At industry functions or during market visits, I’m often asked “Where do you start?” Especially by young air talents.
Here’s the answer: It’s not the Control Room Show. It’s the CAR show. That’s where the listener is. Picture his or her environment, then place yourself IN it.
Little tiny things can destroy that feeling. Here are just three examples…
Saying “out there” (like “out there in Plano”) or any “there”-type references, like “up in x” or “down in x.” This just tells the Listener that he or she is somewhere ELSE, and you’re in a little room, miles and miles away.
Talking “plural”. This takes away from you and me, in the car. Examples: “For all the listeners,” “if any of you,” “some of you…” etc. Talk to ME. ONE person.
Generic Content. I don’t CARE what happened to someone in Wyoming unless I live in Wyoming. As the great Lee Abrams points out, no station seems to be claiming the city, like “Chicago’s…(name of the station)” anymore.
I can’t understand why anyone would give up the local connection voluntarily. Be from HERE, and be PROUD of that.
And be right here with me, in my car…or not. Your choice.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.
I couldn’t believe what I heard. It was a spot for a Christmas concert and they listed the songs they would be play.
Data. Data. Data.
No other format can touch such a deep place in the heart as ours, and yet we often sound like an IRS tax form as we convey data, data, data about this and that.
There is no promotion so brilliant that it can’t be made utterly ineffective by a laundry list of features.
Our goal shouldn’t be to inform listeners of all the facts; our goal should be to help our listeners care.
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The people who seem the most joyous, and that love their jobs, are the ones we want to listen to.
By and large, we don’t tune in to be bummed out. And you don’t even have to be funny; just happy.
Look at it this way – you get paid for moving AIR around. You SHOULD be happy about that. (Other people actually WORK for a living.)
We got into radio because it seemed like it would be fun, and it seemed easy. No one thinks “Let me find the hardest, piece-of-crap job I could possibly do, and then do THAT for the rest of my life.” We all pretty much move by “lines of least resistance.”
You’d be surprised at how many people would gladly swap jobs with you right NOW.
“Christmas isn’t going away, and we’re going to have this discussion every year.”
Two decades ago I remember saying those words to my talented friends Jim Hoge and Dean O’Neal at Z88.3 in Orlando. I remember saying them because we DO have that discussion every year. With every station.
Their situation was unique in that the Z was on a fast growth curve, and it was rare for a Christian station to abandon its regular format and play nothing but Christmas tunes. Besides, there was already a mainstream AC doing all Christmas and they were #1 in the market. (That AC program director was also a tall, skinny kid from west Texas with an ever so manly radio voice).
Within a few years not only had the Z more than tripled its weekly 6+ cume, but had tied the Mainstream AC station in Women 25-54 shares.
Obviously Christmas music wasn’t the only reason for the Z’s remarkable growth, but clearly Jim and Dean seized an opportunity to transform the format’s biggest competitive disadvantage (playing generally unfamiliar music) into a competitive ADvantage.
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The first thing out of your mouth when you open the mic often determines how long someone will listen to you – or if they’re hearing you at all. Almost instantaneously, the Listener will either connect with you… or not. So here’s a tip that almost every air talent ignores:
MATCH THE MUSIC to automatically glue yourself to the Listener’s ear.
If the song is slow and quiet, but you come out loud and blasting words, that’s TOTALLY WRONG.
Fast song = upbeat delivery that matches that rhythm.
Slow song = “right in the pocket” delivery that matches that song’s pace.
Second level thought: Feel the Emotion of the song, and start right there, as if you’re into it.
From that beginning, you can go anywhere else you need to go. But DON’T start like you just threw your headphones on because the song was ending. If you sound like you were just texting or looking at your Facebook page one second ago, you won’t get the result you want.
The listener can feel when you’re engaged and in the moment… and when you’re not.
And remember that you CAN’T feel if the listener is engaged or not. Pull that person toward you by being a PART of what he/she is hearing first.