5 Questions with Angela Perelli
Founder, Angela Perelli Coaching
Program Consultant/Talent Coach
Angela Perelli has been at the helm of two of the most influential stations in our industry, the iconic K-101 in San Francisco (now Star 101), and Star 98.7 in Los Angeles (now Alt 98.7), considered to be the first Modern AC station in the country back in the mid-90s.
During Angela’s tenure, both of these stations achieved major ratings success and plenty of industry accolades. Today she is a highly skilled morning show and programming consultant for stations in several formats in the U.S & Canada. Angela now shares with us what it takes to remain competitive and relevant in the most listened daypart on the radio… morning drive!
GM: Throughout your career you have always worked with high-profile on-air talent, such as the legendary Don Bleu at K-101 in San Francisco, and Ryan Seacrest during his early days as a part-timer, and then as afternoon drive host at Star 98.7 in Los Angeles. Any tips you can share on how to manage these personalities, in order to get them to perform at peak level at all times and keep their egos in check?
AP: In meetings, set the tone always that you are on the same team and have common goals. You may go about things differently but the end result is the same for everyone. This helps pull people together. Also help them connect to their greatest areas of expertise and give them opportunities to shine. For Don Bleu, his strength was his Bleuper calls. For Ryan, he is so natural at interviewing celebrities. People enjoy jobs where they get to do what they’re really good at.
And when you have to have a tough conversation? Always ask first about what their intentions were. What were they going for? And then you can ask about how happy they were with how it ended up. Often the personalities know when something didn’t work before you tell them. We as Program Directors often think talent is deliberately trying to mess with us and “our product” when really, they’re rarely thinking that way.
GM: You’re now a consultant who specializes in working with different morning shows across the U.S. & Canada. What are some differences and similarities that you see in morning drive in both countries?
AP: American broadcasters aren’t as familiar with Canadian talent, but great communicators, compelling storytellers, and funny, memorable personalities are everywhere.
One thing… Canadians take more vacation. It’s something I’m working with my U.S. stations on. You need time to rest, rejuvenate and just have some fun, and we as Americans don’t give ourselves permission to unplug nearly enough.
GM: A lot of morning shows and stations that target a female audience are managed by men, whether it’s the PD, a producer, or the GM. As a woman, a mother, and also as a programmer, do you feel you can offer a different perspective, and does that give you an advantage when working with these morning shows?
AP: I have heard over the years that it has helped to have the female perspective. I think more important than being female is just not being immersed in one station 24/7. Having a “normal” life that is not 100% radio has given me a better perspective on how people consume radio. Really what we do doesn’t matter to most people most of the time. It’s just not that important. We have to raise the bar to cut through. “Family four-packs?” Who cares?
GM: These days social media is a key component of any radio station. What role does it play for morning shows in the AC/Hot AC universe, and can you think of any examples where it’s being properly implemented - or where it’s proven to be less useful?
AP: Social media is completely changing the morning show’s ability to connect. When we “favorite” or retweet a listener tweet about us or “like” their Facebook comment on our page, it makes their day. When we don’t, we miss a huge opportunity to develop the relationship.
For content, you can float topic ideas to get a read on your audience, and whether it’s something they care about. Shows that aren’t allowed to talk much can take the conversation offline to social media or a podcast.
The opportunities are endless.
In fact, at last year’s Morning Show Boot Camp, many of us were noticing new job titles in the room. Beyond hosts and producers, now forward-thinking shows with budgets have videographers and/or social media directors. It’s super-cool!
GM: In the PPM world, what are some of the do’s & don’ts that can apply to any morning show, regardless of market size, format or target?
AP: In general, you want to create the sense that if you’re not listening, you’re missing something. The show has to sound like they get along, are having fun, and are connected to the listeners and the community. No amount of teasing will help if the show isn’t fun and engaging, but having one or two great content segments you’re known for definitely helps. Create content listeners can’t get anywhere else! And definitely in PPM we’ve learned that we rarely do our best content enough. Repurposing content used to be taboo; now we know it’s silly not to!
GM: Your husband, Chris Ebbott, is also a very successful programmer (Chris Ebbott programs LA’s top Classic Hits station, K-Earth 101). How often do you guys bounce ideas off each other, and as programmers is there ever any healthy competition or difference of opinion between the two of you?
AP: Ha. We talk about our work all the time, just for fun (radio nerds). There has been competition between us when we programmed against each other. I wouldn’t call that healthy. We make sure we’re on the same team now and we complement each other’s areas of expertise. We have been together for so long now, almost 20 years, that our opinions have merged. We just agree that I’m always right. :-)
GM: You’ve been a full-time consultant now for over 10 years. How different is it for you from the day-to-day programming of a radio station, and as cliché as it may sound, do you miss not running a station on a daily basis?
AP: If I miss anything it’s the camaraderie of a passionate family of creative people. Most of my friends still today are from those jobs. But I think radio has changed a lot and the era of Christmas parties and staff trips and all the fun stuff we did…well it doesn’t sound like that happens as much in most places.
I like that I get to focus on the work I love to do, which is to develop talent’s confidence and connection to their unique voice, to help them come up with ideas, to find their areas of expertise. I love all that so much more than a lot of the ancillary meetings PDs have.
I also love the broad perspective of working across continents, across formats, across companies. I learn something new every day, and that’s just awesome.