Radio is full of people talking to an audience.
This is a mistake, because we say things differently, more casually, when we’re just talking to a good friend. We repeat points unnecessarily, use language that’s a little too “formal,” and sound just a little distant, when we talk to more than one person.
There is very little space between you and the listener. You’re in my car, two feet away.
ALWAYS say things like you’re talking to ME – a friend – instead of a group of people. Radio is at its best when it’s one-on-one.
We added a new jingle package and our ratings went up!
We ran that new promotion and our ratings went down.
I know of a general manager that wanted to change the shifts of the deejays based upon weekly or monthly ratings. I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, as Dave Barry would say.
Our minds crave simplicity. We crave the Silver Bullet.
“People are drawn to black and white opinions because they are simple, not because they are true. Truth demands serious effort and thought.”Donald Miller
The Prime Directive was the guiding ‘mission statement’ in Star Trek.
Here’s ours, in music radio:
Whatever you want to say needs to be as good as your best song.
If it’s not, why are you saying it?
This manifests in two ways – Subject matter, and Delivery.
Subject matter should be top of mind, and you want the listener to be able to easily see himself/herself in that situation.
Delivery: “as good as your best song” can be in the WAY that you say something. Sounding like you actually care (with some degree of emotional engagement). Painting a good word picture. Or simply being a good companion to the music, rather than an interruption.
Unless I’m working with you, I can’t tell which of these you need to work on. But I’ll bet there is one.
Just this week I found out a friend’s middle name is the same as my first name. But wait… wait… there’s more!
We also discovered that my middle name is the same as his first name. We’ve known and worked together for most of ten years and we never knew.
How do your listeners get a sense that your station has lots of listeners? Because they hear lots of listeners. It’s like an audio version of a crowd shot.
Trust me. I’m going somewhere with this.
In their book “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath share the story of a newspaper with a remarkable 100% circulation rate: everyone in his small town reads it. The publisher’s country wisdom was simple: “Names, Names, Names,” reasoning that people read his newspaper because they wanted to see their own names (or someone else’s).
We’re not taking a car trip together. We’re taking an elevator trip together. I’m gonna go up three floors and then get off. You need to be done by then.
BREVITY. We owe it to the Listener to be concise.