With all the conversations going on in radio circles about the uses of social media, there’s a giant, Grand Canyon-sized difference being overlooked. Let’s just use Facebook as the best example, simply because it’s the most-utilized social media platform.
As of this writing, there are about 225 million people in the United States using Facebook.
But there are over 323 million people in this country, and well over 90% of them listen to radio for a significant amount of time every single day. So radio has somewhere between sixty-five to ninety million more people using it every single day than Facebook does.
I’ve talked a lot about how random postings on Facebook don’t make for compelling radio Content; quite the opposite, usually. And this is why: because they’re used in totally different ways.
I hear there are more “religious” radio stations in the United States than any other format category. Unfortunately those religious stations combined have fewer listeners than any other. The reason for that is quite simple.
A radio station cannot grow its audience unless it is designed to grow its audience. To grow a station one must think beyond songs and deejays and sweepers. One must think strategically. Eh, gad!
A strategy is a plan that incorporates big picture concepts such as:
Why does the radio station exist?
Who are our listeners? What do they desire and expect from our station?
No matter how many songs in a row you play or “commercial-free zones” your station may promote, radio is still at its core about the CONNECTION between you and the Listener.
A great Consultant can help you map out a Strategy, but the essence of Coaching is about how many ways there are to carry out that strategy. And when it comes to engaging the listener, and making that person want to listen longer or more often, sometimes the little things matter more than the big things.
Here’s an example, from morning team Tom & Ana on Contemporary Christian station Spirit 105.3 in Seattle:
Common ground. We talk a lot about it in our little format, and that’s a good thing.
Who’s your target demo? How many kids? What’s their favorite TV show? Where do they go on summer vacation?
All good stuff we need to embrace.
“To move an audience, especially a diverse audience, from where they are to where you want them to be requires common ground. If you want me to follow you on a journey, you have to come get me. The journey must begin where I am, not where you are or where you think I should be.”
But there is a common ground that we seldom consider and about which few books are written.
The power of NOW.
“The Best Variety at Work…”
“(City)’s Best Music…”
“We Play More Music…”
“The Home of the Fifty-Minute Music Hour…”
We’ve all heard these.
None of them – not one – is true.
So why are you using them?
In a world surrounded by B. S., why are you adding to the junk pile of words thrown together like they fell out of a bowl of Alpha Bits and made what sounds like a sentence?
What do any of these say about the Values of your radio station? Or your city? Or anything, really, that’s meaningful to your audience?
Let’s take a close look…
We can cling so tightly to the things we know that we don’t go beyond and learn how to apply it.
“The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.”
- Knowledge is knowing the facts.
- Understanding is the ability to glean meaning from those facts. Often that involves seeing things in context, perhaps relating to circumstances, best practices, or strategy.
- Wisdom is knowing what to do with that knowledge.
A 16-year-old may have enough knowledge to drive the car but you wouldn’t just toss them the keys and say, “Have a good weekend!”
“He’s got such a great voice.”
We used to hear that a lot, but today, it’s virtually meaningless. In L.A. and New York, the big voices are doing tractor pull spots and horror movie spots, and you still hear the network TV guys doing that big, mighty “announcement” thing some, but be honest – doesn’t it just sound kind of cheesy?
The voice that gets the most work today is the midrange voice with great inflection. But even then, it’s not the old-school radio “emphatic” read; it’s more, as the great voice acting coach Marice Tobias says, “noticing” a word.
What do we say?
More people have been killed at schools so far in 2018 than have been killed while serving in the U.S. Military, so says the Washington Post.
Remember back when baseball and football games on TV were interrupted by some nut case running onto the field?
Then something changed. The folks in charge of the telecasts decided to quit pointing the cameras at them. The incidents stopped.
I don’t speak as a psychologist or counselor, as one from law enforcement, or even as a journalist. I speak as a broadcaster that understands that our stations have impact and a responsibility.
One word can change everything. If you’re going to be a truly good Talent, you have to actually think about the words that are coming out of your mouth. I work with people all the time on this.
For example, I heard this the other day:
“I want to hear from you RIGHT NOW. Can you think of a song that’s got something about automobiles in it?”
No. And even if I could, why should I call you? What’s in it for me?
You can’t treat listeners like employees. They’re not here to do your bidding. You’re here to do theirs, actually.
I heard someone play the violin this morning in church. I love the violin, but for a different reason than most. I love the violin because my mother played the violin.
“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is if they are showing you the way.”
“Each person has a different set of biases and values and assumptions, and those world views are influenced by their parents, their schools, the places they live and the experiences they’ve had to date. Their world view is the lens they use to determine whether or not they’re going to believe a story.”
How does your station connect with the things your listeners love most?