Imagine this. Your radio station goes away. Protests flood social media. People start petitions to get your station back. And get this; the people who start this movement are people who DON’T even listen to your station.
In the book “Deep and Wide,” Andy Stanley shares his hope that the church’s presence be good for the community, even viewed that way by those who don’t attend. He shares his desire that the church is seen as such a good neighbor that people would miss it if wasn’t there.
There is no better time than this current coronavirus pandemic for Christian radio to be a good neighbor.
In his book “Know What You’re For,” Jeff Henderson shares that most businesses see their customers as fans in the stands rooting for the business. His suggestion is transformative. Imagine your customers are on the field and you’re rooting for them.
We’re really good at talking about ourselves, how “real” we are, and what we want from our listeners (“help keep us on the air”), but frankly, we often fall short in demonstrating what our listeners and our local community mean to us.
This may seem academic, but I’m hearing a lot of that “bull-horn” delivery lately.
Finding the right volume isn’t usually something you just “get.” It takes exploring different mic techniques, and learning as much as you can about your vocal “instrument.” Being able to “caress” something, vocally, is important. We’re voice actors, not just “personalities.”
Voice trackers, in particular, often sound totally out of touch with the music, because they don’t think about volume and intonation. Or, as the great voice coach Marice Tobias calls it, “noticing” a word, rather than the typical instruction to “inflect” or “sell” it.
Let me try to quantify this for you:
I’ve heard some remarkable radio this past week.
I’ve heard stories of the helpers, whether those in hospitals and research labs, or those restocking grocery shelves late at night, or those knocking on a neighbor’s door to see if they are okay. (Our neighbor’s daughter is quarantined because she flew in from London).
I’ve heard radio stations stop what they usually do to put their “flag in the ground” and share faith in inspiring and practical ways.
“When the story of COVID-19 is just a story we tell let’s make sure our stories are stories worth telling.” Andy Stanley
I’ve heard fresh perspectives in contrast to what is heard from mainstream media, perspectives that can actually be helpful to people.
Content, Content, wherefore art thou?
Minutia, “filler” items, stupid lists like “12 things you can do with chili peppers,” reading vapid social media postings that a lot of people’s own relatives don’t care about. Why are we settling for this?
I probably get asked about Content and Show Prep more than anything else. It’s impossible to tell you what will be good Content tomorrow, but I do know the principle that makes it easier – and FAST:
You can’t MAKE something matter. It either does, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, blathering on about it or making stupid jokes to try and “dress it up” won’t work.
So how do you know what matters? KNOW YOUR LISTENER. Not some cold, hard, station profile; but who he or she is, what they look like, where they came from, what their lives are like. The more you can put yourself in the listener’s shoes, the easier it is to serve subjects up like Bobby Flay fixing breakfast.
Hold your feet to the fire on NOT doing ANYTHING that doesn’t matter. It’s magic.
When I was growing up there was a television station in Dallas that kicked off the 10 o’clock news with, “It’s ten o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”
Despite being an ABC affiliate, which was the third place network in those days, Channel 8 always dominated the news ratings. Many of their news anchors were on Channel 8 for decades!
Trust is not impulsive. Trust can only be built over time. Trust is built with a mindset of a farmer, not that of a hunter. Plant, tend, plow, fertilize, weed, repeat. Build relationships and be there when they need you.
What is your station’s role while the Coronavirus is in the headlines and impacting your listeners’ daily lives?
Consider three things: