If you’ve been following along over the last several weeks you may have noticed that my Frost Advisories have focused on the challenges our stations are facing during this season of the coronavirus and racial tensions across the country.
I’ve commented on training talent, on connecting with the local African-American community, on finding the right camera angle for our format that is designed to encourage, and about sharing stories that give insight and create empathy.
When you open that mic, the most important thing to do is what seems like the easiest one: MEAN IT.
But this is actually very difficult to do without some training. If you sound even the slightest bit insincere, or like you’re just serving up information with no real emotional investment in it… well, that’s why everyone’s impression of an air talent is that kind of pukey, surface-level-but-no-deeper “announcer guy” (or vapid nitwit).
ESPECIALLY if you’ve been blessed with an exceptional voice, remember that Emotions top “a great voice” every time.
If you sound like you actually MEAN what you’re saying, your listener will feel it. If you don’t, in baseball terminology you “just fouled one off your own foot.”
A lack of credibility is never anyone’s first choice.
“You can do anything,” boomed my dad’s voice to his mischievous adolescent son. But he added one more word. “Once.” “You can do anything… once.”
Those words served as a life lesson of accountability. But, you know what? Those words were also true. I COULD do anything… once.
So can your station.
Not long ago, I saw a TV ad for a European car, and the voiceover began with “The thrill you’ll feel when you sit down behind the wheel…”
No. I’ve driven one of those cars, and because it sits about 4 inches off the ground, I didn’t feel the “thrill,” I felt like I was getting a colorectal exam at sixty miles an hour.
This ‘telling people what they think or feel’ (or what their reaction should be) is really annoying. Al Ries and Jack Trout call it “Marketing your aspirations.”
It’s rampant in radio, too. Just this week, I heard a morning show promo that said “Great stories, and lots of laughs” (or some other bragging drivel). Not true. I heard them, and their stories were “pat” and predictable, and the farthest thing from “laughs” I could imagine. They just recycled stories from the internet, and plugged their Facebook page.
Instead of constantly telling your listeners what you WANT them to think or feel about your show or your station, just promote the Benefits of listening to you. The best show promo just plays me a clip of the show, then tags it with who you are and when you’re on.
Let the listeners decide for themselves. Let go of the hype. No one believes it.
Interesting times, eh?
So… what are you learning through this season of COVID-19 and the protests of racial injustice?
What are you learning about your radio station that wasn’t as clear before?
One of the things I’m learning is that when we get outside “our lane” we are noticeably irrelevant. In other words, when we start doing a bunch of stuff that no one comes to us for we lose our impact.* It’s bad enough to be talking about National Pie Day (that’s 3.14, don’tcha know?) in ordinary times, but in these times we sound pert near foolish.