I've been working in radio news/talk for a long time, and I thought I had a pretty good sense of what it takes to get a show on the air and make it sound semi-decent.
But I can tell you now after working three days as a show host that I have a whole new appreciation for producers. Show producers are the people who work behind the scenes, busting their tails to make the talent sound intelligent and the rest of the program to sound slick and polished.
The show I'm hosting this week on Sirius/XM, "The Morning Briefing" on the POTUS channel, could not possibly get on the air without its excellent producer, Joanna Welch. Even as I'm working on pounding out my news copy and inserting audio into the script, reviewing guests and preparing interview questions, Joanna is working behind me to make sure the show stays afloat.
She'll see what I'm doing and suggest a piece of audio to make it better, or replace one of my ideas with a better idea. Or find nat sound for a story that I'm doing to make that story sound alive. She's also a safety net. When I don't know the exact format that's needed, or when I say something wrong, she is able to step right in and gently make a course correction. And she is constantly pushing me to make the show better - even when I'm trying to focus enough merely to keep the show on the air without bringing everything to a crashing halt!
If you listen to any talk radio programs on a regular basis, you will frequently hear show hosts referring to their producers - and occasionally, the producers' voices will even get on the air. Don't be folled into thinking those people are merely there to be stooges or sidekicks. They are every bit as important as your favorite talk hosts - the show would NOT go on without them.
I have worked with many good producers at WMAL over the years. Andrea Perry put up with Chris Core for many years - more than he deserved! Dan Loukota produced WMAL's morning show for nearly a decade, and kept it sounding young - a big challenge on WMAL. And the current morning show producer, Ann Wog, deserves every penny she gets and much more by trying to corral Grandy and Andy.
I had always been aware of their knowledge, wisdom and patience. But until I put on the "talent" hat myself, I never realized how integral producers are to making the shows go! Imagine how nice it would be to have someone like a producer in your personal life, helping you choose what to buy at the grocery store... setting up your job interviews for you... calling the plumber and whatnot. And think about how much more interesting your life would be if you had someone to put a soundtrack behind you!