What makes someone so special that they are elected to a Hall of Fame?
Is it talent? Or personality? Maybe just right place at the right time?
Bob Costas was inducted this week into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. When you hear people talk about Bob today they refer to his sense of craftsmanship. I knew Bob a few decades ago in St. Louis and people said the same about him then.
“I’ve always been someone who was serious about the craft, so I would review my tapes, and even if it was a good broadcast… I can always pick up something, if it was a matter of timing or selection of words, where if I had just done it slightly different it could have been done just a little bit better.”
There is no music format in need of a craftsmen’s work as the Christian music format. Why?
Recently, a station manager brought me aboard to work with a new air talent that had just come to the station. Even though the new guy done a couple of sessions with me a year or two ago, he’s still afraid of being coached. The boss told me the guy’s exact words were that “He doesn’t want someone coming along trying to make him sound like everyone else.”
Well, first of all, that’s not what I do. Yes, I have some basic principles that have been proven to work over the course of coaching over 350 stations in all formats. But a lot of times, a talent will harbor this fear of making changes simply because (1) he didn’t work with a good coach, (2) he thinks he knows all he needs to know, and/or (3) he associates the “bits” he does with BEING his identity.
So in case you’re approached with working with a talent coach (and there are only about three that deserve to be called that), I’m going to lay out my 3 Steps of Coaching over the course of the next few tips.
Step 1: Correcting bad habits, and “weeding the garden.”
Curious how ‘Tis the season to be jolly’ can often bring out the Ebenezer Scrooges in your audience and in your hallways.
What begins as an attempt to reach the largest number of people to celebrate the Christmas season can end up seeming like a gathering of the Trumps and the Clintons.
Here comes another complaint!
When we hear criticism about our station we often react in a way that is absolute. There is a complaint about song and we are tempted to pull it from the playlist. A criticism of an air talent results in a scolding e-mail to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.
A general manager once told me he had so over-reacted to every complaint that his station had little worth listening to anymore.
A very good talent I work with did a contest the other day, and had a great winner, who was really surprised and happy about winning lunch for her office from a local deli.
He did a good job with her in the winner call he played on the air, but at the end, he added a whole bunch of “blah blah blah” about the specific hoops the winner had to jump through to get her prize and, along the way, he mentioned the name of a person in the office that no listener would know or care about.
This is what I sent him in his coaching session recap:
“What’s going to change in the next 10 years?”
Jeff Bezos is one of the world’s richest men, having founded Amazon.com in his Seattle garage two decades ago.
He says people ask him that question a lot.
“I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’
And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection.
In the last tip, I talked about learning something about you each day, and how essential that “reveal” is to becoming a three-dimensional personality to the listener. Here’s a deeper look at it:
You should reveal something about yourself EVERY day, but not with an agenda.
Last week, on an automotive Talk show I coach in Houston, the female cohost said, “Ask Mike your question, ’cause if you ask me, I’ll just say ‘Pick the fast one, in black.'” That changed her from being just the “announcer” of the show to a Personality – in ONE LINE.
That’s the kind of reveal that works best, because it seemingly just slipped out as you were talking. And that’s the key: It has to sound accidental or incidental – NATURAL to share, not just you bringing up a subject so you can sound off on it.
When something revealing just plops out in the course of the conversation, that’s when people actually NOTICE what was just said.
Givers and takers.
When you think about the people that have had the greatest influence on your life I reckon’ you’d say they were GIVERS.
“The human spirit senses and feeds on a giving spirit… Think about what Jesus taught – half the time people didn’t know what he was talking about, but they listened attentively. Jesus was giving – feeding them. Not taking. It is at a spirit (heart) level – he wasn’t just giving information.”
I wonder, then, why many Christian radio stations are perceived to be TAKERS, always asking their listeners to give them something. In fact, there are some managers whose voice is never heard unless they have their hand out.
Here’s part of a post-Halloween coaching session recap with a morning team I work with in Austin, Texas…
Steve and Amy.
Well, look at what we learned about you in Tuesday’s show…
You’re aware of what’s going on, and you have hearts (coverage of the New York City tragedy).
Amy has managed to rationalize not wanting to go out in the cold to ‘Trick or Treat’ with her kids as THEIR decision. (And Steve called her on it.)
What were you doing 18 years ago?
You weren’t on Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg was only 15 years old. You could have been watching The Simpsons, Beverly Hills 90210, or The X-Files on your non-HD TV.
18 years ago Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic began their first morning sports show on ESPN from the backyard of one of their houses. And Friday was their last.
“Through all of it we have sat here, we have done our best and tried to make people a little bit less miserable in their mornings,” Mike Greenberg said during the last segment. “If we have succeeded in that, then we accomplished everything we needed to.”
In August of 1972, a group named The Main Ingredient released a hit single called “Everybody Plays the Fool.” (The lead singer, by the way, was Cuba Gooding, Sr. – yes, the actor’s father.)
None of that has anything to do with this week’s tip.
Last time, we talked about really starting to gain understanding and control of your inflection, so you lose the “disc jockey” sound and simply become the one voice in the room people just want to listen to.
Here’s another step.
What all great air talents and great voice actors have in common is that they’re INTERESTING.