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.
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.
We forget, don’t we?
We forget what real people go through every day.
We forget the messages they are bombarded with, the struggles they face, the negative influences on their kids.
Real people perceive your radio station within the context of their own lives. Don’t ever forget it.
Often they tune in to get away from the negativity, to be affirmed for the good in people, and to be reminded of the hope we can have through our faith.
It’s never a bad time to work on using fewer words. Here’s why…
When you pare down the word count, it helps you cut through the ‘blah blah’ all over the dial and sound more specific, which tends to “imprint” more on the mind.
It’s a paradox, but using more words rarely makes something clearer.
(Note: This tip started out as a full page of 240+ words, but I cut it down to just 55.)