“We need more P1s!,” the voice echoes as if calling for a clean up on Aisle 9.
I get the math. 40% of your weekly cume can contribute over 70% of your average quarter horses.
The problem is – this is just stats and numbers. P1s, er… fans, are real people with real lives and real options, not statistics that we can manipulate on a spreadsheet.
Man, there’s a lot of “Foghorn Leghorn” loudmouths on the radio these days – especially in Sports and Talk formats, but they’re honking away at full blast in other formats, too.
You do know you have a microphone, right? And the mic is the Listener’s EAR, so there’s really no need to shout into it.
Turn on the Game Show Network sometime and watch “The $25,000 Pyramid” and you’ll see the great Dick Clark. Dick was really the first “veejay” doing American Bandstand, became known as “America’s oldest teenager,” did countless other things (his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve broadcasts were legendary), and was a terrific guest, if you ever had the chance to get him on your show.
On last week’s show I shared five nifty lessons on programming we can learn from staring at The Weather Channel for three straight days. In my effort to squeeze one more quarter hour of reading from you I reckon’ I better come up with a few more to deliver on last week’s Waffle House tease (that’s Fear of Missing Out, don’tcha know).
We can learn a lot from The Weather Channel…
In a coaching session this week, it occurred to me that most talents today might not have been as fortunate as I was in terms of who influenced them. The names might not mean much to you, but I started off working for a wonderful P. D. named Larry Ryan in Shreveport, my home town, whose mantra was “Do something! Any idiot can intro songs.” That gave me permission to try – and equally important – permission to fail.
Then I worked for radio pioneer Gordon McLendon (who, with Todd Storz, INVENTED Top 40). Gordon was all about Creativity, too, and P. D. Michael Spears taught me tight, concise formatics to harness that creativity.
“A cable channel with nothing but weather?”
I remember the initial reaction after being accustomed to weather occupying no more than three minutes on the local TV news. Now we can hardly imagine life without a 24 hour cable channel, particularly when a hurricane is approaching.
We can learn a lot from The Weather Channel.
There’s a famous story that David Letterman tells about Johnny Carson. One night on The Tonight Show, fairly early in his career, the young Letterman was a guest. And he and Carson got on one of those rolls where everything each of them said was funnier than the last thing. The audience was in stitches laughing at each line, and finally Carson broke into the “patter” he had used as a magician when he was young – the absurdity of which resulted in uproarious laughter that led perfectly into a commercial break.
During the break, with the set darkened, Carson, who was a mentor to Dave, leaned over and said, “You’ll use everything you’ve ever known.”
Truly great air talents know this, and it’s a really interesting parameter to work on as a coach. But the key is IF you can figure out exactly what the “fuse” is to light that “nugget” up.
Often, I see air talents with a good concept, but no idea of how it might work. Using something just because you have that bullet in the chamber doesn’t mean that you can just fire it indiscriminately.
Think “What would facilitate this?” Because it has to make sense in the flow of the conversation, or it’ll sound awkward.
So, what did you think?
Key findings included playing songs people know, playing songs people love, and creating an environment that helps listeners feel good (particularly important in appealing to new listeners).
Those of us attending CMB’s Momentum in Orlando last week were enlightened by researcher Alan Burns’ findings on how to make a CCM station more attractive to new listeners.
After donuts and decaf, a discussion of these findings featured really smart folks like SOS’ Scott Herrold, Salem’s Mike Blakemore, and Alan Mason, who swooned the ladies with his manly voice..
“Oh, my,” I overheard from one sitting next to me, “he must have been in radio.”
Over decades of radio, including working with literally hundreds of stations in all different formats, I’ve found that there’s one thing every truly great station has, and the ones that aren’t great don’t have: Everybody cares.
In a station where everybody cares, no sloppy Production is done (or left for someone else to do), attention to detail is a “given,” and bad or uncooperative attitudes are simply not tolerated. You find high-profile, high-level talent, but no prima donnas. Everyone is clear on what the Strategy of the station is, and that strategy is carried out on every level, from the person answering the phones to the General Manager.
That may sound pretty obvious, but if it’s so “obvious,” why don’t more stations have it?
Being a lifelong learner is a great gift, as reflected in Coach John Wooden’s famous quote.
“Each of us is becoming, becoming something better or something worse. And we become what we teach and what we learn.”
I have an idea.
If you’re one of the hundreds of Christian radio/music pros to descend on CMB’s Momentum this week in Orlando, open yourself up to learning. The great irony is that the higher one is in the organizational chart the less inclined toward a learning spirit – just when they need it the most.
“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.