With the way the so-called “News” is going nowadays, the easiest thing to do is to simply bring a subject up, then mock it or put a cheap punch line at the end.
But here’s the thing… radio – in ALL formats – owes the listener more than that. We’re primarily here to inform, entertain, or both. But I hear music formats that sound lifeless, Imaging in some formats that seems to be sneering in their delivery, “Content” that’s just celebrity gossip flotsam and jetsam, and Talk Radio shows that are just “adopting a posture” and spouting the same one-sided opinions every day.
Here’s a little tidbit I heard and wrote about years ago, but it bears revisiting.
The story is that Steve Jobs, in an Apple “think tank” meeting, challenged everyone with three questions:
- What would be cool?
- What would be fun?
- What would benefit the life of the customer?
If you want a real “mission statement,” that’s it. And it directly applies to radio. If we’re always thinking “What would be cool?” “What would be fun?” and “What would benefit the life of the listener?” we can’t go wrong.
I would back this up with three questions of my own:
- Does your station even think about this?
- If not, why not?
- And how long do you want to totally miss the whole point of even HAVING a radio station in the first place?
As you develop your storytelling skills, be wary of getting too far off the subject.
I recall a Yankees vs. Twins baseball game a couple of seasons ago. The difference between the Yankees broadcast team (all of whom are excellent) and the Minnesota Twins broadcasters was never more evident than when a Twins announcer – during an inning – talked ad nauseum to a lady with a bird refuge. ???
I was dumbfounded. It served no purpose whatsoever. A way off target “human interest” interview that went nowhere and had me shouting at the TV. The only thing I could think to ask her that would have been relevant to baseball is “Remember when Randy Johnson exploded that seagull?”
(You Tube it if you haven’t seen it.)
It’s ALWAYS about the Story.
I remember a couple of seasons ago, a contestant on “Survivor” told about his getting back home after the show was taped just in time to see his mom before she passed away. Time just STOPPED as I imagined that scenario in my own life. (This is just one reason why Survivor has lasted so long.)
YOUR responsibility as an air talent is to make the story as concise and as easy and logical sounding as you possibly can. Survivor is the best-edited show in the history of television; a perfect model for film editors and writers… and storytellers.
You’ll know a great break, a great story, when it takes virtually NO editing to make a promo out of it.
Years ago, when I was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, I found myself sitting with an entire roomful of radio legends. All sorts of “war stories” were flying around that room, and although there was an incredibly wide range of differing personalities, it seemed like we all had one thing in common:
Never Fear Bombing.
Every mistake you make will lead to getting better, because no one wants to make the same mistake a second time.
As a talent coach, I WANT you to jump, THEN see if there’s water in the pool. “Playing it safe” is for people who don’t have very much talent.
Now obviously, you shouldn’t do something that will get you in trouble with a client or the FCC. But those are the only cautions. DO something! TODAY.