It would be hard to imagine anyone who’s more welcome to join a party than comedian/actor Bill Murray. His “business model” is unique. He has no agent, no “handlers” buzzing around him, no business cards to pass out. But what he DOES have is that he seems imminently approachable.
You see him at the Pebble Beach golf tournament, accepting home-baked cookies from a woman, then sharing them with other people around the tee box. Then you click to another channel, and he’s at Eric Clapton’s giant “Crossroads” event, not only being an emcee, but sitting with people in the crowd, watching the artists play, just like a normal person. Then he’s in Austin for SXSW, walking down the street, eating barbecue and shaking hands with everyone.
But radio people at a remote or station event? Mostly, they’re huddled up in a corner, talking to each other. Their physical posture and manner suggest that going up to one of them just to chat would either get a perfunctory “thanks for coming” response or be downright unwelcome.
Sure, Facebook and Twitter are good ways to connect, but believe me, shaking someone’s hand makes far more impact. My friend and mentor Larry Ryan in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, is a great example. I can’t count how many times we’ve been eating lunch or just walking down the street, and someone has come up to him and said something like “Hi, Larry! We met a couple of years ago at the Mardi Gras parade.”
Larry will ALWAYS greet them warmly, and if he can’t quite place them, say “I’m sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name.” Then he makes that person feel like an old friend, has a short conversation, wishes them well, and we go on.
The result? After 50 years on the air there, Larry Ryan is a legend in Shreveport, still pulling excellent ratings on an Oldies station. And I guarantee you that when he does retire, a lot of people will still be writing his name down in their Arbitron diaries. Months later, they’ll think he’s just been on vacation for a couple of weeks. (If you think that’s an exaggeration, you’re wrong. When I was Corporate Talent Coaching for Paxson Radio, we saw diary entries for one jock who had been DEAD for two years!)
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.