. Talent already knows the breaks that sucked. And they also know that the PD has a natural ability to find every one. To them, it’s like taking a drink out of the jug labeled “Spoiled Milk”.
Jimmy Kimmel explains what reviewing his performance is like:
I look back at every show I’ve ever done and cringe. My vision of hell is a bunch of monitors with my old shows running on them.
Is that the way air talent looks at meetings with programmers? Sadly, yes, in most cases.
There are many excellent methods of evaluating and training talent, but one guideline should be at the center of each: and that is the air check meeting. It shouldn’t be a painful experience. Some personalities even come to love air checks.
Evaluating a show shouldn’t be an exercise just to stroke an air personality’s ego, nor an excuse to be critical. Both are a waste of time. The only goal should be in the endless quest for excellence. If this is a genuine goal of all parties, reviews can be collaborative, productive and pleasant.
So what makes some sessions fun and productive and others about as much fun as a tax audit? Let’s examine the differences.