Our minds crave simplicity.
What are THOSE stations doing? Let’s do that!
We only know what we know. Nothing beyond that.
“WYSIATI… What you see is all there is.
“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little…
You will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit what you know into a coherent pattern.” Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow”
The saying is that “Everyone has a story.”
That may be true, but the problem is that most people aren’t very good at TELLING it.
That’s why you have to EDIT them.
It’s Beginning > Middle > End.
What it should NOT be (but we hear way too often) is “Meandering” – Beginning > Middle that’s too long > Ending that’s predictable, or something being repeated that was said earlier in the story.
TAKE OUT what’s nonessential. When you eliminate unnecessary details and nebulous “side roads,” and you don’t try too hard to either make it “meaningful” or to somehow get to some punch line that just comes across as silly or insincere, you’ve left more room for Emotions. And that – the Emotional Core at the center of a story – is what impacts the listener.
We learn to talk by imitating our parents. It’s so instinctive that we hardly notice that Mommy is referring to herself in the third person (“Give it to Mommy”), inverting the perspective so the child learn will learn to say it correctly.
Your station’s tribe has a language.
Music is the language of your tribe.
But not in the way you may think.
“Before recording technology existed, you could not separate music from its social context.”David Byrne
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also made for great musicians, explorers, writers, painters, and radio staffs.
When you have a bunch of people who are all continuously curious about how to get better, you have lightning in a bottle. And you can feel it in the hallways. It shows on the air. And people listen to you simply because they WANT to.
You don’t have to dangle a lot of incentives in front of them, although contests are fun. You don’t have to pander to them and compliment them all the time – especially not for their good taste in listening to you. And you don’t have to worry about what your competition is doing, because if you’re talented and still working to get better, the other guys are already dead men walking.
Give me the people who come up with ideas for better systems, who want to try something on the air they haven’t done before, and want to have FUN doing their jobs.
But here’s the deal: every person you have who doesn’t think like this holds you back. Hire wisely. Interview the person, not the job posting. Find the ones who want to help you do GREAT radio. Then coach them up.
It was an innocent enough question, I thought.
My friend Val and I were talking about life at his new job. “What has most surprised you?” I inquired.
He then began to cite some things that I couldn’t have predicted. He saw things through new eyes; a fresh perspective, not yet tainted by personalities, biases, and heuristics.
“The longer you’ve served where you are and the longer you’ve done what you are currently doing, the more difficult if will be for you to see your environments with the objectivity need to make the changes that need to be made. The shorter version: Time in erodes awareness of.”Andy Stanley, “Deep and Wide”
I know of a station that was excited to show to show off their promotional van’s new colorful logo design. After one such event I asked the promotions person if those at the event were aware of the station. She replied,
“No. They think I’m selling fish.”
“And I was like…”
“Then she was like…”
“So I was like…”
Like what? Like someone who never passed seventh grade English?
“She was TOTALLY not going there…” (Could she partially go there?) “I’m SO doing that…” (Well, all I can say is “You SO sound like a dolt.”)
Look, I’m all about “street language” and I definitely don’t think we should speak “The King’s English” – but we need to sound like we’re not 14-year California airheads.
Here’s why: Someday, a plane might fly into another building. Or another “quiet guy” is going to walk into a mall and start shooting people. And when that happens, you want people to take you seriously if you’re going to comment on it. Radio is about having fun, and being topical; but at times, it’s also about being CREDIBLE.
Note to anyone in California: feel free to do all the Texas and Louisiana jokes you want. (Louisiana is my home state. Texas is where I spent the majority of my adult life.)
This may be the most simple Frost Advisory you’ve ever read. But simplest doesn’t mean easiest.
I’ve learned that every bad radio station has three things in common:
- They take too long to do stuff
- The stuff they do isn’t very interesting or meaningful
- They take too long to do stuff
I reckon’ you see this played out in your radio station every day.
That meeting you just attended will inevitably result in doing more stuff.
That music meeting? You’ll play more stuff.
That promotions meetings? More stuff.
Our systems are set up to habitually add more stuff, but we almost never talk about taking stuff away. Like barnacles on a ship our radio station begins to slow to a one share. (That’s fewer people hearing our stuff that takes too long).
Here’s a question for you: Have you listened to your station’s online streaming lately?
Chances are, it pretty much blows.
Most of the time, I record station audio to use for coaching sessions. And it’s amazing how many stations promote how you can “take us to work with you” or “keep up with us with the app” when in reality, the signal crashes without any warning whatsoever. Or the app makes us jump through hoops, pushing multiple buttons or wading through “join our music team” come-ons, before we finally just get to what we want – the audio.
Your radio station didn’t create the music; the artists, composers, and producers did.
Your radio station didn’t distribute the music; the record company, the music store, or iTunes did.
If you base your station’s success on things that aren’t yours to begin with, you’re in for a bumpy ride unless you have no competitor.
“There are countless factories vying to sell generic products to the companies that own the customer relationship. Perhaps 90% (sometimes 100%) of the profit goes to companies that make the sale, not the ones who actually made the product.” Seth Godin
So, what does your station own?
Back in the heyday of Top 40 radio, there were a handful of stations that became the icons; the stations we wanted to work at, or at least have our station sound like.
One of the giants was KHJ in Los Angeles, a Drake-Chenault consulted station with the brilliant Ron Jacobs as its Program Director.
Jacobs had three primary rules: