This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Consultant Tips” series, written by Charese Fruge on August 27, 2019

My overall takeaway from Talent Masters Morning Show Boot Camp this year was “Know Your Value.” There was a solid lineup of talent on the panels who achieve regular success not only with ratings, but also the day-to-day business decisions necessary to continue to profit and grow their brands. While most of them were seasoned pros, the growing number of younger or more inexperienced talent don’t have a clue what their “ROI” or “Return On Investment” is.

Nationally syndicated DeDe McGuire spoke confidently about “knowing her value” on a personal and professional level. Valentine and Kellie Rasberry, both members of nationally syndicated shows as well, spoke confidently about having to learn to “know their value.” Brother Wease, well there is no question he knows his value and has no problem sharing it with anyone.

Yes, these are major-market personalities with lots of tools and teams to work with now, but each of them has their own unique story about how they worked their way to the top, constantly staying focused on what they could bring to the table, and keeping themselves in check when things got tough. Ego in this business is somewhat of a necessity, but the days of operating strictly on ego are over. You must be able to keep your ego in check and back it up with talent, strong work ethic and the ability to adapt in a constantly evolving business.

I speak to a lot of young talent today and follow a lot of great social accounts about radio. The overall question or theme I see and hear is “How do I know what I am worth?” Most young talents are getting paid little to no money or can’t get the boss to hire them full-time due to budgetary restraints. And sadly, you almost always have to leave and go somewhere else to get a promotion. But before you go looking elsewhere, know the value of what you are worth in your current situation first. My guess is sometimes, the PD and Market Manager have no idea what you as talent actually bring to the table. Putting together your “Pitch Profile” will help you moving forward if it doesn’t help you in your current situation.

  • The first thing you need to do is define your role on the show. Who are you, what voice do you bring to the show and why is that beneficial? Second, what other skills do you bring to the table? Do you answer phones, are you posting on social media? Are you interacting with the audience? Do you contribute to the brand, or the show’s brand in any other way besides being on mic? Don’t worry if you aren’t on mic, by the way, sometimes the behind-the-scenes person is one of the most important people on the show.
  • Do you produce/edit video? Do you post podcasts? Do you book interviews? Do you create digital content? Do you handle the hosts responses or posts for social media? That’s a big one. A lot of times someone else is doing all the social media for the host.
  • What are the stations/shows social followers and engagements? Do you know those statistics .. and do you contribute? Do you have an active and significant following on your own socials? And more importantly, do you endorse any client or work with any client that brings revenue to the station? If not, are there opportunities for you to do so?
  • The final factor that’s significantly important is if the ratings trends have shown any growth since you’ve been on the show. Your PD should be able to help you gather that information. If you can show an increasing trend in rank and AQH, that means revenue for the station. You are basically putting together a pitch profile for yourself that you can put a price tag or “value” on.

You always want your team members on your side to support you when you are pitching for a promotion or raise. So, if you don’t have that, work on it, or read the signs (and start looking). Put the statistics together in an organized form and put a value on each to help determine what you are worth. (You may have to do a little homework). It’s good to know what your “ROI” is. Then you can balance out what they pay you vs. what you bring to the table in terms of work and revenue potential.

These are things you should know or at least have an idea about before you pitch for full-time, a raise, or a new job. Even if you go to an agent for help, you need to know these values and assets before you start to negotiate. If your agent doesn’t ask you for these kinds of updates on a regular basis, you’ve got the wrong agent. Make sure you work with someone who has recently been in the game and knows how the business has progressed in the last few years. You need more than someone who just comes around during contract time to take a percentage of your salary.

The same is true when choosing a consultant. If you are going to invest in one, you want someone with fresh ideas who understands how radio has progressed and how the competitive landscape is different. You also want someone who isn’t working with every other show in the business so they can focus on you specifically and how to make your brand unique and different from everything else out there. That and knowing what you are worth are the two most important factors that will lead to long-term success for you in any aspect of this business.