In the last tip, I talked about learning something about you each day, and how essential that “reveal” is to becoming a three-dimensional personality to the listener. Here’s a deeper look at it:
You should reveal something about yourself EVERY day, but not with an agenda.
Last week, on an automotive Talk show I coach in Houston, the female cohost said, “Ask Mike your question, ’cause if you ask me, I’ll just say ‘Pick the fast one, in black.'” That changed her from being just the “announcer” of the show to a Personality – in ONE LINE.
That’s the kind of reveal that works best, because it seemingly just slipped out as you were talking. And that’s the key: It has to sound accidental or incidental – NATURAL to share, not just you bringing up a subject so you can sound off on it.
When something revealing just plops out in the course of the conversation, that’s when people actually NOTICE what was just said.
Givers and takers.
When you think about the people that have had the greatest influence on your life I reckon’ you’d say they were GIVERS.
“The human spirit senses and feeds on a giving spirit… Think about what Jesus taught – half the time people didn’t know what he was talking about, but they listened attentively. Jesus was giving – feeding them. Not taking. It is at a spirit (heart) level – he wasn’t just giving information.”
I wonder, then, why many Christian radio stations are perceived to be TAKERS, always asking their listeners to give them something. In fact, there are some managers whose voice is never heard unless they have their hand out.
Here’s part of a post-Halloween coaching session recap with a morning team I work with in Austin, Texas…
Steve and Amy.
Well, look at what we learned about you in Tuesday’s show…
You’re aware of what’s going on, and you have hearts (coverage of the New York City tragedy).
Amy has managed to rationalize not wanting to go out in the cold to ‘Trick or Treat’ with her kids as THEIR decision. (And Steve called her on it.)
What were you doing 18 years ago?
You weren’t on Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg was only 15 years old. You could have been watching The Simpsons, Beverly Hills 90210, or The X-Files on your non-HD TV.
18 years ago Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic began their first morning sports show on ESPN from the backyard of one of their houses. And Friday was their last.
“Through all of it we have sat here, we have done our best and tried to make people a little bit less miserable in their mornings,” Mike Greenberg said during the last segment. “If we have succeeded in that, then we accomplished everything we needed to.”
In August of 1972, a group named The Main Ingredient released a hit single called “Everybody Plays the Fool.” (The lead singer, by the way, was Cuba Gooding, Sr. – yes, the actor’s father.)
None of that has anything to do with this week’s tip.
Last time, we talked about really starting to gain understanding and control of your inflection, so you lose the “disc jockey” sound and simply become the one voice in the room people just want to listen to.
Here’s another step.
What all great air talents and great voice actors have in common is that they’re INTERESTING.
Long before Star Wars and Star Trek, my Wonder Years generation grew up watching black and white sci-fi shows such as The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, and movies about aliens landing in your very back yard (“The Day the Earth Stood Still“).
Klaatu barada nikto was a hashtag before there were hashtags!
One of my odd little favorites was a flick called “The Next Voice You Hear…” with James Whitmore and Nancy Davis, who later became the more famous First Lady Nancy Reagan. The plot revolved what would happen if God’s voice spoke to us over the radio. I reckon’ that’s the ultimate FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
Are there things on your station for which listeners fear missing out? Do they have eager anticipation that the next voice they hear may say something fascinating and worthy of talking about?
There comes a time in every career when you have to stop being a polished reader of words or some sort of veneer, and just become yourself. That “self” may be a somewhat invented persona like Larry David’s on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” or it may as revealing of who you really are as possible, given the format.
But you need voice acting chops to accomplish this. Here’s a three-word exercise that’ll help you both on the air and in commercial voiceover work:
In my travels I’ve found almost all discussions about programming revolve around things close to us; the music and deejays, the promotions and contests, the clocks and service elements. While these elements are important to the station’s design, they are not transformative.
Because those things are all about us. And the closer things are to us the more important they seem. To us.
You hear this every day, if you listen long enough: The same stories, with almost, or nearly almost the exact same wording every newscast. This is a quick way to not stand out at all.
One of radio’s greatest pioneers, Gordon McLendon, even though he primarily did Top 40 (which he and Kansas City’s Todd Storz INVENTED), was known for hiring and training incredibly talented News staffs. I had the great pleasure of working with two of them, at KNUS in Dallas (which helped change the landscape of FM radio in the early seventies) and KILT, longtime Top 40 giant in Houston.
Both news staffs were incredible – chock full of amazing writers with riveting deliveries, every bit as much “personalities” as the disc jockeys were. And each of them learned on Day One the McLendon Rule: Rewrite every story for every newscast.