A New Year, A New Tier



TO:  Radio’s Great Personalities (You!)

FR:  Steve Reynolds, Talent Coach (Me!)

DT:  January 1, 2023

RE:  A New Year, A New Tier


Welcome back to the grind.  I hope your break was relaxing and you had great time off to decompress, recharge, and not think even once about radio.  For those of you who keep the early hours (my fellow morning folks), I hope you slept in past 6:00am.

Radio stations and personality-driven shows, like the one you do, are living, breathing organisms.  We must adapt and evolve to stay relevant.  I have five challenges for things that could markedly change you and your show:

  1. Do something for your team. Reset and review your show strategy.  What’s your show about?  What’s its plot?  Review character development traits.  Redesign how you’ll prep to get even better story-based, real life content from everyone.  Where is the best content?  How can you be more local?  What are the important images to earn?  You’ll never go wrong engaging everyone on your team, including the key people at the radio station, on your show strategy.  The strategy is what makes you win.  It’s never a bad thing to communicate the core strategy to the key people you need help from to succeed.
  2. Do something for your ratings. While none of us can directly manipulate the ratings, review everything to see what could be refreshed.  The content you do and how you do it is in your control.  What ideas or features are old and tired?  What new things can you bring fans where they won’t take you for granted?  Nix all content that can be done by any show at any time. Where are the upgrades in your features and content so the audience doesn’t cheat on you by checking out another show?  Generic and evergreen content end up being lame and indistinct.  What new things can you bring your show and digital assets to deepen your relationship with listeners when they engage you there?  Become more relevant by doing content that is more personal, more pop culture, or more local.
  3. Do something for your community. My last blog was about knowing your show’s cause (Be the Beacon).  If you know yours, plan on doing something big around it in the first quarter.  We don’t do many big things in radio any longer.  Remind listeners, remind co-workers, and, most importantly, remind yourself the power you have to move the audience to do something big to help people in your hometown.  If you can’t find time to give back to your community, then it isn’t your community.
  4. Do something for your station. Reaffirm your attitude of gratitude.  Say thank you to those you work with all over the station.  Scare the shit out them by showing appreciation for not only what they do for the cluster, but for what they do for you and your show.  This is a leadership move.  Elevate your leadership.  It’s always a good move acknowledging the hard work and contributions they make helping the radio station succeed.  Don’t do this via text or email (decent, but low effort).  Don’t do it in person (they’ll think you’re from Mars and feel pressure to return the compliment, and that’s not the reason you’re doing it).  Write a short note, put it in an envelope, and leave it on their desk.  Why this way?  Well, no one writes notes any longer, so you’ll stand out.  Second, a handwritten note says you mean it.  Those you write will beam with pride for themselves, the station, and especially you.  I bet the next time you’re skittish on a sales promotion or need some piece of equipment fixed in the studio, it’ll be easier.  It’s also a bad ass leadership move.  Get some inexpensive notecards from Amazon, commit to writing them over the next few weeks, and go be a bad ass.
  5. Do something for yourself. Our brains need nourishment.  Because of the intensity of this industry, we need balance in our life so we don’t burnout.  What non-radio thing intrigues or interests you?  Go explore it.  Feed your brain by taking a course on it at a local university or community college.  That’ll make you a more interesting person to be around.  Not to get a degree, but because the balance will serve and invigorate you.  I work with a talent who always wanted to become an auctioneer.  Guess what he did last year?  He took classes and became one.  He’s an even better talent today because he fed his brain.  If no topic comes readily to mind, take a course in marketing to see if best practices can help your show or career.  Or a course in psychiatry or leadership to learn how to form more positive teams and communicate better with people.  I live in Raleigh, NC.  Within thirty minutes of my house lives North Carolina State University, Duke, and UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as a ton of smaller schools.  I regularly ask myself why I’m not enrolled in a class or two around a subject that’ll feed my brain.  This is the year I do it – do me a favor and stay on me so I remain honest to this one?

Don’t fear change or growth – go get uncomfortable to do that.  Embrace that journey.

What we don’t have enough of in life is people who’ll root for us.  I’m rooting for you.  Even if I compete against you at another station in your market or I’ve never met you.  I’m hoping you grow as a person and radio professional because I hope that you would do that for me.  Because, despite its faults, radio continues to be good to me and a good way to make a living and change communities by the power of personalities like you.

If no one’s told you lately, you bring value to what we do in this industry.  It’s a new year so go move up a tier.  There’s no better time than now to move to epic with the suggestions above.

Be in touch and let me know how they work out for you.