One of the offshoots of trying to read something on the air is that since ‘print words’ are not the way we actually talk, it erodes your authenticity.
Where I live, Louisiana, there are tons of local commercials on radio and TV, and way too many of them have the owner of the business – usually a balding guy with a golf shirt on, wearing a 32-inch belt over which hangs his 40-inch waist – telling you that he’ll give you the best deal on “America’s most popular midsize SUV luxury brand” and that his dealership is “Rated number one in customer service in a survey of repeat customers.”
Blah, blah, blah. Words that he would never say – maybe no human would ever say – in a real conversation. And we’re then obliged to see his wife, small children, and their dog SHOUT his name. (Except the dog. He barks. He’s the best part of the spot.)
…or we hear some radio station disc jockey try to read something, and treat it like he (or she) just thought it up.
Listen: Authenticity is self-revealing. So is the lack of it. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t fake it.
We work in a format that is inherently significant. And yet many stations sound more like a commodity, with little meaningful branding, content and personalities that help them stand out from the competition along the dial.
“Commodity is something that can be replaced, removed, exchanged for, or even ignored… for something that is better, faster, or cheaper. But community, that’s an entirely difference animal. A community is a sense of belonging. We all need it. We all need it now more than ever.”Sangram Vajre
A couple of ideas on building community…
The last two tips have questioned why music stations choose to do formal newscasts or formal weather forecasts (ski resorts and cities near volcanoes exempted). Now let’s deal with doing Traffic updates on the air…
Start by remembering that we’re living in the twenty-FIRST century. “Here’s how we’ve always done it…” is a waste of time to even discuss. Here’s why you don’t need to do what now passes for traffic updates:
- You can’t compete with the Navigation System in my car (or in my phone, for that matter).
- 99% of the time, Traffic reports are about traffic that I’m not in, and you can’t cover everyplace because the Update takes too long.
Here’s a different thought: Have a traffic update on the air be one listener reporting on one specific problem. (“I’m Greg Blunderbuss, and here at the Fairfield ramp to I-20, there must be 30 cars backed up.”) Maybe two people per update, different areas each time. Whatever. Just not a droning sea of information about someplace else.
And yes, these can still be sponsored. $