On last week’s show I delved into what we could learn from The Weather Channel as Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast. Well, a week later many of us are still cleaning up after the storm flooded the northeast. In fact, my friends Matt and Cari had to be evacuated from their home in New Jersey by boat. Fortunately, they and their cat LBK are safely relocated to a nearby hotel.
Since the impact of the storm is still just as relevant as last week I thought I would continue drilling down into what we can learn from The Weather Channel.
The power of NOW. In our format we talk a lot about “common ground,” usually referring to things like lifestyle, values, and spiritual vernacular. However, ‘now’ is the one thing we most have in common. Everyone is living in that moment. Weather, specifically severe weather, is the ultimate shared experience.
In the course of some coaching sessions, I sometimes have to discuss grammar with an air talent. It’s painful to correct “between he and I” (which should be “between him and me,” of course) or “Us guys love Fantasy Football.” (Uh huh. So I guess the Queen song was “Us Will Rock You?”)
More than once, I’ve been met with how that’s “nitpicking” or asked, “Why does it matter?”
Here’s why it matters… unless we sound intelligent, like we actually passed seventh-grade English, we can’t be taken seriously. Think about that. Maybe in a time of true darkness, when something really serious has happened, you won’t be the listener’s first choice. Because serious events or issues need serious and uplifting thoughts, and it takes a thorough knowledge of vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammar to be able to inform or comfort people.
As you’re reading this, Hurricane Ida has made landfall on the Gulf Coast as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane. Having lived in Florida for 25 years, I’m well aware of the life-altering impact of major storms coming ashore. Floridians can quickly transform into amateur meteorologists binge watching The Weather Channel. It’s never a good thing when you see Jim Cantore standing in your front yard.
We can learn a lot from The Weather Channel…
The power of winning moments. While it’s important to minimize things that result in listeners tuning away, playing defense isn’t the same as winning. The Weather Channel uses graphics, camera angles (literally), on the scene reporters, and live action video to keep viewers coming back for what Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen would call ‘listening occasions.’ We all want to know WHAT’S THE LATEST?
We don’t broadcast in a vacuum. Turn on the radio or the TV (or any audio streaming service), and maybe the first thing you’ll notice is how LOUD things are nowadays.
Screaming commercials, “big voice” ANNOUNCEMENTS, local commercials where some car dealership’s relative who’s never had any coaching bleats out the ad copy, commercials or promos that seem twice as loud as the TV show… Sports announcers screaming at you because the crowd noise around them apparently makes them forget that they have a microphone – it’s just an assault on the senses sometimes.
Here’s how you avoid being part of that noise monsoon: Turn down the volume. Be emotionally invested, and trust that being enough. Yes, you want to be ‘animated’ in what you say, but “energy” is overbilled. To be truly heard, you should cultivate an ear-friendly delivery.
More expression, less volume.
Last week Fox televised a Major League Baseball game that was played in the proverbial middle of nowhere – a cornfield in Iowa. And get this, it was the most watched regular season game in 16 years.
So what’s the deal? Was its success simply nostalgia for a movie made 30 years ago?
In a sport that these days can seem more about exit velocity, spin rates, and animated strike zones, this ballgame in a cornfield at the Field of Dreams went the other direction.
Baseball with a small b
This game, like the movie before it, was a storybook about the average Joe (shoeless, no less) and second chances, discovering your purpose, and the opportunity to live a dream even if only for one inning.
“You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening.”Doc “Moonlight” Graham