Saturday, September 10, 2022



Volume #091022-1630                              September 10, 2022


Displaying job insecurity is suicide for a talk-show host

Whether it be terrestrial radio, podcast, webcast, or blog, the worst thing a talk show entertainer can do is to display insecurity ‘on-air’.  Good talkers have, as one of many tools at their disposal, self-confidence.  It’s that “here I am, bring it on” attitude that inspires listeners and viewers alike.  It’s that ‘broadcast air of security’ that instils listener and viewer confidence and loyalty.  It’s that ‘rarity of presence’ that keeps them in demand securing both job and, ultimately, ego.


“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” anonymous


Great talkers plan for eventual periodic absence in order to create a greater audience's yearning for their presence.  It is true in the words of so many great poets, playwrights, and authors that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Let’s take on these mistakes on one-at-a-time, beginning with that “here I am, bring it on” attitude of which I speak, that electrifying presence so necessary in fulfilling the entertainment portion of a show.  Any show or presentation must strike that 'magic' balance between entertainment and enlightenment.  A real 'killer' is a faux humility.

Talkers can be ‘too humble’ in their approach and, in the ‘talk show world’, that just doesn’t cut it.  It takes away from what has to be an electrifying presence.  It dampens that 'fire in the belly', so essential to any good or great talker.  That's what the audience wants.  When someone comes on as ‘Humble Joe’ it empowers the undesirables, disenfranchises the critical, and plays to the largely irrelevant ramblings of those in between.  At worst it’s seen as a hypocritical false humility, an act, and a lie.

A look at some of the greats such as the late Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Dan Bongino, Sean Hannity, and a host of other luminaries in the field of talk entertainment shows things in common among them.  They all show a genuineness of character that is undeniable.  All of these greats have something in common and that is ‘hubris’, a larger-than-life pride in themselves which exudes that ‘here I am’ presence so necessary for a successful talker.  All of the greats have it and the rest do not.


“You can’t ‘fake’ an ‘electrifying’ presence.” … Zig Ziglar


When any one of these greats, and others like them, makes a statement it’s a solid expression of belief or opinion in fact.  There’s no ‘wishy-washy’ attitude and their strength of mind gives strength to opinion which engenders audience respect and loyalty.  They would never say things such as, “Well, that’s your opinion.” or “We agree to disagree.  Either of these two ‘fall-back’ lines is nothing less than a ‘cop-out’, surrender, a capitulation to one’s own insecurity and unwillingness to take on an intelligent and well-thought-out stand on an issue.

The audience at large sees this as weakness at best and incompetence at worst.  This is yet another red flag showing the talker’s insecurity and overall weakness.

Let’s move on to the absolutely dangerousself-deprecation’ and ‘predictions-of-doom’ that insecure talkers so often exude.  I’ve actually heard them say, “When this gig [referring to his job] is over I can always fall back on [insert new career here]”.  With loose lips they sow the seeds of their own demise within the craft.  They are creating ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ and, unless they change their ways, their days of talk entertainment are truly numbered.


These are those destined to one day flip burgers or 'call colour' at high school football in Cody, Wyoming.


Another indication is when talkers refer to themselves in the third person.  I spoke with noted psychologist, Dr. Angelus Martinez-Stout, Ph.D. and she says this, “Constant referral to oneself in the third person is a sign of ‘attempted hubris’.  This is a situation where the speaker is trying to convince himself of his own greatness or at least competence.  The need for praise has become so desperate and overpowering that he begins openly heaping praise upon himself in lieu of others praising him.  It’s an unhealthy and clear signal to listeners and viewers of the speaker’s insecurity and lack of genuineness.

Another sign of insecurity is a host’s refusal to recruit guest hosts or ‘temporary replacements’ to sit in for them in times of absence.

There are those few, fortunately, hosts with a reputation for never bringing in a guest host.  I mean, 'never'!  Even in the face of an extended stay [which his owners will not tolerate forever] they'd just as soon air or re-broadcast re-runs of their shows for weeks, even months if they thought they could get away with it!  Whether on vacation for a week, in the hospital for a few days or just taking a few personal days off, they avoid bringing in a ‘pinch hitter’ at all costs.  They'd rather have a hand chopped off than bring in a 'guest host' to fill in for them.

The greats in the industry are constantly scanning the horizon for other ‘great’ talent to bring in as sit-ins and substitutes.  Their concern is truly for their audience and the show, rather than themselves.  When talkers are ‘out of town’ or otherwise indisposed their audiences can count on some really great entertainment and information during the talker's absence and enjoy the variety of another host at the same time.  Variety is the spice of life.


“Variety is the spice of life.” William Cowper


Again, referring to Dr. Stout, “This behaviour broadcasts self-doubt and insecurity.  When a host will not tolerate stand-in talent, preferring to run replays of himself, it speaks volumes.  What the host is saying is, “If I bring in somebody who’s really good at this, he might take my job.

The fear of being replaced and jealousy of being forced to ‘share the mic’ with another overpowers the need for competent hosting of his show.

It’s clear that this behaviour shows not only insecurity but jealousy which is the companion of insecurity.  These talkers care much more about themselves than their listening audience or their employers.  The talkers' primary concern is all about 'them'.  It's all about the paycheck.  It's not at all centred on the program itself or the listening audience.  While they may continually say that they're 'here for the people', that couldn't be further from the truth.


Screw the audience; it's all about the paycheck!


I see the good doctor’s point, but from a more elementary point of view:  It can only crash ratings to play re-runs of yourself on a local 'talk' show.  With a typically limited range of topics of discussion, anyone who listens regularly will almost immediately recognize a re-run and tune out.  They almost always tune to a competitive station and some listeners never come back.  The same is true for all manner of talk-oriented entertainment.  The whole premise of talk entertainment is providing ‘something new, relevant, and worthy of discussion.  When you lose these elements, you lose listeners.  When you lose listeners then it's time to find a new career.

Last of all is ‘overloading’, a practice that is in itself self-destructive.  This is where talkers go overboard trying to make themselves ‘indispensable’ to their employers.  Radio is especially fickle, and their HR offices typically host ‘revolving doors’, especially when it comes to talent.  Any HR professional working in the broadcast and entertainment industry will tell you that nobody is indispensable.


In talk entertainment nobody is indispensable


Insecure and self-destructive hosts will be constantly inventing new broadcast opportunities and shows.  They'll go out of their ways to make public appearances [any and all that can be found or even invented] and find any way possible for their presence to dominate the airwaves, bandwidth, and public appearances.  Their self-imagined mythos suggests that the more they are present and in the public eye, and the more time or bandwidth they occupy, the more indispensable they will be.  The shame here is that, regardless of how much of their employer’s time or bandwidth they occupy, and no matter how public they are as personalities, they are still dispensable.

The self-evident and self-answering question is this, “Why is gold worth more than wood?”  Obviously, the answer is gold because of its beauty and rarity.  Because it is so remarkably rare and beautiful it holds a higher value than wood.  Yes, wood can be made to be quite beautiful, but there are plenty of trees in the forest.  Get my drift?

I am a lover of talk-entertainment and I too play a part in that greater theatre.  While not presenting myself as a 'great' in the field, you will never see me fall into the potholes and pits described here. 

I pray this message hits those talk entertainers who have become muddled in the mire of their own talk entertainment mediocrity.  If they don't act imminently and positively the abyss of certain unemployment and financial distress will swallow them whole.  Let the quality of their shows determine the security of their jobs.  It's not the other way around.

I’m Max, and that’s the way I see it!

P.S. This article is not aimed at anyone in particular, but a certain class of self-destructive talk entertainers bent on their own destruction through mental and physical errors on end.

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