Now I have to admit it…
…when I saw this headline I did a little double take.
Now, I don’t want to offend anyone but as a fella who grew up in Texas, I found this headline as wacky as Seattleites voting for Folgers, Minnesotans voting for Cheez Whiz, or John Frost taking the award for the best looking guy in high school. (That actually happened by the way, but not because I was voted that but because I literally “took” the award).
Taco Bell? The favorite? What’s up with that?
Media observer Mark Ramsey suggests that familiarity IS preference. You can’t prefer something you don’t know, and few would dispute that Taco Bell is most familiar.
We all fall into habits, and one I’ve heard a LOT recently is an air talent rattling off the “basics” (name of the station, artist, maybe the song title, the time), then saying his or her name LAST as you “gird your loins” (or gather yourself) to do Content.
The problem with this (besides being lazy) is that the listener learns to recognize this on a subconscious level, so you’re – by definition – NOT doing the unexpected.
Look, we can have a conversation that flows naturally, or we can serve up an agenda of a habitual group of words. This choice is crucial.
And if it sounds in any way like you’re just in “autopilot” mode at the beginning of a break, that sameness from break to break does the opposite of piquing someone’s interest in what follows.
There’s a deeper view of this, too. Except for saying the name of the station the first thing out of your mouth (which I believe is essential – that “branding” thing), all the other elements should vary from break to break. Sameness breeds boredom. Mixing things up just a bit makes what you’re saying be more readily received by the listener (on an unconscious level) as NEW information. It’s science, and it’s the way God made us.
So get off your duff and work at this; it will actually make a difference. Radio is doing a great job right now of holding a gun to its head and saying “Stand back or I’ll shoot.”
We need every little advantage we can get.
Let’s have a little fun this week. Let’s play “You’re the assistant PD.”
Ask each person on the staff to write down the one thing they would change about your station. Then collect all the responses and oh so carefully place them in a special file.
I’m often thrust into a discussion about changing something that is fundamental to the station’s success, whether that be the music, an air personality or two, the station branding, or a promotional or marketing campaign. Just this week I was drawn into a discussion with someone that had a “new” music agenda. I suggested that we should have a “favorite” music agenda.
In a moment of revelation someone might be so bold as to ask, “what do the listeners think?”
Most air talents assume that if you’re on the air, you must have a good voice. But in reality, about half the people on the air in every format I hear have taken that for granted, and stunted their growth.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some pretty impressive voice actors that you hear on national commercials, station Imaging, and movie trailers every day. And universally, the ones who are the most successful have really studied what makes them unique, and how to fully use the vocal tools at hand.
Here’s what I mean…
What if I told you that you can increase your ratings 30% overnight? Admit it. You’d probably be curious, just like when Marie Osmond says she’s lost 50 pounds without exercise AND she eats chocolate cake every day!
People are drawn to black and white opinions because they are simple, not because they are true. Truth demands serious effort and thought.”
Actually, you might increase your ratings 30% overnight, but it’s not because of some magic pill or trick. It’s because Nielsen is changing they way they tabulate when you plug the gizmo in the thingamajig.