Entercom Chief Programming Officer Pat Paxton is on the cover of Radio Ink that comes out this week. Sporting an extremely impressive programming resume, Paxton oversees the Entercom team responsible for all content distributed on every Entercom radio station, as well as all digital and social media listener engagement strategies. Here’s an excerpt from our interview which is only available to subscribers to Radio Ink Magazine
Radio Ink: What makes a great air talent?
Paxton: It’s connection, developing a relationship, letting people get to know you, making sure you have touchpoints around their lives whether you’re on the air or not. This is a big difference from when I grew up and you could connect for three to five hours. Now you can connect 24 hours a day with social media.
The announcers now that are successful are the ones who connect and build those bonds with the fans, who talk about what they posted on Facebook or Instagram as much as they ask if you heard what they said on the radio. The ability to create a relationship and be part of someone’s life makes the best personality shine.
Radio Ink: What would be the equivalent these days of people getting into radio where they could work at the craft, like you did back working overnights?
Paxton: The opportunities are far less. I tell young people just get your foot in the door, and don’t worry if you’re doing an airshift or handing out T-shirts. Tell the PD or the GM you’re willing to do anything and everything. When I was in Sioux City, it was not unusual for me to be cleaning toilets or shoveling snow. Be willing to do anything, and wait for that opportunity you want to open up.
When you see an opportunity, just go do it. It’s easier to hire somebody for the job if they are already doing it. Show that aggressiveness and passion. People will notice. The one thing that has not changed over all these years is that we look for passionate people who love what they do, who work hard to get better and are great teammates.
Radio Ink: Is voicetracking good for radio?
Paxton: Done properly, it’s fine. We do not have any stations that are voicetracked 24/7. Our mantra is live and local radio. We believe in that a billion percent. That said, if we’re in a situation where we have someone good on the air who wants more responsibility, and to make a little money, and we have a situation where ratings are suffering, then maybe we pay them to voicetrack in a market or two. We pay our best people a little more and get better on the air.
My charge, given to me by David Field, is not to do anything that puts the brand at risk. Whatever we do needs to improve the brand. If we are considering voicetracking and I do not think it will make it better for the consumer, then we’re not going to do it. If I do, then we will.
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