PARTNER IS LEAVING
QUESTION FOR DAN O’DAY:
My co-host is leaving our morning show. She has been part of the team for 15 months, I have been with the team for 11 months; the other member is our news guy who's been there for a few years. Since the three of us joined up, we've taken the show in huge leaps forward. The PD says it's the best show the station's ever had. Our format skews 18-39 female, and my co-host has been a big part of the success of the show.
How do I approach this on-air? Tributes? Best bit? Let it go? Make it a huge going away with listener calls (of which there would be many)?
Secondly: How do I introduce a new female co-host to replace her?
Well, a lot depends upon why she's leaving and when.
If she's going across town (from your question, that sounds very unlikely) I'd just do a mention at the very end of her last show:
YOU: Before we go, I have a pretty sad announcement to make: (SHE) is leaving WXXX.
HER: And of course everyone listening right now thinks you're joking, but you're not. After 11 wonderful months with you and (Weather Person) and (News Person), I'm leaving for a new career
YOU: And in fact, usually in radio when a disc jockey leaves, her old
radio station doesn't even let her say goodbye. But (SHE)
truly has been part of our WXXX family for almost a year, and
we know our listeners will miss her as much as we will.
HER: And they STILL think we're joking...But we're not. I don't want to break into tears here, so before we go I want to thank you, (JOCK), for being such a great partner every morning. And to every WXXX breakfast show listener: It's been an honor for me to be a small part of your life.
But from your message, I'm guessing she's leaving either your market or radio altogether. In which case, "tributes and best bits" sound like a fine idea...for her very last week.
>Secondly how do I introduce a new female co-host?
Well, there's no law requiring her replacement to be a female. You should be looking for a new partner with whom you have great on-mic chemistry and whose personality & experiences complement your own.
If you hire her replacement before her last day, how about having some cross-over? During her penultimate week, announce that she's leaving. During her final week, have her break in "the new girl" (sorry for the sexist wording) on-air. You combine her heartfelt farewell with a welcoming of her replacement.
You could steal a tactic used by hit TV shows when an actor leaves: Bring in that person's "relative." Maybe her replacement is her "cousin" from Adelaide. You would use this fiction only to introduce the new person. After a few weeks, you would drop all mentions to such a relationship.
NOTE: I'm a big proponent of "reality" radio. Part of me wants to argue against the suggestion above. But if the station and performers involved didn't object to such a fiction, I wouldn't object either. The object is to make the transition as smooth as possible for your listeners.
Your very best weapon for winning in mornings:
BUILDING A WINNING MORNING SHOW by Dan O'Day!