One of the basic pillars of performance is relating to an audience on their terms. It’s a sort of audio handshake that adds warmth and depth to every break. I call it izeing personality.
There are four izes that every personality can use. They are: Personal-ize, Local-ize, Energ-ize and Commercial-ize. The izes are building blocks of personality, and are particularly important for talent that is in Stage 1 (introduction) and Stage 2 (familiarity) in the Personality Success Path.
Personalities that are connected to the listener’s world become friends. But you can’t become friends without personality. Otherwise, you’re just a voice on the radio.
Ize-ing content is simple, but it takes a commitment to do it well and deliver it consistently. And, alarmingly, the skills seem to be a declining art. Air talent sounds increasingly robotic, detached and as a whole is losing warmth.
Why Is It Such a Big Deal?
Perhaps it’s a by-product of our obsession with a PPM-centric programming philosophy of eliminating all “useless” talk in the interest of keeping it tight. The actual words may not be needed, so they’re eliminated.
Or perhaps we’ve inadvertently raised a generation of air talent that doesn’t understand the basics of being authentic, natural, relatable talent.
Sean Ross described the condition as personalities who “talk a lot but have nothing to say.”
Maybe the problem is that personalities really are disconnected from the audience because they’re voice-tracking multiple stations in other cities they know nothing about.
And since they can deliver content quickly and easily, they do, without preparation or thought into how the break can be special.
The izes act as connecting tissue that bridges the gap between the basics and in-depth content.