Master chefs don’t follow another chef’s recipe. True artists don’t recreate someone else’s painting in a paint by numbers kit. Great bands don’t turn out #1 songs by covering previous #1 hits (usually). Greatness happens by creating your own formula.
That’s why you can listen to a #1 show in another market and quickly identify all the things they do “wrong”, and never understand why they are successful. Part of the reason is that we radio folks tend to be cynical. We listen for mistakes and weaknesses.
But another part of it does make sense. Many times, wildly successful air personalities don’t sound “good” to our ears. Their success isn’t logical. It doesn’t make sense. They break the “rules” and get away with it. They don’t execute the way we perceive a great show should.
This is a problem for some programmers, and for many talent coaches, too. It’s much easier to coach shows to fit into a template, all executing to the same standards and implementing one person’s vision. And that can improve most shows, to a degree. But it doesn’t make them great.
Greatness happens when air personalities find their own formula that only works for them.
I work with a show that is on the path to being truly great. It’s a difference-making morning show with great personalities that complement each other perfectly. And they violate two of the most fundamental guidelines that typify most winning morning shows: