If you’re so busy doing so many things – so many contests, so many (management) “initiatives,” so many other jobs (podcasts, voice tracking another station, writing website articles, social media postings) – you will inevitably lose Creativity.
You only have so many breaks during a show to talk about ANYTHING. There are always things to plug, but you can’t plug everything equally.
The winning template is to only have one “big” thing and one “little” thing. Say a major contest as your Big thing, and something else as your little thing. That way, you still have time to do something creative on a regular basis as a main ingredient of your show. Continue reading
It’s said that radio pioneer Gordon McLendon used to put prospective news people through a simple, but incredibly revealing, test.
He’d hand you a story off the AP wire and say “Read this… to yourself.” After the talent read it (silently), Gordon would turn the page face down on the desk and say, “Now tell me what it said.”
He wanted Storytellers. Writers who could take “facts” and turn them into stories, with an “arc” to them.
All the McLendon stations had incredible News talents who, even in Top 40 (the format that he and Todd Storz invented), compelled listeners to stay with the station instead of going somewhere else to keep up with what was happening.
Obviously, this isn’t just a technique to use for News. It plays into everything we do. Any idiot can read to me, but not everyone can ENGAGE me.
This is THE point of even being on the air in the first place.
Connecting with the listener – as soon as possible in any given break – is Job One. I’ve spent hundreds of hours doing sessions about this one thing with air talent in every English-speaking format, and the best example is the simplest one:
I like bubblegum. You like bubblegum, too. Let’s be friends.
That’s the way we form relationships as kids. We start with what we have in common. The problem with so much of radio today, where some faceless voice selects an article or a subject from the internet or social media, then adds a lame punch line to it, is that it lacks that fundamental “bubblegum” ingredient.
This is why “News of the Weird,” “Trivia,” “Stupid Criminal Stories,” “This Day in History,” and contests that are too complicated and don’t sound like I can win the prize anyway are massive “Fails” today.
Reject all those. START with what you and the listener have in common. If you don’t really know who the station is targeting, ask your PD today. If you need help learning how to do this, well, there’s always coaching…
Often, promos get waylaid by trying too hard to say too much. In particular, “slug lines” (tags) on the end try WAY too hard.
“He’s a little bit goofy. She’s a little bit ditzy…”
“Making you laugh every day…”
“They’re here to lift you up…”
Blah, blah, blah.
You don’t need these. Here’s the template…
1. A quick intro: “Jack and Belinda…”
2. A sound bite from the show.
3. Then a tag: “Jack and Belinda, Mornings on 93.9 KBGL…”
Cut out the adjectives and superlatives. Let the clip do the work.
There’s a huge difference between “selling” and “telling.”
“Selling” something isn’t nearly as effective as simply Telling me about it; sharing. There’s a built-in resistance to someone pounding a message home.
Disc jockeys are told to “sell” liners, copy points, etc. But you don’t “sell” your friends on something. You just share what you know or believe. (If you do “sell” all the time, believe me, your friends are tired of it and you need to stop.) This is why disc jockeys aren’t doing movie trailers and national ads.
In working with many voice actors that you hear every day on national spots, I’ve often stressed just talking to the listener/viewer. A great example from the past is voiceover master Mason Adams, famous for “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.”
Just talk to me. It works.