(By Jeff McHugh) The practice of turning life experiences, inner thoughts, emotions, and opinions into content is key to a successful radio or podcast personality.
When you share your life, your audience connects with you emotionally. Listeners are drawn to your authenticity, your vulnerability, and the openness of a best-friend-style relationship.
However, telling tales about divorce, children, in-laws, dates, neighbors, or co-workers on-air can cause problems with those relationships. A well-known example is a scene from the film Private Parts where Howard Stern and his wife argue after he discusses his wife’s miscarriage on the air.
When using your personal life as content, combine these guidelines — with your own common sense — to keep your work and real life (mostly) harmonious.
Choose the middle path. Share everything you can just outside the comfort zone, but stop short of damaging relationships for ratings.
Have “the talk” early. Disclose your job to new people entering your life and warn them that being involved with you carries certain risks. Tell them you might mention them on your show.
Exaggeration on-air, honesty off-air. People in your life will appreciate knowing that you might blow things out of proportion on your show to entertain the audience.
Set and honor boundaries. Be as open as you dare, but allow certain areas to be off-limits. For example, in one of our workshops, a morning show host disclosed his son’s learning disability to his partners and requested privacy, which they honored.
Jeff McHugh is known for developing remarkable talent for both morning and afternoon drive. He brings an uncommon mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company.