Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I have never missed an episode of American Pickers on The History Channel. I love the show.
Instead of just having a camera follow around two guys looking for antiques and telling stories about the products they are buying, I've noticed that the producers have recently been creating fake and scripted scenarios involving Mike and Frank (stars of the show).
This week's scenario had Frank "accidentally" walking on the set of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" while they were taping the game show. It was so disingenuous and scripted and the show lost some credibility with me.
Mike and Frank are not actors. They are real guys who drive across the country picking old barns and looking for "rusty gold." The show was genuine, real and authentic. Now, it's losing that touch.
One of the reasons reality shows like this are so popular is that they contain real people, with real stories and real connections. Just like your radio show should do.
As I watched the show last week, I was disappointed. Mike and Frank are now less real and authentic. They are becoming characters. Real people are more relatable than characters.
Be real and authentic in everything you do on the air.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Quick Radio Consulting
A new year should bring you a desire to make yourself a better programmer/talent/employee.
If it doesn't, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you will be the first to join your out-of-work brethren in the radio arts. It's tough out there. Reports on cuts are coming daily. If you resolve to work on you this year, you may just be one of the survivors in 2013.
If you need ideas on where to start, here are some things to work on and make your new year resolutions for:
1) Aircheck Weekly.
Even if your PD doesn't demand it, or you don't have a PD at all, you need to listen to yourself and hone your craft. If you are a 30 year veteran or a newbie, airchecking will make you better. Actors rehearse every scene. Writers proofread. Musicians practice. You are in the entertainment industry. Be professional and aircheck. I've never airchecked a talent and found nothing for them to work on.
2) Work with sales.
The number one way to show your GM that you are a valuable employee is to show them you can add to the bottom line and are not just a salary drawing from it. You'll be surprised how hard the sales folks have to work and how much the client will listen to your ideas because you are a celebrity.
3) Engage with the listener.
Radio was the first social media. Use all the tools in the new media age to your advantage to become a trusted advisor and friend to the listener...a person that you may never meet face-to-face. I tell all my new talent, when they were just starting out, that radio is a job that is 24/7...and it's even more true with the access that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. give you to your audience. Use those engagement tools multiple times a day. But don't abuse your listener's trust, it must be a compelling comment/post/status update or risk being ignored...First in social media and then on-the-air
4) Share promotion ideas.
Sit in on a promotion meeting, or if your station is too small to have them, bring promotion ideas to your Sales Manager. If they take it to the streets and sell it, you will prove your worth to the company.
5) Show prep constantly.
Remember what I said earlier, this job is 24/7. Take notes on your smartphone on things you encounter all day that will be relevant to the listener when you are on the air.
6) Get enough sleep.
A well rested employee is a better performing employee. An employee in a better mood. A healthy employee. A prompt employee...should I go on?
7) Listen more.
As on-air talent we have a need to "fill the silence". You will be surprised on how much better your show would be if you listened more. If you listened more to callers. Listened more during interviews. Listened more to your co-workers in the studio and out.
8) Read more.
Anything and everything. From news websites to self-help books. The more you read, the more relatable you will be to the listener.
9) Edit, edit, and edit again.
Your breaks. Your spots. Your promos. Everything. Go through it three or four times, or more, and make it polished and perfect. Brevity wins.
10) Smile as much as possible.
If you're having fun, so is the listener and your co-worker...and your family. Remember you are getting paid you to do something you love. I know I'd do this job for free if I could. If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.
Good luck with everything and have a GREAT 2013!
Saturday, January 12, 2013
I got an e-mail from one of my BLOG readers in Europe:
Here's the note:
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 11:15 AM
To: John Paul
John, My name is Nigel and I am an on air presenter. You always talk about how important it is to be real, genuine and relatable. Can you explain in better detail what you mean? Nigel
First, here are the definitions of each word:
1. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
2. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.
3. Of or founded on practical matters and concerns: a recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time.
4. Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious: real mink; real humility.
1. Actually possessing the alleged or apparent attribute or character.
2. Not spurious or counterfeit; authentic.
1. To narrate or tell.
2. To bring into or link in logical or natural association.
3. To establish or demonstrate a connection between.
Bottom line...Don't fake it...Don't lie to your listener...Find things in your life you can share that are relatable...It's OK to be self deprecating, in fact it's endearing. Just be YOU.