On last week’s show I shared that the recent solar eclipse is a valuable lesson in perspective. The moon’s path is always between the earth and the sun SOMEWHERE, but it becomes meaningful to us only when it happens to us.
Ty McFarland of KSBJ in Houston reacted this way:
Cruising around YouTube yesterday, I saw an interview with Jerry Seinfeld by Norm MacDonald.
Norm brought up a hypothetical scene: Two people go to a bowling alley and… what happens next?
If you’ve seen Seinfeld much at all, you know about his ‘internal radar’ as to what makes something funny – or not. So he interrupted MacDonald at that point and said “Why are they in the bowling alley?”
When my friend, Kevin Metheny, was programming a small-signal station in San Diego he chose the strategy of creating his own universe to compete in. The world outside the signal didn’t exist. He put all his effort, from music research to community involvement (called remotes in those days) into this smaller definition. He wound up taking the station to the top of the ratings by focusing on where he was, instead of where he wasn’t.
Here’s a question that takes some actual hands-on experience to answer: Is your live streaming even worth listening to?
As someone who has to tape streaming audio often (because of different time zones) in order to do coaching sessions, I can tell you that most live streaming is dead in the water. Constant cutting out, horribly over-modulated audio (or a stream that’s so low I need a hearing aid to listen to it), too many steps to finally get the audio up, incessant “introductory ads” that we have to sit through before – finally – hearing the station… they’re all symptomatic of just assuming because you buy into a streaming service, your audio is being carried the right way.
And the weird thing is, we promote this ‘feature’ all the time, often without ever checking it out ourselves.
So today – now, while you’re thinking of it – get on your computer, iPad, or smart phone and check your live stream for an hour or so. You may be shocked at how poor it sounds… or you could really pleased with it – until it inexplicably just shuts off after a few minutes. (Aaaarrrrgh.)
Have you heard? It’s been in all the papers. There is a total solar eclipse on Monday. It’s the first one since I was in college.
It begins in Oregon at 9:06 AM Pacific and ends in South Carolina at 4:06 PM Eastern.
Well, that’s one point of view.
It’s my mission to make you the most interesting and entertaining person your listener ever hears. I want you to have a job you love to go into each day, for you to have a successful career, and for you to have a happy life as a result.
But once in a while, as part of the process, I have to deal with things that may not be all rainbows and pixie dust in an effort to get you to be the best version of yourself on the air. Here’s one of the potholes…
A lot of radio people apparently think the Listener is stupid. Some examples:
Back to school time is everywhere. In the stores with sales. On the highways with school buses. There are even tax free days for Back to School.
It’s not an official holiday like Christmas, Ground Hog Day, or Millard Fillmore’s birthday, but it is just as evident. Back to school affects everyone’s schedule, even those that don’t go to school. (Can’t say that about ole Millard’s birthday.)
“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
My friend Tim McDermott of KSBJ recently introduced me to the book, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, where he shares “the ability to dismiss distractions and concentrate on your ONE Thing stands between you and your goals.”
So, let’s go back to school and discuss the one thing that can transform programming.
“Personality” is one of those words that’s used constantly, but is vague in its meaning.
I had a session with a veteran talent recently in which the issue was his talking about things on the air, but without any real investment into making it something other than just bullet points being read to the listener.
So I reminded him to just keep on relaxing into it, and to “color” those things (a local Civil War photography show, a regional agricultural “festival”) with personal comments and ‘takes’ on what those EXPERIENCES – not just events on a page – might be like.
Here’s how I summarized it:
Even just a small “aside” like you said today about the rain in the forecast, “We need it for the cherry tomatoes,” brings the listener a step closer to you.
“Personality” isn’t just about being funny; it’s about how personally the listener gets to know you.
…to make a first impression,” so goes the famous quote from Will Rogers.
When we radio folk talk about increasing the station’s listenership, or ‘building cume’ in PPM lingo, we’re really talking about making good first impressions.
“So how important are first impressions? Well it determines if you get the second interview for your dream job or acceptance in the college or university of your choice. A good first impression can mean a second date and who know what happens after that. Making a good first impression gets you a meeting with the senior partners in the private equity firm evaluating your business proposal. No doubt first impressions matter.”
There is an Outback Steakhouse near our place already adorned with custom signage with brand logo. And it’s still under construction. Their first impression is “coming soon,” signaling the arrival to your neighbor that their distinctive Bloomin’ Onion and Aussie Cheese Fries are only weeks away. Folks will be waiting in line at their grand opening. You can bank on it.
All too common in our format first impressions are unfamiliar music, unwelcoming voices, and conversations that make people feel like outsiders.
So it bears the question… which gives a better first impression; your radio station or this restaurant? And Outback isn’t even open yet.
We all now that one windbag who’s always at the party, telling stories that never seem to end.
And we all avoid getting sucked into a conversation with that person.
The reason is simple, but more important today than ever in the Twitter, L8R for “later,” emoji world.
Time is a person’s most precious commodity. We’re all too busy; we have things to do, and anything that impedes that is resented. The more words you use, the less effective the message is.