There’s a lot of buzz nowadays about “being authentic.” Some stations even state it as a concrete goal, but come nowhere near it when that mic opens. Here’s why:
Even if you think you’re being authentic, that isn’t determined by YOU. It’s determined by the Listener.
Actors stuck in soap operas, who would love to star in feature films but never get offered any, think they’re being authentic. But of course, they’re only ACTING authentic.
It was one of those neighborhood association things and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to debate the great pothole scandal of 2019 (and get some chocolate chip cookies).
I looked around the room and didn’t recognize one person. No one introduced themselves. After an awkward few minutes it dawned on me that I was in the wrong place. And worse, they had no cookies.
How do you make someone feel welcome?
That’s easy if you’re inviting new neighbors. You prepare low risk munchies, (the anchovy and liver dip will have to wait till you know them better), you get name tags for the guests, and you make sure to introduce everyone as they arrive. (“These are the Joneses. They live in the house on the corner with the overgrown shrubs.”)
In other words…
You want to make them feel welcome as quickly as possible.
Great radio stations are different from just “radio stations where people work.” Great stations know who they are, who the listener is, and have air talent that competes with each other on who will have the best “moment” that day.
They also root for each other to have their own memorable moments, too. Being the best player on a team with only one or two good players – well, there’s no real joy in that. We should want to lift each other up and challenge each other to do really good radio. Every day.
Our minds crave simplicity.
What are THOSE stations doing? Let’s do that!
We only know what we know. Nothing beyond that.
“WYSIATI… What you see is all there is.
“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little…
You will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit what you know into a coherent pattern.” Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow”
The saying is that “Everyone has a story.”
That may be true, but the problem is that most people aren’t very good at TELLING it.
That’s why you have to EDIT them.
It’s Beginning > Middle > End.
What it should NOT be (but we hear way too often) is “Meandering” – Beginning > Middle that’s too long > Ending that’s predictable, or something being repeated that was said earlier in the story.
TAKE OUT what’s nonessential. When you eliminate unnecessary details and nebulous “side roads,” and you don’t try too hard to either make it “meaningful” or to somehow get to some punch line that just comes across as silly or insincere, you’ve left more room for Emotions. And that – the Emotional Core at the center of a story – is what impacts the listener.