“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
Perhaps the one person in radio who projects the image of a station’s philosophy is the announcer and this is why media managers are utterly obsessed with them. Each minor blink, each little twitch, is analysed and reanalysed to the point of an obsessive compulsion, however the announcer is much more and at times much less, than what we believe.Perhaps we cannot begin to see the shallows and depths of these people because they are constantly protected by their environment, particularly the protection of their media managers
After 29 years and 17 announcers I cannot really see an archetype for announcers but I can see particular traits that emerge,after time, when dealing with them.
The introvert announcer – believe it or not there is no such thing as an introvert announcer, even though some claim that they are introverted in social situations. the logic of announcing is such that you have to be able to communicate to an “audience” even if you are the only person in the studio, and that requires reasonable communication skills. Yes, there are many who will hide in their offices, away from the hoi-polloi, but it is part of their extrovert nature that it is all part of the myth making of their persona.The introvert announcer usually uses the persona to hide what is a strongly evolved extroversion that generally emerges in the “stroking” by the audience.
The extrovert – this is the general announcing skill, the ability to present oneself as a showman/woman and fill out the space that the content does not provide to make a connection with the listening community. It is not, however, a specialist skill as we ALL have this skill inside of us, but few are us are cajoled, preened, fussed over, to extricate these broad range of skills from our reluctant personality. For reluctant most announcers are not. I honestly believe that the skills required to present on a regular basis come from the environment of the radio station, from the skill of the media manager and the constant threat of not-being an announcer, which motivates the few to keep on in this area, as if the world will disappear if they are not seen at the forefront of the media.
The scammer – Of course there are many radio announcers who have spent almost a lifetime pretending to be something they are not. these are the announcers who are basically there for the ego drive – for that almost constant stroking combined with the masochistic response to the stick and the carrot. Sadly, most of these tend to take up key positions in the network as they are almost always on edge to keep up. In my experience they can be the hardest people to work with as they tend to be so “outer directed” that any kind of advice is shunned from above and below – their poor producers are harried by the forces of ego to such an extent that a wall is built around them. Many of these announcers are here to run the “politics” – to extract as much as they can out of the system, whether in cash or kudos, that the world seems to constantly “owe” them….
I honestly believe that there is quite a depth to being an announcer because what the listener does not see is the level of stress it induces and particularly the level of confidence boosting and deflating that can occur when something goes wrong.Sadly, at this point this is generally where the “blame game” starts and the confident and secure announcer becomes insecure and aggressive and outwardly scapegoating all or anyone that surrounds them.