This is the simplest way to guarantee success with any Content you do: Prep the ending first.
Suppose you have several errands to run. You need to drop some clothes off at the dry cleaners, you’ve got to mail something, and you need to go to the grocery store. So to save gas and go in more of a straight line, you plan everything so you go to the grocery store last. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a lot of refrigerated items melting in the back seat while you’re doing the other errands.
It’s the same way with everything on the air – know where you’re GOING. Where the “destination” is. THEN, plan the beginning – how you’ll get into whatever the subject is. You’ll find that the middle pretty much takes care of itself.
Saturday Night Live is a good example. Through the years, they’ve always had talented people in the cast, but when the show was strongest, every ‘bit’ had a sense of purpose – an ending or conclusion that was solid and provided some sort of resolution at the end. When the show was at its weakest, there were still some good ideas, but they just kind of fizzled out at the end.
I have a new friend. His name is also John.
He’s like a baby chick sticking his head out of the egg when it comes to Christian music radio. After decades in mainstream radio he knows he doesn’t know the format, but he asks REALLY good questions.
Because he is so charged up about his own faith he asks me, “Why isn’t there more celebration?”. Gulp. Out of the mouth of babes.
As you’ve heard or seen me state before, Momentum and Pace are different things. Pace is how fast you go, but Momentum is how straight a line there is between Point A and Point B.
You don’t necessarily gain Momentum by just going faster. It takes being concise, and good construction, like a great writer’s book that you can’t put down.
Recently, this came up in a dramatic way as a Talk show I work with really got it, and moved effortlessly forward by keeping a close eye on the lengths of calls.
“Opinions are like noses”, the saying goes. “Everyone has one.”
I like her voice!
She sounds nasal!
He thinks he’s funny.
Subjective opinions are inevitable in an industry tethered to music and art. The question is… how do we keep subjectivity from driving our most important decisions, since subjectivity almost always results in the crankiest or highest ranking having their way.
I’ve found there are at least three unique areas that can be evaluated OBJECTIVELY:
The great movie Director Alfred Hitchcock was once asked by a reporter, “Is it true that you said all actors are cattle?”
Hitchcock replied, “No, I did not say that all actors are cattle. I said that all actors should be treated as cattle.”
Whenever you have a guest – or a guest host – keep that in mind. If the guest or guest host is from TV, chances are that they know NOTHING about radio. They know about hair product and how to read a teleprompter, but if they knew anything about keeping a viewer around, they wouldn’t keep saying things like “after this break” or “when we return.” (I’ll dive further into this in a future tip.) A guest, like someone who’s on “The Biggest Loser” or whatever, knows even less. They’re pretty much like ducklings, just trying to smile and not sound like amateurs.
YOU have to organize things for them.
A station group I visited recently shared with me remarkable stories of changed lives, impact in their community, and their vision to reach people far beyond the boundaries of their current signals.
However, in listening to their stations I heard none of these things. I literally heard the trivial (in the form of ‘trivia’) more than I heard stories that demonstrated what the stations stand for.
Successful stations understand and embrace what makes them meaningful and preferable. They then efficiently demonstrate those values in ways that resonate emotionally with their listeners.
Efficiency and meaningfulness are two sides of the same coin. One does not exclude the other. Successful stations develop disciplines for each.
The National Football League is a “copycat” league. If a team succeeds by throwing 50 passes a game, the next year, every team looks for its Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.
If a mobile quarterback wins a bunch of games, everyone starts drafting a quarterback who can run in addition to pass. (I’m not talking about Tim Tebow. Note the “and PASS” part. The only target Tebow can hit consistently is the ground.)
Radio’s like that, too. Continue reading
I was intrigued by the old cowboy. He stood underneath the shade of a large oak tree on a sidewalk in the Fort Worth Stockyards willingly receiving five dollar bills from moms and dads, grandmas and granddads so that their kiddos could sit for a moment on the back of a long-retired longhorn steer. What followed was two minutes of smiles, laughter, waving and cameras clicking capturing the joy on the faces of these young ‘uns. A splendid time was had by all.
I did the math.
$5 every two minutes. That’s $150 an hour.
A remarkable moment in my favorite movie “Field of Dreams” is the soliloquy from the brilliant actor James Earl Jones:
John Frost, Alan Mason, and David Sams (executive producer of Keep The Faith) pictured with broadcasting legend Bud Paxson (founder of Home Shopping Network, Paxson Communications, and PAX-TV), a man whose influence was life-changing in our careers.
Thanks to my friend Randy Brown for this thought:
Often, when you select a YouTube clip, it starts with a commercial. In many instances, a message pops up in the lower right portion of the screen that says “You can skip to video in…” and then it counts down 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, then you click it to get to what you actually wanted to see in the first place.
That’s the way people think when they listen to you. You start talking, and in the listener’s head, the 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 countdown begins.
Get on into it, or the listener “clicks” mentally – or sometimes even physically – and isn’t hearing you anymore. It’s just “blah-blah-blah” noise in the background. So you want to connect the Subject to the Listener as concisely as you can.
We have to EARN EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF LISTENING that we get. You do not deserve being listened to just because your transmitter is on.