Stay on Target

Posted on October 7, 2010


I am an unabashed sci-fi geek. I love spaceships, aliens and laser cannons so it should be no surprise that I have nearly memorized all the dialog from the original Star Wars trilogy.

One of my favorite under-appreciated performances is the leader of the rebel fighter attack during the climactic scene of Star Wars. As he and two other pilots descend into the now famous trench Darth Vader and his two fighter escorts drop in behind them to thwart the attack. As one of the other rebel pilots begins to panic, our hero says repeatedly “stay on target.” Nothing else, he just keeps repeating those three words.

Sometimes that sort of focus on the task at hand would be beneficial for radio talent. This came to mind as I was reading a less than flattering article about the Tribune Company that ran in the New York Times. The article ranges from unflattering to downright nasty in it’s description of the company’s upper-level management. Regardless of accuracy, the fact is an article like this or an ongoing saga like Emmis Broadcasting’s recent attempt to go private are a lot like Darth Vader’s fighters trying to thwart you. You need to stay on target.

It’s easy to get caught up in speculation about stations being sold, companies merging, management changes or any number of other things that cause you to loose focus. But, when all is said and done, you as an airtalent or station employee have very little control over any of that. In the long run it’s smart to be informed about what’s going on at the company you work for and to make smart decisions about your career path but that shouldn’t occupy much of your brain power on a daily basis. When it comes to doing your show or programming your station or selling spots or whatever role you play, be like that rebel pilot and “stay on target.”