Spotting Great Talent, by Paul Kaye

Paul Kaye


PSR Contributor

September 4, 2018


Spotting Great Talent

Great talent makes the difference. It’s undeniable. Great talent gives your brand a point of difference. They get you noticed and talked about. They create desire and excitement. Through their content they motivate audiences to find them — and then keep coming back. Great talent is still — and always will be — your secret weapon.

I won’t argue that the music — on a music station — has to be right for you to have a chance of competing, but we all know it can be copied. Instantly. You will never be able to truly win without the best talent in between the music. Look at your own budget and the proof is right there in black and white; the music director isn’t paid anywhere near what you’re paying the morning show, right? I’m not making this comparison to undervalue the very strategic and artistic skills of music directors, but our budgets alone prove the point; you simply can’t win without having great talent!

I acknowledge you could still be number one without having great talent, but I’d suggest in those instances you’re competing with other mediocre radio stations. Winning in today’s world can be defined as creating unique content that an audience is so highly addicted to that they must keep coming back. It doesn’t matter to the consumer whether that content is on their radio dial, on the internet, TV or mobile app. Today you’re competing against every other content creator and distribution platform there is. For radio to continue to have relevance in the future we need great talent who create addictive content for our brands.

How do you spot talent that has the potential to be great? It’s a question I get asked a lot; and the answers are plentiful; however these characteristics top the list…

They have belief. They have an ego. An ego that compels them to believe unquestionably in themselves. They never doubt their ability to succeed. They have self confidence in abundance. They don’t go looking for an audience, they believe what they have to say is so compelling that an audience will find them.

They are on a mission. They are driven to create content for a purpose. A purpose beyond “wanting to make people laugh.” They have something meaningful to share with the world. They don’t do this for the fame, they do it because they believe what they have to say will make a difference to people.

They are self-aware and share themselves. They intimately understand themselves and how they view and respond to the world around them. They know their passions, their prejudices, their flaws, strengths and vulnerabilities. They embrace there uniqueness and use it to define themselves. Every piece of content they create says something about them.

They are fearless. They have something to say so they say it. Being secure with themselves — their good and their bad traits — means that the judgement of others doesn’t scare them from taking a stance. They share their thoughts with unrivalled honesty. They are candid. They understand that authenticity leads to credibility. They don’t want everyone to like them, they know that never leads to success.

They create content they care about first. They only create content they are truly passionate about sharing. They aren’t interested in faking their views on a subject just because their audience might care. They want to create something that has meaning to them. They have to feel the content. They know to make something compelling they must first connect to it. They are their own source of inspiration.

They are predictably unpredictable. Great talent is both comfortable and surprising to their audience. You have absolute clarity on what you are going to get from the talent — you know them and their perspective — you just don’t know where their next installment will take you. It is this unique mix of familiarity and spontaneity that makes them compelling; “I have to know what they will do/say next.”

Do you notice that these traits aren’t exclusive to radio talent? Great talent isn’t exclusive to traditional broadcast media. The internet is full of blogs that people regularly visit because the author displays these traits. There are YouTube videos being shared because their creators demonstrate these characteristics.

Great talent use these unique characteristics to build tribes of like-minded individuals. It doesn’t matter what platform they choose to distribute their content on. The radio industry has many great talents, but we need to be more willing to find, develop and reward those who demonstrate they have what it takes to stand out. We need to embrace the difference that great talent can bring to our brands. Now, with the rise of technology, it is easier than ever for great talent to share their content so, we – the radio industry – are desperately in need of more courageous leaders willing to take some risks on talent. Next time you spot someone who shows these characteristics, bring them onto your team, nurture them, grow them and reward them. It will be a win-win situation for you both!


Paul Kaye is Vice President, Product and Talent Development for Rogers in Canada.  Paul spends his days working with stations and talent across all formats with a sole focus on helping improve performance and growing the business.  Prior to being at Rogers Paul held the role of National Talent Development Director for Newcap Radio and also a Group Programming role in England.  Paul is a certified coach and is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations reach their greatest potential, which is the fuel behind his other project The Talent Lab. Paul lives in Toronto with his wife, 2 dogs and a cat – life is never quiet!  

You can reach Paul at **@th**********.co  




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