Your show, no matter what format you’re in, has a dual purpose:
First, to talk to the person who just tuned in; and second, to talk to the person who’s been listening to you for a few minutes. Their needs are different.
If I hear two breaks in a row on the same subject (like a reset to get into a phone call), I don’t want to hear redundancy or repetitive wording, because that’s boring.
And if I only hear ONE break, you can’t just abruptly continue something you did in the previous break, because I DIDN’T hear that one.
So it’s all about the reset – specifically about the language you use. You can’t just use the same “intro” you used the first time, or the listener who heard the previous break will just think you’re on autopilot. And you should word it so NO prior knowledge is required for someone who just joined your show to understand what you’re talking about.
It’s an art, and one of the main things I work on with people I coach. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even hear themselves blathering out the exact same setup in a follow-up break – or even worse, they DO hear it, but just take the easiest, most mindless road possible. That’s a good way to lose listeners.
My cousin, the brilliant surgeon, told me of the time that a hospital board member barged into the operating room during a gall bladder surgery and told him they should remove the patient’s kidney. He had done the Google search, you see.
It’s a joke, of course, but…
“We would never consent to surgery from a surgeon who hadn’t been to medical school, and perhaps even more important, from one who who hadn’t kept up on the latest medical journals and training. And yet there are people who take pride in doing their profession from a place of naïveté, unaware of or unfamiliar with the most important voices in their field.”
Radio stations would simply be transformed if only those most qualified to make a decision in a certain area were the ones that actually made the decision.
On next week’s show I’ll tell you the story of ‘666,’ introduce you to a man named Noel Burch, and invite you to play along. That’s a tease, don’tcha know?
Note: This is a music radio tip, primarily. However, there is an application to Talk radio that I’ll do in another tip someday.
It’s a terrible thing to say, but honestly, I’ll bet 90% of the breaks I hear are too long. Sometimes just a word or two too long. Sometimes an entire paragraph too long. In severe cases, an entire additional Subject too long.
If I were to eavesdrop on a programming conversation around the coffee machine at your station what would I likely hear? Would it be about the music and deejays, the promotions and contests, and that complaint from that listener. In other words, the things closest to you. Like coffee.
While these elements are important to the station’s design and must be done well, they are not transformative. Why? Because those things are all about us. And the closer things are to us the more important they seem. To us. Like coffee.
It only takes one minute. That’s the premise behind the “One Minute Manager” series of books from my friend Ken Blanchard who shares the concepts of one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands.
A few years ago I learned another lesson from Ken that was just as simple and profound.
My friend Joe Battaglia and I had the privilege of spending several days in San Diego to help Ken Blanchard develop the national radio campaign for “Lead Like Jesus.” As we brainstormed ideas, Ken shared his experience of training the staff of the recently opened Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres baseball club. They began with the end in mind.
What do we want fans to say when they are leaving the ballpark?
The Social Media/Digital Content tidal wave. It seems like the entire radio world seems to be dwelling on this now, but frankly, without a lot of progress. There’s a lot of activity, but not much in the way of results.
Here’s why: Facebook (and all social media) is what people do to kill time; but radio is what people use as a companion while they’re actually DOING something. (And for purposes of this discussion, let’s not even talk about podcasts. Their rate of success is minimal, and they’re not even going to begin being monetized to any successful degree for another decade.)
But here’s what DOES work, in my opinion: SHOW ME MORE THAN WHAT I HEARD (on the air).
Your station’s biggest fans spend less than 10% of their waking hours with your station. How’s that for perspective? And most of that time is when doing something else; driving to work, listening at work, picking up the kids at school.
When was the last time you had a conversation about your station’s programming that revolved around their lives in the real world
Beyond music rotations,
beyond liners and sweepers,
beyond your next big Christian music concert,
beyond things inside your building.
The great brands (and stations) go beyond the nuts and bolts of design and reach into their listeners’ lives. Starbucks is now famous for setting out to became “the third place” in people’s lives, after home and work.
“We want to provide all the comforts of your home and office. You can sit in a nice chair, talk on your phone, look out the window, surf the web… oh, and drink coffee too,” said a Starbucks’ manager.
“Apple, Starbucks, Harley Davidson… all of these have done everything they can to understand the wants and needs of their customer, while delivering them at a human, interactive level.”
The National Football League may not be what you’d think of in designing a great radio station – but it’s an excellent example of what CAN happen.
The “old” NFL was grind-it-out, three yards and a cloud of dust, run the ball most of the time, pass when you had to, cautious. In a word, BORING.
The new NFL is “let it fly” quarterbacks who’ll throw in ANY down-and-distance situation, “go for the ball” defensive backs, “sack the quarterback” pass rushing linemen, trick plays. Pinball-fast pace.