The most common New Year’s resolutions are about losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting more exercise. What if we took those same resolutions and applied them to our radio stations?
We know that eating junk food is unhealthy, but clogging up your radio station with junk programming can weigh you down, too. Junk programming is anything that doesn’t match your listeners’ needs and expectations or done with excellence. The discipline of losing weight isn’t much fun, but you’ll love it when you’re slim and trim.
In the previous two tips, we went over Step 1 – weeding the garden of bad or outdated habits, and really seeing into what an actual Strategy is, rather than just a bunch of Tactics thrown at the wall to see what sticks – and Step 2, which is a crucial building block of developing both Timing and Trust, in what you do on the air and in shaping the knack of pulling people closer to you.
Those are huge, and take some time to believe in, because there are plenty of people who THINK they’re coaches that actually know nothing about starting from scratch and creating an entity that has a real chance to get huge ratings.
Step 3 of my coaching process is the most fun, the longest lasting, and the most imaginative: It’s all about the Art – the “how high can you fly?” quest that all great talents have.
The Christmas season brings out the best in our format. More people tune in than at any other time of the year, some stations topping a million listeners per week, once unthinkable.
Many stations often do the best job of connecting on common values with stories of hope, forgiveness, and fresh starts. Over the last several weeks I have heard some amazing stories and songs.
I heard how Pamela and her daughter were helped to move out of the homeless shelter and start a new life!
Last week, in Step 1, I let you in on the first step of my coaching process – which is primarily a “weeding the garden” period of stripping away outdated habits, and learning how Strategy is different from Tactics. (Tactics should grow out of the Strategy you’ve chosen for the station and for the show; not the other way around.)
The second step is where the real issues come to the surface: Developing Timing and Trust.
What makes someone so special that they are elected to a Hall of Fame?
Is it talent? Or personality? Maybe just right place at the right time?
Bob Costas was inducted this week into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. When you hear people talk about Bob today they refer to his sense of craftsmanship. I knew Bob a few decades ago in St. Louis and people said the same about him then.
“I’ve always been someone who was serious about the craft, so I would review my tapes, and even if it was a good broadcast… I can always pick up something, if it was a matter of timing or selection of words, where if I had just done it slightly different it could have been done just a little bit better.”
There is no music format in need of a craftsmen’s work as the Christian music format. Why?
Recently, a station manager brought me aboard to work with a new air talent that had just come to the station. Even though the new guy done a couple of sessions with me a year or two ago, he’s still afraid of being coached. The boss told me the guy’s exact words were that “He doesn’t want someone coming along trying to make him sound like everyone else.”
Well, first of all, that’s not what I do. Yes, I have some basic principles that have been proven to work over the course of coaching over 350 stations in all formats. But a lot of times, a talent will harbor this fear of making changes simply because (1) he didn’t work with a good coach, (2) he thinks he knows all he needs to know, and/or (3) he associates the “bits” he does with BEING his identity.
So in case you’re approached with working with a talent coach (and there are only about three that deserve to be called that), I’m going to lay out my 3 Steps of Coaching over the course of the next few tips.
Step 1: Correcting bad habits, and “weeding the garden.”
Curious how ‘Tis the season to be jolly’ can often bring out the Ebenezer Scrooges in your audience and in your hallways.
What begins as an attempt to reach the largest number of people to celebrate the Christmas season can end up seeming like a gathering of the Trumps and the Clintons.
Here comes another complaint!
When we hear criticism about our station we often react in a way that is absolute. There is a complaint about song and we are tempted to pull it from the playlist. A criticism of an air talent results in a scolding e-mail to NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.
A general manager once told me he had so over-reacted to every complaint that his station had little worth listening to anymore.
A very good talent I work with did a contest the other day, and had a great winner, who was really surprised and happy about winning lunch for her office from a local deli.
He did a good job with her in the winner call he played on the air, but at the end, he added a whole bunch of “blah blah blah” about the specific hoops the winner had to jump through to get her prize and, along the way, he mentioned the name of a person in the office that no listener would know or care about.
This is what I sent him in his coaching session recap:
“What’s going to change in the next 10 years?”
Jeff Bezos is one of the world’s richest men, having founded Amazon.com in his Seattle garage two decades ago.
He says people ask him that question a lot.
“I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’
And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two – because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection.