A good portion of today’s radio listeners – and just about all of the next generation of listeners – want their audio media to adopt the style of social media.
Well, that’s not exactly possible. For one thing, radio is still the biggest social media phenomenon in history. Bigger than Facebook, bigger than Twitter, more social than TV or movies.
If you need proof, think about this: there are millions of people who don’t have Facebook or Instagram or Twitter accounts, but there is no one who hasn’t listened to radio. You don’t have to read it, you don’t have to post anything, and there’s just “like” (it’s on) or “unlike” (turn it off). It’s simple and pure, IF you sound like right now instead of like 1994.
So here’s how you still sound valid without coming across like children to your core demo, or like old geezers with bad hairpieces to your younger listeners:
Instead of announcing, just think about sharing.
Instead of presenting, try inviting.
Stop ‘selling’ things on the air. No one is buying.
You can either be my friend, riding in the car with me (or at my desk at work), or you can be the audio equivalent of pop-up ads on a website.
Choose wisely. The clock is ticking.
If you need help, well…I assume that’s why you’re reading this. There are people here that you can call. If you’ve never worked with a great Consultant or a truly focused Talent Coach, you’re just driving a car with no air conditioning and manual windows.
Every Christmas for the last several years I’ve thrown a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket down the street at the Piggly Wiggly. But not this year. Nope. They’ve changed their bell ringer. The guy standing outside the store ringing the bell is going to be different this season, so I’ve decided not to give.
Ludicrous, isn’t it? Obviously no one would stop donating to the Salvation Army because Bernie replaced Barry at the bucket.
Then why is it that our radio stations hear this type of complaint fairly regularly?
You’ve change programs!
You’ve changed the disc jockeys!
You cancelled Adventures in Odyssey!
You did this ONE thing that I don’t like… so I’m not going to donate to your station anymore!
They are basically saying “you’ve change the bell ringer.”
I know what the Salvation Army stands for. I believe in their cause of helping those who can’t help themselves. My understanding of the vision and purpose of their ministry is far more important to me than who stands outside Winn-Dixie ringing a bell.
Just this week I overheard a listener tell my friend Tyler McKenzie , “I got a mammogram because of you.” Tyler and her friend Ellis are the #1 morning show in their town, and not because they play 5 in a row or they hit the spotsets at the quarter hours.* It’s because they are meaningful, and may have even saved someone’s life.
No one will refuse to go to New York Yankees’ games because Derek Jeter has retired. I reckon no one stopped going to Starbucks because they quit serving the Captain Crunch Frappuccino.
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, you’ll likely hear complaints about the bell ringer because the bigger story isn’t being told.
*There is nothing wrong with tactics that potentially minimize tune out or aid additional listening occasions, but they should not be confused with creating compelling reasons to love your station.
This tip was originally one that I used in doing, then coaching, team shows. But it actually applies to any on-air conversation, like a contest winner call, for instance.
Here’s the key to having it all unfold the right way:
It’s like playing “leapfrog” as a child. Each thing said by you or the other person should move the subject forward – just like one person leapfrogs the other in the kids’ game.
Add to this the mentality of the 2 most basic Rules of Improv. They are:
1. The answer to any premise is always “Yes.” (This doesn’t have to be spoken. It can simply be understood. The buy-in is what matters.)
2. Then you add your point, moving things along. For example, in Improv, if you say “I’m trying to grow a third arm,” I should answer with something like “Cool…!” then add something like “It’d be great if you could grow it out of the back of your neck. Then you could drive and scratch your back at the same time.”
The “Yes, and…” principle guarantees momentum. You’re constantly adding something, rather than simply agreeing with what was just said, or repeating it in slightly different words. (Remember, true momentum isn’t about pace. It’s about always moving forward, and in as straight a line as possible.)
You can apply this to solo work, too. Try to never let it bog down or repeat yourself. Once you master this, you make everyone else sound like they’re just rambling or babbling.
We don’t have enough money! We don’t have enough marketing and research! We don’t have enough people!
Surprise! In more than forty years of being inside tall stations and short stations, successful stations and gonna-be successful stations, I’ve never heard anyone say they had enough stuff!
Every station needs more something! But every station has the same amount of something, too!
Rather than focusing on what we don’t have perhaps we should consider focusing on making the most of what we do have.
I’ve seen some program directors spend so much time on the on-line forums and Facebook during their workday that I wonder when they have time to actually program their stations. (Answer: They don’t). I’ve seen organizations spend so much time in meetings that they no longer have time to get anything done.
While obviously some meetings are important, Robert Pozen, productivity expert and contributor to the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote that meetings are “the bane of corporate life.” He insists that companies are scheduling far too many of them, failing to maximize that wasted time and – in effect – ignoring the “real” work of getting things done.
In short, meetings are an excellent way to showcase how busy you are, but are a horrific way to let actual productivity slide.
My talented friends at NGEN share their creativity on wasting time!
Here’s a suggestion on how to make better use of your time, from Jack Kinder in “Breakfast with Ted”:
“At the end of each day, …sit down and identify the many things to be done the following day. On a second piece of paper, …list in the order of their priority.”
The next day start at the top of your list and scratch out tasks completed. Moving from top to bottom, you’ll seldom mark out all of them. However, you will form the habit of focusing on the highest priorities!
“Don’t get so busy dribbling that you forget we’re supposed to score.” Phil Jackson