My friend and associate John Frost says I’m the only one he knows who can talk for an hour about editing, so I’ll try to keep this short: Keep things short.
Condense. The fewer words you can use, the easier it is to follow. You don’t have to feel restricted, but as you put a break together, throw out words that aren’t really necessary. That makes what you leave in stand out more.
Think about it; very few long quotes ever get cited by anyone. It’s usually the short, most direct one that gets remembered and repeated.
Note for Talk Radio: this does apply. It’s amazing how short, impactful sentences get the best response. Longer, wordier diatribes tend to get more placid response… or the same person who called yesterday with the same type of comment he’s making today. Three short sentences get better reaction than one sentence three times as long.
On last week’s show I asked… so if radio stations in our format all begin with the same general stack of tools (music, deejays, etc.), why are most stations ordinary while only a few are transformational?
Last week I shared how my friend Joe Battaglia and I partnered with Ken Blanchard, author of the best-selling “One Minute Manager” series, to develop the national radio campaign for “Lead Like Jesus.” As we brainstormed ideas, Ken shared his experience of training the ballpark staff of the Padres’ Petco Park in San Diego.
They began with the end in mind:
What do we want fans to say when they are leaving the ballpark?
After several hours of discussion, it was transformed to this specific idea…
“I want to come back and I want to bring a friend.”
That one sentence crystalized their definition of success. The staff then went to work on creating a ballpark experience that could influence the conversation toward that response.
We radio folks are somewhat good at thinking about WHAT we do but far less good in thinking WHY we do it. Perhaps we should ask…
“What do we want our listeners to say when they listen?”
I don’t like asking questions, but here are two that you should ask yourself, whether you’re an air talent, Programmer, or GM:
- What do you have that I can’t get everywhere else?
In the current era of “cookie cutter” formats, this is crucial. If all you are is a corporate playlist and people reading liners and crap from the internet, the answer to that question is “nothing.”
- What do you have that I can’t get ANYWHERE else?
And remember, it has to be relevant. Just being “different” isn’t enough.
The answers to these two questions will decide your future. There are too many entertainment alternatives available today for you to expect people to waste their time listening to boring radio. Do SOMETHING… rather than do nothing.
Every Christian music radio station starts with the same set of tools. There is a stack of tunes, access to a varied list of air talent, some highly trained and some just sticking their heads out of the egg, a laundry list of promotions, and marketing resources ranging from billboards and bumper stickers all over town to your city’s best-kept secret.
So, if we all start with the same set of tools, what makes some stations ordinary while others are transformational?
In my almost 50 years of broadcasting (hey, I started when I was a wee little child) one of the things that has made our format my all-time favorite to program is that every day it has the potential to be transformational. We certainly know that is true from a spiritual perspective in the remarkable music we play and the messages that are crafted to touch the soul, but there is another way our format can be transformational.
So in a nutshell, here’s the biggest thing about Content:
You will not matter to anyone unless you talk about something that matters to that person.
I know – this sounds so simple, so the question is, “Why do so many stations fill the air with things that don’t matter to the listener?”
My theory is that they just don’t know yet what the whole purpose of radio is. Or they’re ego-driven, which is the wrong road.
Let’s be clear – nobody cares about what you want, or what the board of directors’ goals are. They care only about what you do that entertains them, or informs them about something they might need to know, but maybe they haven’t heard yet.