Thoughts from Dennis Clark at Learning Waves Workshop May 2013.
Learning Waves Skillnet was delighted to welcome Dennis Clark, VP of Talent Development with Clear Channel in LA to Ireland last week. Clark started his radio career at KIIS FM Los Angeles in 1986 as a Staff Producer for “Rick Dees in the Morning” and “Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40.” In 1995, he joined The Research Group where he became a Strategic Research Consultant based in Europe. In 1999, he launched Dennis Clark Consulting, specializing in talent development and personality training within the U.S., as well as broadcast groups in Europe, Asia and Australia. Clark returned to KIIS FM Los Angeles in 2005 as Executive Producer for the “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” morning show, which in 2008 became a nationally syndicated daily radio show that airs in the U.S. and internationally.
Pitcured above are Dennis Clark with Enda Murphy from Classic Hits 4FM and Cathriona Hanley from Classic Hits 4FM
Dennis was in Dublin to talk to Learning Waves Skillnet members on 'Developing your On Air Personality and Morning Show Ideas'. Some of Clarks thoughts on the day were :
'You must completely believe in the slow growth of the station and that you must get the foundation right and in order to do this you must know your strengths but more importantly you must find your weakenesses'.
Clark believes that the 'most important room in the station is the studio' but he advises caution and stresses that you must work with the sales department and give them a 'great product to sell'.
In relation to the listener, Clark is passionate about giving the 'listener what they crave' and that he believes is a 'clean, clear and focused radio station'. To ensure this happens, you must always remember who is listening to you, zero base all your messaging to one listener, create a product that fits your audience and above all, 'find your humanity' and in doing so you let the listener find out who you are.
Clark then went on to talk about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Personalities. At the start of this session, Clark began by saying that 'Great radio is ......great on-air talent in every day part'. He believes that radio has survived all media attacks because of personalities, personalities keep people connected to radio. It is important that presenters reconnect with their audiences and know where they fit in their audiences lives. The 7 habits therefore include :
- Preparation - this is everything, you must come in to every show with more material than you will need, this will give you confidence, 'you' are the only product on offer while on air, bring your life experiences to your show, your success or failure rides on the uniqueness of your personality, therefore 'get YOU in front of your audience.
- Goals are for winners and every show must have a goal, ensure your show has goals.
- Customer service builds loyalty, 'treat everyone like a star', ensure you have and build customer relationships with management, believe you are part of a team, stay 'sane' in difficult situations and say 'thank you' more than you need too.
- Have systems in place because systems work, log everything, keep track of your content, pace yourself with consitency, stay on top of current events, gather personal experiences and use your OWN words all the time
- Listen to......your show, your competitors show, coaching you trust, get advice from people you like and from people you don't like!
Clark then went on to talk about the role of the producer and the presenter. According to Clark, the producer must have a bigger vision for the show than the host and that there should be a partnership approach to the show and that there should be great trust between the presenter and the producer.
According to Clark, self producing is a wonderful art but be cautious not to rush stories if they are not ready'.
The key to successful morning shows according to Clark are :
- Be in touch with your listeners all the time
- Create the target and don't move it
- The station is the brand
- It's all about the listener, not the personality
- Be top of your listeners mind all the time
- Make your listeners proud to vote for your station
- Understand 'fun' versus 'funny
- Don't lie - listeners will always know
- Let listeners know what you do and who you are
- Always look at your own show in terms of launch, growth, maturity, evolution or decline'.
Pictured above are Liam Thompson, Today FM wth Dennis Clark and Bob Conway from Today FM with Dennis Clark.
Shane Smyth from Ocean FM with Dennis Clark at Learning Waves Skillnet event in May 2013.