I was intrigued by the old cowboy. He stood underneath the shade of a large oak tree on a sidewalk in the Fort Worth Stockyards willingly receiving five dollar bills from moms and dads, grandmas and granddads so that their kiddos could sit for a moment on the back of a long-retired longhorn steer. What followed was two minutes of smiles, laughter, waving and cameras clicking capturing the joy on the faces of these young ‘uns. A splendid time was had by all.
I did the math.
$5 every two minutes. That’s $150 an hour.
A remarkable moment in my favorite movie “Field of Dreams” is the soliloquy from the brilliant actor James Earl Jones:
John Frost, Alan Mason, and David Sams (executive producer of Keep The Faith) pictured with broadcasting legend Bud Paxson (founder of Home Shopping Network, Paxson Communications, and PAX-TV), a man whose influence was life-changing in our careers.
Thanks to my friend Randy Brown for this thought:
Often, when you select a YouTube clip, it starts with a commercial. In many instances, a message pops up in the lower right portion of the screen that says “You can skip to video in…” and then it counts down 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, then you click it to get to what you actually wanted to see in the first place.
That’s the way people think when they listen to you. You start talking, and in the listener’s head, the 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 countdown begins.
Get on into it, or the listener “clicks” mentally – or sometimes even physically – and isn’t hearing you anymore. It’s just “blah-blah-blah” noise in the background. So you want to connect the Subject to the Listener as concisely as you can.
We have to EARN EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF LISTENING that we get. You do not deserve being listened to just because your transmitter is on.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual starts in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth
It was kindergarten, my first year of school, at a small school in the Mohave desert. I thought I was doing ok, but then the report card came out with that dreaded admonition.
Doesn’t play well with others.
That appears on my report cards many times in my early years. You might think that’s because I was always trying to take control and tell others what to do. But you’d be surprised, because it was the opposite. I always removed myself from the others, where I could be in my own.
I was painfully shy up until my senior year in high school. Some people who know me now can’t believe it, but it’s true. I wasn’t at all social.
But I knew and saw plenty of the other type of “doesn’t play well with others.” Always had to have their way, would take toys from the other kids, and generally tried to boss around a bunch of other five year olds.
Sometimes I think they all grew up and got into radio.
If only the words we use were compassionate words… and not distant newscaster words.
In our format, what if we only used the words of a friend, not those of a scolding teacher, or a detached observer.
I literally heard these words on a radio station this week:
“Extricated the lone occupant…”
…which, I guess, means that someone’s daughter or son, or brother or sister, or husband or wife was trapped in their car when heroes (someone’s daughter or son, or brother or sister, or husband or wife) came to their rescue, something those heroes do almost every day for someone’s daughter or son, or brother or sister, or husband or wife.
Instead of instructing and scolding, I wonder how many more people would listen if if our stations were known for the caring and loving people on the air.
What if the key to your station’s impact was contained in these simple words:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
After you’ve become a successful talent, one of the most significant challenges with your show’s Content is knowing when to stop doing something.
People listen for 10 minutes – 20 if you’re lucky. Huge fans of the show will listen longer, unless they feel that it’s just rehash. Then, even they will go find something else.
So try this on for size:
[A] Whatever you do, treat it as a “one-off” break, meaning that it could stand alone. Plan to move on to something else the next break.
[B] But IF you get a decent reaction—a phone caller, for instance, or if you have a teammate on the show that might have a different “take” on it, okay, air that.
[C] Everything else on that subject now has to EARN being on. This means it has to cover NEW ground, not just repeat a point that’s already been made or give a second example of something we already heard.
Think of it like movies with sequels. Almost every time, the sequels get worse. The 4th Indiana Jones movie, the 4th Lethal Weapon movie, the additional 3 Star Wars movies, or any Jennifer Aniston movie.
“My friend told me to call because you called out the name of my daughter. I’ve never listened to your station before!”
Stations that play the Family Name Game® understand the power of a name. A community of voices introducing traffic or weather, birthdays, anniversaries, can all be used effectively to create word-of-mouth. (They can also be used ineffectively adding clutter).
Coca-Cola’s new campaign invites you to #ShareaCoke with the someone whose name is on the label. This a ‘trigger’, something designed in that creates a reason to act.
It seems so easy to hear the mistakes your competitors make – the things they do that are dumb, not thought out well, phony-sounding, pukey, lame, irritating or obvious.
But for most air talents, it’s hard to hear ourselves the same way.
It’s because we know it’s us. Someone we like. Someone we root for and want to succeed.
So here’s the lesson:
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The sign on the door said CLOSED. Our favorite Mexican food restaurant back home has closed its doors.
It would be easy to assume that the food went downhill, the service got worse, and the mariachis started singing “La Bamba” off key. But none of those things happened.
The restaurant stayed the same, but everything around them changed. Ironically, it was a victim of being in a neighborhood that was booming. Apartments and office buildings sprouted up all around hiding the restaurant from ravenous fajita-hunting motorists. Trendy new restaurants made what was hidden easily forgettable.
The same thing can happen to your radio station.
Gary Larson, the creator of The Far Side comic strip, had this great two-panel cartoon.
The first panel was titled, “What we say to dogs.” A guy scolding his dog was saying “Okay, Ginger! I’ve had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage, or else!”
The second panel was titled, “What they hear.” Same drawing – the guy pointing his finger at the dog, but the dog is hearing him say, “Blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah blah.”
This not only applies to the Listener – you have to be talking about things that he or she CARES about – it also applies to your Air Talent. Say you’ve had a coaching session, and decided that for the next two weeks, you want the Talent to work on being concise.