As I write this week’s Frost Advisory the recount is still going on in Florida where I live. Well, we have to be famous for something other than alligators, octogenerians, and college football.
We’re less bad than the other guys.
In the last presidential election I heard “Haven’t we taken this ‘anyone can grow up and be president thing too far?'” Both major candidates had the lowest favorability ratings in history.
“I don’t like either one,” was a common refrain, “so I’m not going to vote.”
One of the biggest challenges these days (as always) is Content.
There are lots of questions that help you put it together – Is this top of mind? Does the listener actually care about it? Do you have anything to offer on this subject that’s unique, and not just what everyone else will do? Where are you going with it? Is there a chance that it could lead to listener feedback, or is just a one-off thing? … etc.
But these leave out what I consider to be the most logical question to ask yourself: Is this something you’d say at a barbecue to a person you just met?
If not, why are you saying it?
This will not only quickly cut to the chase as to whether it’s valid Content or not, it will also (hopefully) shape the LANGUAGE that you use, how you get to it, how you edit it, and most importantly, keep you from sounding like a disc jockey and more like a real person.
No one is enjoying hearing people read crap off a computer screen or someone’s stupid Facebook post on the air. Dig deeper if you want to be great.
(In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.)
Remember when you first began to get curious about what was coming out of the radio?
He was a freshman in high school when he realized that he listened to the radio differently than most people. While his friends turned up the volume for the music he turned it UP when the disc jockey talked. He began to notice there were different kinds of personalities (“he’s the funny one”) and even talent levels (“he can talk really fast right up till they start singing,” long before he knew what hitting a post meant.) Even in his pre-pubescence he sensed that the voices booming in from Chicago were better than the ones from Buffalo Gap.
That 14-year-old John Frost didn’t know what he didn’t know. Then he began to realize that he didn’t know. Noel Burch described this process as “The Hierarchy of Competence.”
This is a follow-up to the “Less is More, and More is Too Much” tip from a couple of weeks ago…
Thirty seconds is a significant amount of time. Companies literally pay millions of dollars for ONE 30-second ad in the Super Bowl.
The latest research is showing that millions of Gen Xers and Millennials go to You Tube to see a video, and if doesn’t have a “Skip this ad” thing after just a few seconds, they won’t stick around to watch it at all. That’s the mentality we’re dealing with.
You owe it to the listener not to waste his or her time. You owe it yourself as a performer to develop the skill set of refining and editing what you do so you don’t waste words, repeat things, or take unnecessary “side roads.” Sixty seconds is a LONG time, and two minutes is an eternity.
Yes, of course, an occasional longer break is fine, but automatically thinking “you have two minutes” (or more) is wrong. You don’t… unless you EARN it. You want more TSL? Try not being tedious to listen to.
On last week’s show I shared how my cousin the surgeon has a coffee mug that reads, “Please do not confuse your Google search with my medical degree.”
He tells me more and more patients find a bit of information on the internet and think they know something. This, combined with our desire for simple answers often results in a “Can’t I just take a pill?” mindset.
Perhaps you’ve seen this at your radio station.
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”
I once worked for a company where the big boss, a brilliant thinker and dealmaker, would occasionally get in the weeds, presumably out of boredom. Idle hands, don’tcha know.
Your show, no matter what format you’re in, has a dual purpose:
First, to talk to the person who just tuned in; and second, to talk to the person who’s been listening to you for a few minutes. Their needs are different.
If I hear two breaks in a row on the same subject (like a reset to get into a phone call), I don’t want to hear redundancy or repetitive wording, because that’s boring.
And if I only hear ONE break, you can’t just abruptly continue something you did in the previous break, because I DIDN’T hear that one.
So it’s all about the reset – specifically about the language you use. You can’t just use the same “intro” you used the first time, or the listener who heard the previous break will just think you’re on autopilot. And you should word it so NO prior knowledge is required for someone who just joined your show to understand what you’re talking about.
It’s an art, and one of the main things I work on with people I coach. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even hear themselves blathering out the exact same setup in a follow-up break – or even worse, they DO hear it, but just take the easiest, most mindless road possible. That’s a good way to lose listeners.
Say it isn’t so!
My cousin, the brilliant surgeon, told me of the time that a hospital board member barged into the operating room during a gall bladder surgery and told him they should remove the patient’s kidney. He had done the Google search, you see.
It’s a joke, of course, but…
“We would never consent to surgery from a surgeon who hadn’t been to medical school, and perhaps even more important, from one who who hadn’t kept up on the latest medical journals and training. And yet there are people who take pride in doing their profession from a place of naïveté, unaware of or unfamiliar with the most important voices in their field.”
Radio stations would simply be transformed if only those most qualified to make a decision in a certain area were the ones that actually made the decision.
On next week’s show I’ll tell you the story of ‘666,’ introduce you to a man named Noel Burch, and invite you to play along. That’s a tease, don’tcha know?
Note: This is a music radio tip, primarily. However, there is an application to Talk radio that I’ll do in another tip someday.
It’s a terrible thing to say, but honestly, I’ll bet 90% of the breaks I hear are too long. Sometimes just a word or two too long. Sometimes an entire paragraph too long. In severe cases, an entire additional Subject too long.
Who has time?
If I were to eavesdrop on a programming conversation around the coffee machine at your station what would I likely hear? Would it be about the music and deejays, the promotions and contests, and that complaint from that listener. In other words, the things closest to you. Like coffee.
While these elements are important to the station’s design and must be done well, they are not transformative. Why? Because those things are all about us. And the closer things are to us the more important they seem. To us. Like coffee.
The old saying is “Content is King.” And there’s no doubt that Content HAS to be relevant and memorable to make people want to listen to you more today, or again tomorrow.
But Content isn’t “King,” PERFORMANCE is. If you sound like a game show host, or have that “disc jockey delivery,” you’re becoming a Deejaysaurus Rex, an extinct species.