Why radio personalities should be the face of your brand

Image: Gold FM's Christian O'Connell

I’ve been saying it for a while now, and it’s time to say it again. Air personalities are the future of radio. And it’s high time to make them the face of your brand.

In the past, radio was able to compete for four main positions in the lives of an audience:

  1. Music
  2. Information
  3. Promotion
  4. Personality

That’s all changed, and I think you know it. Radio is fast losing the position of being the “go to” media for music.

Information is transmitted in seconds via mobile devices. By the time you hear it on the radio, you probably already got a notification on your phone or from Twitter.

And promotion is more challenging than ever in a world. How can you out-promote a $1 billion lottery prize?

All of those things still have a place on commercial radio. I’m just making the case that we can no longer win the position for those things.

But there’s one advantage that remains and will sustain into the future: Personality. And that’s where brands should be investing their future.

Radio Personalities As Face Of The Brand

Establishing your talent as the face of the brand is risky, and probably scares you a little.

First, they must be truly strong personalities that command an audience’s attention. Promoting average talent or DJs that don’t move the needle won’t get you anywhere.

By the way, if you are lacking that high profile talent, we should talk. You probably need a talent coach.

So let’s assume you have a great personality or show, but you’re still reluctant to invest the future of your company on air talent. After all, what if they leave at the end of their contract?

What would happen if you create a superstar talent only to have them take the audience across the street? And doesn’t it put you at a disadvantage when negotiating that next contract?

Those are considerations, for sure. But don’t let that fear hold you back. It doesn’t stop the Patriots from promoting Tom Brady, the Phillies promoting Bryce Harper, the Lakers promoting LeBron or a movie studio promoting Tom Hanks. They’re stars, and they attract audiences.

Building your brand on talent is much greater opportunity than risk.

5 Ways To Promote Personalities

Here are 4 ways to build a radio station by making personalities the face of the brand.

  1. Start by making personalities the spokesperson(s) for your brand. Use them to position other elements, including programming features, positioning elements and contests.
  2. Promos should be built around unique, non-duplicated content and the stars that create it. Radio stations can’t be the place for Justin Bieber, but can be the place for your morning show.
  3. Develop more high profile features performed by interesting personalities. That’s the fastest way to become familiar and move through the Personality Success Path.
  4. Build a social media presence around the talent, rather than forcing them to fit into the station’s social pages. Wouldn’t you be more likely to follow Game of Thrones on social media than HBO? Listeners are much more apt to be fans of air talent than a “faceless” brand.
  5. Make radio talent more important on your website. It’s amazing how so many stations have more information about artists and songs they have no stake in than in stars they do.


The job of radio personality isn’t nearly as prestigious as it once was, or should be. It has the dubious honor of being the 7th Worst Job In America. And that needs to change.

The bottom line is that we need stars on the radio. Broadcasters should not be afraid of them.

We need to find them, nurture them, embrace them and promote them. It’s the one resource that can drive our future.

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

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Kel Varnsen
10 May 2019 - 11:26 am

ahhh yes the old radio personality, a very rare find indeed, usually found on a breakfast show, and that’s about it

11 May 2019 - 12:10 am

Regional radio is the backbone of the industry. It’s been paying the bills for its larger owned stations for many years now. It is however, not nurtured as it should be. The wages available for talent are exceptionally low and the brekky teams are overlooked across the board, including on local billboards which are instead reserved for the national drive shows in the networks.
These national’s are people that will never been seen in your regional areas and are not accessible like your local radio stars. For people regionally, a national radio celebrity is as much of a star as a good regional announcer.
In this country we take national feeds for 21 hours a day, not giving younger talent a chance to move up the ranks through a day shift.
The day shifts could be sold and sponsored locally, with some good planning. So it seems like laziness is to blame over economics.
Tracey is correct about making people stars, however we must nurture and pay stars reasonably to be able to sustain the industry.


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