Personality radio is about entertainment, not content

Kyle & Jackie O have grown into two of Australia's great radio personalities

One of the pure joys of working with so many radio personalities is when they transform from DJs to true entertainers. It happens over time, but then it kind of sneaks up on you. And then, there they are. Personalities that produce entertainment, not content.

It sounds like semantics, but there’s a remarkable difference when the light comes on and the personality arrives.

Entertainment Not Content

This is a difficult concept for many, if not most, broadcasters. Managers and programmers often don’t understand why one show sounds mechanical or robotic while another sounds loose.

You can hear it in DJ shows that sound like they’re doing little more than executing features. But hear the same features on a personality show and it’s clear that the features are working into the flow of their personality. It’s seamless.

It’s the difference between air talent working a shift and performing a show.

They have the same tools. Essentially the same studios. The same microphones. The same show prep services. What’s Different?

It’s the difference between reading and telling stories. Or reporting information and having conversations. It’s the difference between simply having relevant content and being relatable.

Here’s How It Sounds

Here’s an example of the ordinary turning into magic.

Z90/San Diego’s Morton in the Morning show has a daily Trending feature. The show talks about interesting stories in the news. Many shows do it, so it’s not unique content. The difference is when the show hijacks the topic.

Listen to how this segment evolves into a hilarious conversation with Rick Morton, D-Rock, Edina and Producer Tony.

This is one of those moments when you know the show has transformed from likable, well-executing DJs to being personalities performing a show. They’re having a great time together. You can’t help but have fun with them.


Some air talent reading this will think they could do it, if they had the opportunity. Others think they are held back because they are a solo show without partners. Still others think they have this sound already, when they really don’t.

At the end of the day, the transition from DJ to personality is a process that happens over time. It can be accelerated, but not rushed.

Are you interested in finding the personal recipe that unlocks your potential? I will show you exactly how to do it in my online video course, Audience Magnet. It’s an in-depth lifetime career resource for DJs who want to become great personalities on the air. Interested? Watch this free introduction seminar on demand here.

Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.

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Truth Bomber
27 Mar 2019 - 2:56 pm

After I clicked on the USA talk break, and the topic was posed in an over enunciated disc jockey voice – I switched off. Actually I lie, it was after the ‘fatty mc fat fat’ reaction “screetch” from the obligatory ‘3rd wheel’ which smelled of ‘you can’t say that on radio’ fake-ness. Kyle and Jackie play between the boundaries, what I just heard was formulaic and awful. if you want to help create more of that, i hope you jag a few sales.

Anthony Robin McManus
27 Mar 2019 - 4:22 pm

Never understood the merit of on-air team members laughing annoyingly at each others observations/jokes.
The very best performers in Australia, going back decades, had the wonderful ability to deliver a great line and/or observation that had the listener smile and thrust ones tongue into ones cheek.
The propensity to laugh/squeal between on-air team members is more often annoying and self indulgent.

27 Mar 2019 - 4:55 pm

I listened to “how the segment evolved into a hilarious conversation”.
It didnt. There was most definitely a cheesy token laugh track in the background, but sadly no hilarious conversation.

Dear America,
Please make radio great again. We’ll shoot you some ideas.

27 Mar 2019 - 6:56 pm

I gained literally nothing from reading this article. Australia is a leader in executing incredible content, the day we start copying the US – a market where radio IS actually dying – is the day we die too.

Hope metro PD’s take this write up with a grain of salt.

28 Mar 2019 - 10:17 am

Agree with the comments, not sure this is a good example of what the article is trying to outline. I find American radio very clunky and cheesy…

Australian radio executes content (entertainment) much better! Some wonderful examples of entertainment would be Kyle and Jackie O, Hamish & Andy, Kate Tim and Marty etc… I think we do it far better.

Michael Tunn
18 Apr 2019 - 11:06 am

Just dio network feed no local creative execpt image

Kel Varnsen
24 May 2019 - 4:35 pm

i just wanna know how many times should one play Come On Eileen ? once a week, every day or NEVER !!!


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