There’s this great scene in the old Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie “The Sting.” Redford’s character is questioning about the scam they’re pulling on the bad guy (played by Robert Shaw), and asks, “Do you think it’ll work?” Newman’s character answers, “Relax, kid. We had him twenty years ago when he decided to BE somebody.”
This has actually become a microcosm of the world we’re living in. Everyone hungers to “BE something” even if it’s just for a few seconds. A Twitter posting, a picture that gets “liked” by some social media throng.
Let’s apply this to radio. In coaching over 1700 air talents, I’ve found that it’s always a challenge when someone says he or she wants to ‘be’ somebody (to the listener). While you can certainly strive for that, that’s the shallow end of the pool. The real aim should be to MEAN something to the listener. When you’re the person who weighs in on what’s relevant in my life consistently, that emotional connection IS the point.
You don’t just have ‘name value;’ you have actual value.
We forget, don’t we?
We forget what real people go through every day.
We forget the messages they are bombarded with, the struggles they face, the negative influences on their kids.
Real people perceive your radio station within the context of their own lives. Don’t ever forget it.
Often they tune in to get away from the negativity, to be affirmed for the good in people, and to be reminded of the hope we can have through our faith.
It’s never a bad time to work on using fewer words. Here’s why…
When you pare down the word count, it helps you cut through the ‘blah blah’ all over the dial and sound more specific, which tends to “imprint” more on the mind.
It’s a paradox, but using more words rarely makes something clearer.
(Note: This tip started out as a full page of 240+ words, but I cut it down to just 55.)
On last week’s show I delved into what we could learn from The Weather Channel as Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast. Well, a week later many of us are still cleaning up after the storm flooded the northeast. In fact, my friends Matt and Cari had to be evacuated from their home in New Jersey by boat. Fortunately, they and their cat LBK are safely relocated to a nearby hotel.
Since the impact of the storm is still just as relevant as last week I thought I would continue drilling down into what we can learn from The Weather Channel.
The power of NOW. In our format we talk a lot about “common ground,” usually referring to things like lifestyle, values, and spiritual vernacular. However, ‘now’ is the one thing we most have in common. Everyone is living in that moment. Weather, specifically severe weather, is the ultimate shared experience.
In the course of some coaching sessions, I sometimes have to discuss grammar with an air talent. It’s painful to correct “between he and I” (which should be “between him and me,” of course) or “Us guys love Fantasy Football.” (Uh huh. So I guess the Queen song was “Us Will Rock You?”)
More than once, I’ve been met with how that’s “nitpicking” or asked, “Why does it matter?”
Here’s why it matters… unless we sound intelligent, like we actually passed seventh-grade English, we can’t be taken seriously. Think about that. Maybe in a time of true darkness, when something really serious has happened, you won’t be the listener’s first choice. Because serious events or issues need serious and uplifting thoughts, and it takes a thorough knowledge of vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammar to be able to inform or comfort people.