I hear so many people using a text or email as the ending of something. And a lot of stations have gone way overboard in soliciting them.
But this is one of those things that seems like a good idea, but it’s too broad a concept to play to radio’s strengths.
Here’s what I coach:
Texts (or emails) are only to be used as springboards for something YOU do that’s creative. They’re not a be-all or end-all in themselves. So rather than using a text or email as the “destination” for something, you should use those as the START of something.
I didn’t tune in to hear what the faceless “Jennifer” from Highland Park has to say, I tuned in to hear YOU – the trained, articulate, entertaining Personality – have to say. Because, let’s face it, “real” people are usually not very witty or clever or funny at all. Sure, they can be once in a while, but even then, I don’t want to hear you just read a response. How lazy can you get? Why don’t you just read the newspaper on the air if that’s all the work ethic you have?
Plus, I believe it’s a mistake to encourage people to text or email INSTEAD of calling, because radio is about airing AUDIO. Do you want to hear me interview an artist, or would you rather hear me read an interview with the artist out of a magazine? Print is a poor substitute for Sound. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.
The concert ends and the applause begins. The applause gets louder and louder, and then it happens. One person stands.
I’ve never started a standing ovation in my life but I’ve been a part of dozens.
“People like me do things like this… Normalization creates culture, and culture drives our choices, which leads to more normalization.”Seth Godin
If you want your listeners to engage in something, create a tangible way for them to see how people like them do things like this.
Whether with online music research (Google shows how many have seen your review), a station promotion (the Ice Bucket challenge became a social media phenomenon) or a fundraiser (Facebook helps you to share your cause with others), success involves normalization.
Prior to this past Christmas, I heard a talent talking about how his whole family was going to another state, where they hadn’t gathered in years, for the holidays.
But the story really bogged down when he started itemizing everyone who would be there. One sister, her husband, and her two children; her brother, his wife, and their three kids; her, her husband and their three daughters; and an aunt that they hadn’t seen in years.
No one’s reading the guest list. Summarize, instead of Itemize. “Three families, an aunt, 13 people in all…”
The Art of Storytelling lies partly in honing things down to their most concise version, then just letting it breathe a little bit. But when you get too detailed – especially about people your listener doesn’t know (or care about), the story becomes rudderless and lacks momentum.
People are searching. Many feel bombarded with negativity and bickering, particularly in the media. I know people who have turned off TV news and avoid rants on social media. As a result people are literally searching for something good.
Every year Google compiles a list of the most searched for words of the year. In 2018 more than ever the world searched for good.
(Larry) “And now let’s check that drive into work again. Here’s Don Googleheimer…”
(Don, the Traffic guy) “Thanks, Teresa. Good morning, everybody…”
I actually heard this the other day. The male half of a morning team intros the Traffic, then the Traffic guy thanks his female partner.
This shows the listener that it’s prerecorded. Or that the Traffic guy isn’t listening.
The Christmas season brings out the best in our format. More people tune in than at any other time of the year, some stations topping a million listeners per week, once unthinkable in our format.
I know stations that do their best work in connecting on big tent values (those that resonate with new listeners as much as with regular fans) with stories of hope, forgiveness, and fresh starts. Over the last several weeks we’ve heard some amazing stories and songs.
I heard how Pamela and her daughter were helped to move out of the homeless shelter and start a new life!
I heard Craig’s story of being able to hear for the first time because of a caring surgeon.
I heard the story of the man who decorated his house with Christmas lights knowing that his son wouldn’t live to see Christmas. When his neighbors found out they joined in and decorated their houses months early.
Stories and songs. Continue reading
The other day, I heard a guy who’s quite good RUSHING through every break. Talking to him later, I found that he’d gone through a series of really stressful things, leading to his getting back home at 4 AM, then having to go in and substitute for someone on the air just a very few hours later.
In trying to overcome sleep deprivation, he went the “energy” route. But it didn’t really work, because the listener can almost always tell when we’re overcompensating, or just not quite “in the pocket.”
This is what I told him:
A 12-ounce glass won’t hold 14 ounces of Dr. Pepper. Pouring it faster won’t help.
Keep that in mind the next time you’re not physically at your best. Stay ear-friendly. Fit the glass.
Is there a connection between Christmas and your station’s strategy? No, I didn’t say Christmas MUSIC. I said Christmas.
They say there are more “religious” radio stations in the United States than any other format category. They also say that those religious stations have fewer listeners than any other. Ouch!
Many Christian radio stations could best be described as “A bunch of stuff all on one station,” consisting of a little of this and a little of that with little connection to the WHY.
A station I’ve worked with for years now faces a huge challenge. Their longtime morning man and PD is leaving the station after many years of exemplary service and success. At the same time, they’re being pressured by a relatively new GM to get ratings and revenue up, and part of that is to reduce expenses by going to fewer air talents being employed (doubling up on a jock by putting him or her on two different stations in the cluster) and going to more voice-tracked shows on the weekends.
So I want to speak into that as a bonus for any PD or GM reading this, while at the same time focusing on what will help any talent under the gun from his boss to do better.
First, if you live by math (ratings statistics and projections) as your starting place to the extent that you think more voice-tracked shifts are an answer, that’s not gonna fly. In radio today, both in the short and the long run, Talent doesn’t DELIVER the product, talent IS the product.
On last week’s show I shared the experience of driving with my friend Mike when he declared, “My GPS is broken! It only tells me where I’ve been, not where I’m going.”
Making programming decisions based solely upon ratings is like driving with a GPS that shows only where you’ve been.