In a coaching session this week, it occurred to me that most talents today might not have been as fortunate as I was in terms of who influenced them. The names might not mean much to you, but I started off working for a wonderful P. D. named Larry Ryan in Shreveport, my home town, whose mantra was “Do something! Any idiot can intro songs.” That gave me permission to try – and equally important – permission to fail.
Then I worked for radio pioneer Gordon McLendon (who, with Todd Storz, INVENTED Top 40). Gordon was all about Creativity, too, and P. D. Michael Spears taught me tight, concise formatics to harness that creativity.
Others followed: the great Lee Abrams, who infused “Stationality” to a stunning degree, and made me realize that TRYING to be funny was the wrong path; being yourself (and therefore unique) was far more important. Bill Young in Houston, who rarely said anything, but when he did, it was like gold coins dropping into your hands. Jack McCoy, creator of the best contest ever, “The Last Contest” at KCBQ in San Diego.
But all that aside, people like those aren’t very prevalent anymore, so let me try to help you with what I believe are the two most important guidelines for Content:
1. Today’s show should be about TODAY as much as possible. Recycling old material usually sounds like just that, recycled, calculated. Some days are “drier” than others, but Wednesday’s show can’t just be a repeat of Tuesday’s show. In this era of voice-trackers reading crap off a computer screen, or taking “click bait” stories from the internet or social media, there’s a lot of nothing being said.
2. RELEVANCE is the key. If it doesn’t matter to the listener, you’re just “a voice saying words” – a dull, droning noise to be tolerated (maybe), but not really connecting with the listener in any meaningful way.
So, as I wrote in my session recap with a good talent who has it in him to become a great talent yesterday, “Today, if at all possible. Relevant, always.”
If you’ll sift everything through those two thoughts, I guarantee that you’ll get better, no matter what your level of experience is. We ALL had mentors. If you’re not still learning, you’re regressing.