Thanks to my pal Kevin Avery at The Fish in Atlanta for his creative musing on success.
Kevin and his talented pal Taylor’s morning show just so happens to be #1 in Women 25-54 in Atlanta, a very competitive radio market of 4.5 million people! So, maybe Kevin knows something worth hearing (‘cept #4, perhaps!)
The 10 Commandments of John Frost!
10) Thou shalt take the first exit!
9) Thou shalt give the listener ‘hugs’!
8) Thou shalt get to the point!
7) Thou shalt reflect back the listeners values!
6) Thou shalt love children!
5) Thou shalt love childrens’ mommas!
4) Thou shalt talk baseball with me whenever I visit!
3) Thou shalt tattoo the values pyramid on the inside of thou’s eyeballs!
2) Thou shalt be relevant!
1) Thou shalt be enthused about being in the best format in the world!
Barney Fife, the classic Don Knotts character on the old Andy Griffith Show, probably never thought he’d become a role model – at least not for radio. But that’s exactly what happened.
Sure, many radio jocks share Barney’s ego, bravado, nervousness under pressure, taking rules too seriously (or ignoring them), trying to pretend you know more than you actually do, bad singing voice, and rather vague knowledge of the human anatomy (“the obondalla isn’t in the leg, Ange…it’s in the brain”), but the passing on of the “idiot torch” is not what made him a role model. It’s that in his shirt pocket, this fearless deputy, this symbol of law and order, this staunch upholder of the people’s rights carried… his one bullet.
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.
I first met John Moore in Nashville at a GMA event. He was a guest speaker, and wanted to meet my friend Jon Spoelstra. The next day I saw him speak about Starbucks, and how they managed the brand through their marketing.
It was only after he’d spoken that he mentioned about his stutter. Yes, someone who makes a good portion of his income speaking in front of large groups had a stutter.
But the real point of this story is the story. In a recent post John talked about his situation, but it’s not only the story, but how he told it. We can learn a lot about how John told the story. When we see on-air people trying to communicate a story, it’s a great example of mixing facts with emotion to create a reality you can feel.
Telling a great story can take longer than 60 seconds, but if it’s done well enough, it’s worth it What do you hear on your station, facts or the emotion of a story like John’s.
P.S. If you want to have a highly successful station, you need to read “The Passion Conversation,” which was co-authored by John.
Most people in your town have never heard of your radio station.
That’s hard for us to grasp because we’re involved with our station every day, and almost everyone we bump into knows where we work. But our world is not their world.
I’ve written in previous Frost Advisories about social proof, the grown-up term for peer pressure. Jonah Berger’s remarkable new book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” discusses “The Power of Observability”; the easier something is to see, the more people talk about it.
Consider how the kind of car your neighbor drives is far more likely to affect your buying decision than does the toothpaste he uses. One is visible, the other is not.
It has always baffled me why Christian music stations seem content to be invisible. We have the greatest reason to reach people (see: The Great Commission), we have the most tribal format (our audience gathers without us even asking them to), and the format is about the things people care about most.
Not long ago, I heard this so-called “story” in a newscast:
“They did a study letting dogs just hear someone yawn. They responded with their own about half the time. But when the canine heard a familiar person like their owner yawn, it happened five times more often.”
Who cares? If you asked ten people what mattered most to them that day, I’d give you 1000 to 1 odds that dogs yawning wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of that list.
When I asked the air talent about this, the justification for it was that it was a “human interest” story.
I don’t see the Interest. (Plus, saying “the canine” is that stilted old newsy language, like saying “the five-foot-eight-inch male was spotted running away from the scene.” No one would EVER say this in real life.)
Yes, I keep harping on this, but I’ll stop griping about it if you stop boring people to death. What do you not get about the fact that you’re in competition for the listener’s time with every other station, hundreds of TV channels, social media, audio books and gaming?
Don’t let your SHOW be the thing that makes the dog yawn.
Quick! Name a TV dad that is portrayed as a positive role model! How about in the movies?
Where have you gone, Cliff Huxtable?
It’s said that 85% of youths in prison grow up in fatherless homes. Role models can change the trajectory of a life.
With more and more successful Contemporary Christian music stations than ever before we have the opportunity to tell a better story to more people. I know stations that have created on-air features just so they can say, “You must be a great mom!” or “Atta boy, dad!”, affirming listeners for one of the most important roles in their lives.
I recently heard Amy Grant say, “Every once in a while it’s good to think about what is really important in your life, and then see what aspect of your life actually reflects that.”
“Sing something that matters”, her dad would often remind her. On this Father’s Day I think that’s good advice for our stations, as well.
Here’s a really simple way to do show prep. Think “Today, tomorrow, next week, next month.”
Today and tomorrow are pretty obvious, but there’s a reason to always glance at what’s coming up next week, or next month. It’s all about how the brain works. Once the “left brain” (the logical, mathematical, “everything in its place”) side is made aware of the “next big thing” the RIGHT side of the brain (the creative, emotional, artistic side) will start noodling around on how to do it well.
This also gives you time to put things in motion – maybe a promotional or social media angle or follow-up, or finding some music that will stage it perfectly on the air.
If you wait until the last minute and think you can just wing it, pray that I don’t start coaching your competition. You can’t do left brain AND right brain stuff at the same time with any great degree of success. No one can. That’s why golfers work on the practice range until things become subconscious, then when they get into a tournament, it’s not about swing thoughts, it’s just about hitting the shot.
Programming a successful radio station can often seem like jumping on a moving train. It’s challenging enough for a programmer to simply find time to listen to the station or meet with the air staff, much less actually plan the next event.
We’re often so busy with the urgent that we don’t take the time to think.
At Mark Ramsey’s recent Hivio conference I heard filmmaker Emma Coats share that the process of creating a great story often involves discounting the first thing that comes to mind. That’s because the first thing is seldom the unique thing.
The more you drill down, the closer you’ll get to the big idea.
Let’s make this short and sweet. When I tune you in, is there something going onhere? Or is there nothing going on here?
If you think just playing the music and constantly promoting stuff will work, welcome to mediocrity.
Any idiot can intro a song. Any idiot can read a liner or plug the website, or read something from the internet that the listener can get on his or her smart phone in three seconds.
I used to think of my show as “The Adventures of Tommy Kramer” (or one of the five different morning shows I was part of). Like Seinfeld in the 90’s or Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory now, each show was an episode in itself, pertaining to THAT DAY.
Yes, the listener wants companionship, but not with someone who’s bland or boring. Whether it’s evident in your research or not, the listener wants a show.
DO SOMETHING, instead of doing nothing. Try stuff. You’ll be surprised at the results.
If you need help, call me. With a little coaching, you can jump start (or rejuvenate) your career. Every professional athlete or actor you admire has a coach.