Why young DJ’s are prisoners of small market radio stations



By Steve Kowch

February 21st, 2015


From where I sit On The Kowch, too many young radio announcers are stuck in small radio markets because no one is coaching them, helping them to become better broadcasters. Over worked program directors (many hosting their own three to four hour shows) only have time to aircheck the morning and afternoon drive show hosts. Any announcer hosting a show outside of the 6a-10a and 4p-7p Monday to Friday time slots are pretty much left on their own. You only need to listen to their show demos to understand how lack of coaching through airchecks makes them prisoners in small market radio stations. Lack of feedback rob young broadcasters of chasing their dream to be hired by radio stations in a larger market. But it doesn’t have to be this way.


Paul Kaye, National Talent Development Director, Newcap Radio

Paul Kaye, National Talent Development Director, Newcap Radio

Meet Paul Kaye. He understand the importance of radio airchecks. He has written a series of articles for the influential online AllAccess.com, the web’s largest radio and music industry community  to offer some insight into effective airchecks.

“The aim of Airchecks Exposed is to shine a light on what talent really want from their coaches and how we can build an action plan to make the time spent with talent more meaningful,” says Kaye, the National Talent Development Director at Newcap Radio that owns 95 radio stations across Canada.

“Sadly, we hear from talent that managers don’t devote enough time to talent. Airchecks are the first thing that get moved or cancelled in the ever demanding schedule of a PD. Worse, when PD’s do spend time with talent, it’s often not as effective as it should or could be. Working with talent can be daunting and overwhelming for programmers, and it can be intimidating and deflating for talent. It’s not uncommon for talent to fear airchecking and for programmers to just avoid it,” says Kaye.

Read More HERE


  1. P.D.’s are overworked these days? Excuse me. From what I hear they have no work to do. What’s the point of an air check if all the on-air “talent” can do is read the same boring liner cards everyday? I’ve heard and seen PD’s of today say “talent” (and I use the term loosely, lol) can be entertaining with liner cards. Frankly, I’ve never heard a single one. Have you? Please share with me so I’ll understand. I’m a beginner and I need some tips. LMAO!!!

  2. Blame the radio of today for what the listeners expect from the radio today.Listeners have been put to sleep for years by mainstream music sattions who think there are only 500 songs in their universe and can’t wait for the next “card read”>

  3. Russ Horton They would rather pay someone 10 bucks an hour to read cards god for bid if I brought out my animal entourage or my drop ins.I think they’d shit!! Makes me sick!!!

    Jason Remington Radio programmers have pushed the public away – to other forms of music listening. There is no reason to listen to radio these days – NO TALENT, sorry – Same 40 tunes over and over, non-stop commercials—NO FUN.

    Randy L Roadz Jack Allen… PDs not overworked. Come shadow me at Z-Country 94.7 here in Wenatchee some day. Any day. Let me know when you’re coming. I’ll show you what it’s about now days.

    Randy L Roadz And Jason, the same offer goes out to you. I’ll show you rotations and NOT the same tunes over and over. AND the studio line ringing with listener call ins.

    Russ Horton They are true pal like it or not!!!!!

    Jason Remington Yours would be a one-off situation, not the norm. Consider your situation to be rare and yourself fortunate. You are in a small market that works–not in the shadow of Spokane or Seattle. Chillax.

    Russ Horton Or Toronto or Montreal

    Randy L Roadz Yes, Wenatchee MSA is only about 118,000 or so. Relatively small market. I connect with listeners every… EVERY day. And yes, a big part of it is not having the outside signals. Oh, I’m chillaxed… just saying I’m not a fan of the blanket statement from Jack.

    Jason Remington You have to have the perfect storm – NO LINER CARDS, but freedom to do Personality radio and relate to your audience – LIVE & LOCAL, not automated or satellite from Dallas, be RELATABLE, not just reading the latest gossip from TMZ or Gawker. — The problem is Large market and Small market – the average station chooses to be lazy and safe – and no one wants to listen to that.

    Rik Mikals As Randy will tell you — every radio situation is different so an article that lumps all radio stations in the country into one article isn’t factual. There are plenty of different companies and still lots of originality in the business. The business has changed in my 27 years…but still lots of opportunity if you are willing to work for it.

  4. I see a lot of comments about the “liner readers” in the industry. Totally agree!! If a station ever wanted anything other than creative, weird, entertaining produced & live skits/bits from me they wouldn’t even get my resume. Wolfman Jack. Orson Wells. These are the radio shows people should be aspiring too. Tell a story.. don’t just read the internet. Plus, it makes the Airchecks more fun when there’s some beef to your breaks!!

  5. Hey now….don’t be picking on the evening jocks here. I work the 6p to 12midnight and ROCK it on air. Don’t rely on liner cards to make it through my air shift. I rely on general conversations. One on ones…with listener interaction. Radio doesn’t have to be all about the “Dog and Pony” show. It can be simply about making a community connection. The listener saying to themselves ya I get what he just said. Yes radio has changed over the decades. But communications to the listeners hasn’t. If a jock wants to better themselves then it has to start with them first. Mix it up…don’t be the same “Larry” every shift.

  6. It’s true. Watched this unfold many times.
    Note to jocks looking to get out: If your in-house PD is unwilling or incapable of providing solid direction, find a mentor. Even if he or she is out of market… (probably better)


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