Seems like I hear more people trying to put callers on the air these days, but fewer callers’ comments are very interesting… if they get any calls at all. I believe the fundamental reason for this is that the way they solicit caller input (or social media input) is flawed.
The easiest way to get response is first of all to make the solicitation sound off-the-cuff, instead of (1) seeming “needy,” or (2) sounding like the only reason you brought the Subject up was to get calls about it. That’s disingenuous.
As a listener, I’m not here to do the show FOR you. And your neediness is certainly not a reason for me to respond.
So try these…
- “If you want to share…” (then give the phone number or social media address)
- “If you’ve got a thought…”
- “If you see something I don’t…” or “Maybe you know something I don’t.” (These are the most powerful ones; but be careful not to overuse them.)
More casual invitation = more down-to-earth response.
Christmas decorations are up in Home Depot, so I reckon’ I can go there, too.
Even though we’re yet to October, I’m already having conversations with program directors about this upcoming Christmas season. Call it Year #2 of Christmas with COVID.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse than last year, this Christmas season is extra noisy with the situation in Afghanistan and the chaos on the southern border.
But even in this unusual season Christmas can bring out the best in us. More people are tuning to your station than at any other time of the year. I know of a few stations that top a million listeners per week and numerous others that reach the top five. This was once considered unimaginable for a niche format playing mostly unfamiliar music.
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Some coaching sessions are what I call “workshop” sessions, where instead of concentrating on one thing, we talk more about the bigger picture, and how to reach a higher level.
It’s not all pie in the sky, though. Even the best air talents need foundational reminders now and then. Returning to our overall vision clarifies things and takes us out of the “critique” space. Here’s an example, an excerpt from a recap of a recent session with Dave & Tristi, the fine morning team on 89.5 KTSY in Boise:
- Always have a solid ending in mind first. If you do, constructing the story will be far easier. Trying to tie a bunch of divergent facts together at the end is why writers and performers get stumped. Knowing that the Ending is going to resonate relaxes the whole writing (or composing in your head) process.
- An economy of words results in fewer overreactions, phone solicitations get easier and more natural-sounding, and you weed out phrases that sound like ‘liners.’ You don’t want to constrict yourself so much as just trim things down, so they make more impact.
Sessions like today’s, with two premium talents who are always receptive… well, that’s why I enjoy the “workshop” environment so much. (As opposed to the actual Shop classes in school, where the instructor always seemed to be missing a finger.)
Out of the mouth of babes.
It is an expression often connected to the perspective of someone with little or no knowledge of the inner workings.
I recently spent time with an industry pro. He’s been a major market morning man for decades at big stations you’ve heard of. He’s a Christian guy, a PK even, but has never worked in Christian radio. My colleagues and I are doing our best to nudge him to apply his immense talent in our format. Then, out of the mouth of babes…
“Your format thinks too small,” he blurts out.
“Tell me more,” we inquire.
“If your station can be what you say – transformative in someone’s life – then why do you spend 99% of your time focusing on the nuts and bolts, the songs, the artists, the deejays, the features – the stuff any radio station can do. Why don’t you focus on what is most meaningful?” he says from an outsider’s perspective.
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There’s this great scene in the old Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie “The Sting.” Redford’s character is questioning about the scam they’re pulling on the bad guy (played by Robert Shaw), and asks, “Do you think it’ll work?” Newman’s character answers, “Relax, kid. We had him twenty years ago when he decided to BE somebody.”
This has actually become a microcosm of the world we’re living in. Everyone hungers to “BE something” even if it’s just for a few seconds. A Twitter posting, a picture that gets “liked” by some social media throng.
Let’s apply this to radio. In coaching over 1700 air talents, I’ve found that it’s always a challenge when someone says he or she wants to ‘be’ somebody (to the listener). While you can certainly strive for that, that’s the shallow end of the pool. The real aim should be to MEAN something to the listener. When you’re the person who weighs in on what’s relevant in my life consistently, that emotional connection IS the point.
You don’t just have ‘name value;’ you have actual value.