What if Charlie Sheen was YOUR “morning guy”? (Part 2)

Yesterday, some of radio’s top talent shared their first reaction to my question “What if Charlie Sheen was your morning guy?”  Mancow, Paige Nienaber, Dave Smiley, Danny Czekalinski, Steve Shannon were some of those who thought it would be a #winning predicament for most radio stations. Perhaps that’s not a surprise.  In part two, we hear from some of radio’s best managers and talent coaches.  Keep reading …

Charlie Sheen is perhaps THE topic of conversation on the radio, around the office, and on the internet this week.  There is no bigger personality at the moment.  His television show, in reruns, was the most watched show of the week.  His “content” set a world record of more than 1.3-million followers on Twitter in less than a day.  But, if you’re his bosses at CBS and Warner Brothers Television, all the publicity your biggest star is generating … is costing you lost revenue and giving you one #gnarly headache.

Radio has been known to breed it’s share of larger-than-life personalities capable of generating huge ratings and giving their Program Director high blood pressure, too.

Part One asked talent for their perspective (click to read).

Part Two gives some of radio’s best programmers and talent coaches the chance to respond, unfiltered.  Part Three will feature actual suggestions to prepare and handle Crisis PR the next time one of your stars pulls a “Charlie Sheen.”  (coming ASAP – pending review by crisis communication experts in the public relations field)

  • “Some say that all press is good press; but, I’m not so sure that’s accurate.  A better way of putting it is that all press adds to your attention in the marketplace; but, all attention isn’t positive.  For Russell Brand, it worked out.  For Charlie Sheen, not so much.  Part of that is because Brand’s incident was consistent with his “bad boy” character.  It also was about Brand’s personality and judgement, not his behavior.  That’s an important difference from Sheen.  Charlie’s behavior is not only unacceptable to virtually all observers, it’s indefensible based on the appeal of his character.  If Sheen were a morning show, he could probably recover and, even as ugly as the incident has gotten, it could potentially turn in to a positive – with the right attitude.  If he were to humbly turn around, apologize, demonstrably change his behavior and commit to actions that support a change, it could work.  Short of that, it would probably be irreparable damage to his image, and the image of the station.”Tracy Johnson, Talent Coach & Author, Tracy Johnson Media (buy his new book Morning Radio: Revisited here)
  • “None of us know what was happening behind the scenes.  We don’t know how bad the situation really was.  I don’t think any of us arm chair quarterbacks can, or should, judge Sheen or Warner/CBS.  That said, this guy clearly has talent.  He’s obviously not a roll over “I’ll do anything you say” kind of guy.  He’s strong minded and independent.  He has a huge ego and is clearly, as he put it, “not normal.”  Is it possible that some radio talent share these traits?  He seems to have multiple addictions; but, again, not to know him, all we can do is judge by what the media chooses to show and tell us.  All that being said, I hope Warner/CBS did everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that could possibly be done to save this show.  It’s one of the most popular sitcoms of our generation, and it prints money by the truckload.  Different management/leadership styles might have worked.  Willingness to set egos aside might have worked (easier said than done).  Maybe even new people in leadership positions would have worked.  Being on the sidelines makes it easy to speculate, but we just don’t know what happened or what might have prevented this from denigrating to what it’s become.  My point is that it’s our job as leaders to find a way to make these situations work.  The alternative is a lose/lose for everyone.”  — Pat Paxton, Senior VP/Programming, Entercom Communications
  • “If Charlie Sheen were my morning guy, I’d be concerned.  First for his mental health – so I’d certainly pull out the HR booklets none of us read to see what kind of psychiatric treatment the company offers in its health plan.  From a programming perspective, the train-wreck that we’re watching is either an elaborately hatched plot to get Charlie noticed (something I doubt he needs) or the meltdown of a guy who’s entertained Americans for nine years.  As a morning anchor, this wouldn’t work long term.  Great anchors and morning show cast members need to be likable.  Charlie’s behaving in a way that’ll draw attention initially, as a crash on the highway might, but people will eventually avert their eyes.  He’s weird, unpredictable (not in a good way), and sad.  People will tire quickly because this story line needs to evolve.  Listeners might consume lots of this (as they are now) to see what happens next, but will bore quickly because it’s one-dimensional.  I am not sure where you evolve this character or story line to (or even if you can).”Steve Reynolds, Talent Coach, The Reynolds Group
  • “The best thing to do is nothing if this happens to you.  Usually the lunatic ravings of a nonsensical man are just that and people feel the same way.  Unless a huge talent is harmed or threatened, they are looking to vent about nonsense.”Chuck Geiger, Full Throttle Country
  • He’s engaging. He’s real.  He’s passionate. He’s funny. He’s energized. He’s intelligent.  … He’s a bad boy. He’s rebellious. He’s polarizing. He’s creating conflict, stirring everyone up …Charlie Sheen is the new king of all media …Charlie Sheen fits The Randy Lane Company’s description of all great talent … (read more on Randy’s blog here).”Randy Lane, Talent Coach, The Randy Lane Company

Bookmark the site for crisis communications tips reviewed by PR experts.  You’ll want to save it in case this happens to you!

One Response to “What if Charlie Sheen was YOUR “morning guy”? (Part 2)”

  1. Would this be the Charlie Sheen of this week? He’s only ranting and raving all over the place because he didn’t get his way. If CBS acquiesced to his demands, none of this would have happened.

    Charlie is by all accounts a drug addict, alcoholic, abuser of women and all around ass. He has costs hundreds of people their jobs by his actions. Sure, this week he’s been Mr. Media, but only because it serves him, not his show, employer, or co-workers. I don’t think I’ve seen one person he works with on his CBS show stick up for him.

    Good luck with Charlie Sheen the morning show, if it shows up for work at all.

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