30 years ago this week I was involved one of the most transformative transitions of my broadcasting career. And the amazing thing is that I didn’t seek it out nor did I initially realize the value it would have in my career. But I was wrong.
Choosing to be a lifelong learner is a great gift to yourself.
I occasionally run across people without a learning spirit. They do what they do and that’s all they want to do. I once worked with a morning man on a CCM station that simply repeated the bits he did on his previous Oldies station.
Whether routed in laziness or fear of the unknown it keeps people stuck, both in skill level and perspective. I think this is particularly challenging for someone who’s been at one radio station for a long time. While longevity certainly has its benefits, I can only imagine what my limited perspective on programming would be if I had spent several decades at my first station, a 500-watt AM station in my hometown in west Texas.
My greatest value to stations is that I’ve just spent time with some of the smartest broadcasters in our format. I see their challenges. I’ve been a part of those conversations. I’ve seen the solutions they come up with and understand the outside perspective.
Every time I’m around smart people they make me better.
If you haven’t had much (or any) coaching, let me help you with the thing I hear most.
I’d estimate that at least 90% of the time, the first time I listen to someone, I hear a layer of superficiality. (Oddly enough, it’s even worse with team shows.) Something real-ish, but not quite real. A “smiley” sound in the voice, elongated “mock” differences of opinion (in a team show), a delivery that isn’t intimate or personal, extended setups to get into something – it’s almost always there, holding back that talent from sounding like they’re actually talking to me. Some suggestions:
- Use real words – words that real people use in everyday conversations.
- Develop your mic technique, so you can speak in a normal tone of voice.
- Don’t get too officious with your language.
- RELAX and “let off the gas.” I’m only a couple of feet away in the car. LOUD is annoying, unless it’s a genuine moment.
If you ever had anyone ask you to “Say something in your radio voice,” the answer should be, “I don’t have one. I just talk.”
(Seven years ago this week I attended the funeral of Lowell “Bud” Paxson, a man I can honestly say changed my life and the lives of dozens of others who were privileged to work for him. For those of you who have just tuned in I think it’s appropriate for me to share this Frost Advisory again.)
A couple of weeks ago I shared observations on leadership from the book, “Breakfast with Fred,” the conversations and ideas of Fred Smith, Sr, a mentor for many leaders such as Zig Ziglar, Philip Yancey, John Maxwell, and my friend Steve Brown.
Little did I realize that within a couple of weeks I would be attending the funeral of the greatest leader I have ever personally known, Bud Paxson.
Ideally, you’re doing a Show. (Not just a ‘shift.’)
But at least, you should do a Visit.
…and if you’re just reading liners, promoting stuff, and intro’ing songs, you’re doing… nothing.
As I wrote about in the last tip, the goal should be both a Visit AND a Show. That’s what I coach, because historically, that’s what works the best. The combination of both of those elements will compel people to listen.
If your station had a Christmas music strategy and it was effective, it has more listeners today than it did two months ago. For a format that plays mostly unfamiliar music from a new listener’s perspective, that is a HUGE opportunity. After all…
Everyone’s favorite station is the station that plays their favorite music.
Don’t blow it.
I’ve noticed that when Andy Stanley shares a message he purposely speaks his content directly to insiders AND outsiders. “If you’re not a Christian or church person…” leads into a camera angle specifically designed to effectively communicate to a specific group. Then he’ll direct a similar message to those, like most of us, that have been going to church since before we were born.