Barney Fife, the classic Don Knotts character on the old Andy Griffith Show, probably never thought he’d become a role model – at least not for radio. But that’s exactly what happened.
Sure, many radio jocks share Barney’s ego, bravado, nervousness under pressure, taking rules too seriously (or ignoring them), trying to pretend you know more than you actually do, bad singing voice, and rather vague knowledge of the human anatomy (“the obondalla isn’t in the leg, Ange…it’s in the brain”), but the passing on of the “idiot torch” is not what made him a role model. It’s that in his shirt pocket, this fearless deputy, this symbol of law and order, this staunch upholder of the people’s rights carried… his one bullet.
Not long ago, I heard this so-called “story” in a newscast:
“They did a study letting dogs just hear someone yawn. They responded with their own about half the time. But when the canine heard a familiar person like their owner yawn, it happened five times more often.”
Who cares? If you asked ten people what mattered most to them that day, I’d give you 1000 to 1 odds that dogs yawning wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of that list.
When I asked the air talent about this, the justification for it was that it was a “human interest” story.
I don’t see the Interest. (Plus, saying “the canine” is that stilted old newsy language, like saying “the five-foot-eight-inch male was spotted running away from the scene.” No one would EVER say this in real life.)
Yes, I keep harping on this, but I’ll stop griping about it if you stop boring people to death. What do you not get about the fact that you’re in competition for the listener’s time with every other station, hundreds of TV channels, social media, audio books and gaming?
Don’t let your SHOW be the thing that makes the dog yawn.
Here’s a really simple way to do show prep. Think “Today, tomorrow, next week, next month.”
Today and tomorrow are pretty obvious, but there’s a reason to always glance at what’s coming up next week, or next month. It’s all about how the brain works. Once the “left brain” (the logical, mathematical, “everything in its place”) side is made aware of the “next big thing” the RIGHT side of the brain (the creative, emotional, artistic side) will start noodling around on how to do it well.
This also gives you time to put things in motion – maybe a promotional or social media angle or follow-up, or finding some music that will stage it perfectly on the air.
If you wait until the last minute and think you can just wing it, pray that I don’t start coaching your competition. You can’t do left brain AND right brain stuff at the same time with any great degree of success. No one can. That’s why golfers work on the practice range until things become subconscious, then when they get into a tournament, it’s not about swing thoughts, it’s just about hitting the shot.
Let’s make this short and sweet. When I tune you in, is there something going onhere? Or is there nothing going on here?
If you think just playing the music and constantly promoting stuff will work, welcome to mediocrity.
Any idiot can intro a song. Any idiot can read a liner or plug the website, or read something from the internet that the listener can get on his or her smart phone in three seconds.
I used to think of my show as “The Adventures of Tommy Kramer” (or one of the five different morning shows I was part of). Like Seinfeld in the 90’s or Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory now, each show was an episode in itself, pertaining to THAT DAY.
Yes, the listener wants companionship, but not with someone who’s bland or boring. Whether it’s evident in your research or not, the listener wants a show.
DO SOMETHING, instead of doing nothing. Try stuff. You’ll be surprised at the results.
If you need help, call me. With a little coaching, you can jump start (or rejuvenate) your career. Every professional athlete or actor you admire has a coach.
Here’s the real key to everything you do on the air: EMOTIONAL content. No matter how factual something may be, you have to remember that the Listener doesn’t really bond with the radio through the left side of the brain (the logical, mathematical side). The Listener bonds with you through the right side – the emotional, artistic side of the brain. I touched on this in an earlier tip, but people tend to think that only “big” things require emotion; Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Memorial Day, etc.
Even in something as simple as a contest or some station information about a concert or website feature, plugging into my EMOTIONS is key. Manage your emotions to win at the casino. That’s why your trivia contest or overly wordy weather forecast doesn’t really click. We’ve covered trivia before, but that “clear to partly cloudy with southerly winds 5 to 10 miles per hour and a 30 percent chance of rain’ stuff is really boring, too. The Weather Channel app on my iPhone can give me that – AND show me the satellite picture right over my house. But if you said, “no wind to speak of, but we could sure use that rain,” I might actually put some value in your doing the weather.