My Memorable Moment in Rick Dees’s Bathroom

Years ago, when he was on in Los Angeles, I had a chance to work with the iconic Rick Dees.  On a market visit and having lunch one day, Rick asked if I wanted to stop by his house.  Rick and I had our weekly chats on Sundays at 4pm and he wanted to show me where he was when we talked about content.

Who’d say no to that?  Not me.

There were many memorable moments touring Rick’s home (you won’t believe what was under the garbage can on the driveway – email me for that story)!  But it’s what happened in the bathroom that I’ll always remember.

As Rick brought me through his upstairs, we cut through a bathroom that connected two bedrooms.  Almost every drawer in that bathroom was partially opened.  I noted this to Rick and that’s when he told me his wife never shuts the drawers completely and it drove him crazy.  That’s when I shared with Rick that that was content.  Radio was changing from bits to being real with lots of storytelling.  And Rick sharing this tidbit about his relationship was quite relatable.

One of radio’s many superpowers is its intimacy.  Our ability to remind the audience that we are just like them.  How do you curate that valuable character-development content?

Every talent I’ve ever worked with thinks their life is boring.  I still ask them to journal through the weekend, keeping track of all they do, even if they don’t think it’s viable content.  Weekends are when we’re doing regular-person stuff, just like listeners.

My toughest day for email is Sunday nights, as every talent I work with shares their weekend journals with our entire content team.  Two things happen when I read them:  I get to know them better as people and can help make them stars because of the stories they tell and content they provide.  I also learn about their life so I can have a better relationship with them personally to build trust because I care about them.

Doing nothing but watching golf in your underwear on Sundays might be boring to you, but it might be fascinating to me.  I can make that relatable content that defines someone with a little bit of curiosity.  On Mondays and throughout the week (including our weekly chats), we all get inquisitive about what we learned from everyone.  And then, regular-person content appears that helps us position them as just like their fans so that connection forms (the initial building block to creating a fan is connection).

A sampling of what I’ve learned from those I work with in the last few weeks:

  • A talent is having a deck built on the back of his house and the workers never show up on time and he’s very frustrated.
  • A co-host said “I love you” to his new girlfriend for the first time.
  • An anchor’s wife made him get together with neighbors and he doesn’t like the husband because he’s always boasting about himself.
  • The talent who shopped for a new washer/dryer and was confused by all the choices.

All the above is potential content.  Yes, you can talk about yourself too much.  It backfires when the audience can’t see themselves in the stories you tell about yourself.  But we must be purposeful in aggregating that content.  The little stuff (sometimes the most connective stuff) is forgotten if you don’t collect all of it for a fair shot at sharing it with listeners to forge that connection.  Weekend journaling helps you do that.

When Rick shared his take on the bathroom drawers and told me it drove him nuts (Dees nuts?), that’s when we had the a-ha moment.  It became content the next day on his show.  Rick’s a superstar to his audience.  Telling that story said, “I’m just like you.”  Connection!

So, I’ll never forget that moment in Rick Dees’s bathroom.  A sentence I never thought I’d type.

Journal your life for content and be epic.  It’s in you if you’re strategic.

Now, what exactly was under that garbage can on the driveway…

The Slate of Traits That Make Talent Great

You know what builds your brand and can’t be duplicated? Having interesting, engaging, electric people on your air. People like those we’ve seen at parties everyone is gathered around.

I recently hosted a session for the NAB. The shows featured in the session were asked to finish this sentence: Great talent are…

Check out this list of adjectives describing talent a cut above. How many of these qualities do your talent have? When talking with talent to add to your station, are you screening for these? I’d love you to add to this list below. What’s missing? E-mail it to me here.

Great talent are…

Vulnerable
Fun/Funny
Curious
Fearless
Don’t take themselves too seriously
Know who they are
Have a high work ethic
Have a confident vision for their show
Are humble
Have a heart
Can relate to the audience
Mischievous
Memorable
Inquisitive about everything
Knowledgeable about the world
Give back to their community
Honest
Genuine
Authentic
Have balanced lives
Imaginative
Wonder about the world
Understand that a win is “we not me”
Know a little about a lot of things and a lot about a few things Have stories to tell
Have multiple skill sets
Radiate wattage without saying anything

Interesting people are interested people – folks who have interests outside of radio and vibrate with energy. The people you choose to be around in your life have many of these qualities above. It’s the same way you build a relationship with listeners – and how you turn listeners into fans who want to be around you.

Go find people with these X factors above. The slate of traits that make talent great. Develop them in those you already have on-the-air and listeners will gravitate to you, much like, in real life, you choose to be around friends who are like this, too.

Carl and Carol Mornings – All We Wanna Do Is Talk

I’m not sure when it happened, but I think I know why.

I listen to some personality-driven shows in radio and hear not much more than Carl and Carol talking with one another, the show becoming all about them.  With not much of a sense of how listeners are reacting to (getting bored by) the breaks where they’re just talking about stuff.

The high performers in our industry work extra hard on not just what topics they’ll put into their show, but what to do with them.

Imagine Jimmy Kimmel being introduced to his audience and then doing nothing more than yapping with Guillermo for the entire hour.  Who’d stay tuned for that (or click on the links online)?

Why did all this chatter and lack of matter happen?  We took resources away from our personality shows and said:  please also post online; please also come up with a promotion for a client; please also have a relationship with sales; please also do that remote.  Etcetera.  None of it unreasonable, but then we can’t tack on please also be creative because that bandwidth doesn’t exist.

For the shows and companies I work with, two things I do in our weekly Zooms are keep the show honest to its plot and content strategy.  We also come up with fun/engaging things to do around the topics of the day, things going on in their lives, and things happening locally.

Think of these choices for a typical four-minute content break:

Topic

Carl and Carol in the Morning

An Engaging Pivot

OJ Dies Conversation between the hosts. Talking to someone who once met OJ and has a story.
Taylor Swift’s new music Conversation between the hosts. A feisty/funny drag queen reviews all 31 tracks.
Taxes Are Due Conversation between the hosts. A CPA does a forensics on the credit card statements of a cast member to reveal how much they spent on Uber Eats and Door Dash last year.
Beyonce’s “Jolene” Conversation between the hosts. You do a mash-up of 10 artists who’ve recorded the song, asking listeners to name them.
Trump’s Trial Conversation between the hosts. A courtroom sketch artist does pictures that you use on socials during his trial and/or you talk to listeners who’ve been on juries to hear what that’s like.

I call the right column above “the pivot”.  Think of it like this around OJ dying (because it was a Hot Topic):

Carl and Carol with Option A:  “So OJ died.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, here’s what we think, blah, blah, blah.”  Spots.

Option B:  “So OJ died.  Blah.  Then the pivot.  Here’s Steve Reynolds from Raleigh who met OJ in Las Vegas at the craps table a few years ago.”  Steve tells his compelling story about OJ.  Then they ask if he got the vibe that OJ was guilty.

Between the two options above, which is more engaging for the audience and never lets them drift or tune away?  Notice in option B there are 90% fewer blahs.  Pivots are treatments of the relatable, relevant content in column one designed to keep listeners engaged so they don’t lose interest.

For my high performers, I know you spend time prepping for these pivots once the show is over.  I can hear it.  If your prep process is lax or non-existent, it’s best you fix that so your show is distinctive and unique.  It should reflect your take by exploring your curiosity on the topics and not just be conversation.  It’s rare those who tell me they do this prep at home are right.  The power of being together to brainstorm these pivots is far greater.  But spending more time on those pivots keeps fans tuned in.

For our managers and companies who believe in your people, we must get back to supporting our talent (aka “our sellable product because they bring the content”) even more with the resources they need to come up with these pivots.  Kimmel has a dozen writers.  We just have us, because the industry’s changed.  But if we expect our personality shows to truly do interesting and epic things with topics, we’ll support them to come up with those ideas (more fun, inquisitive people associated with the prep process) and help get them done.

If we don’t…if all you are is conversation and maybe a phone topic here and there, the audience will stray sooner than any of us think and maybe something/someone else will capture their imagination and build new loyalties to your fans.

If not, it’ll be the Carl and Carol Morning Show –  All We Wanna Do Is Talk.  And that’ll get us nowhere as an industry.

If You Rest, You Rust

Café Luna is a lovely Italian restaurant at the corner of Blount and Hargett Streets in downtown Raleigh, where I live.  I went there so much I was a P1.  Until that day I realized I hadn’t been in years.  Let me explain why and what that means to you.

When it opened, it was one of the few eateries in downtown Raleigh as they worked on growing that area of town.  Its food was terrific.  Parker, the host, always found you a table if you were a walk-in, and the basket of bread was to die for.  Until…

I haven’t been to Café Luna in years because they got repositioned.  A Laotian restaurant opened over here.  An upscale Mexican restaurant over there.  Just down the street there’s a place that majored in tapas.  All that delicious choice made me stray.  My A.D.D. and desire to be hip and cool made me sample other restaurants and, years later, I haven’t been back to Café Luna.  When I head downtown, I always look at the menu in their window.  It hasn’t changed in years.  That was the problem.  Over time, Luna’s dependability and predictable menu was leveraged against it by new competition.  Maybe they thought that their experience didn’t need to evolve because they were so popular.

Now let’s talk about your menu.

There have been times over the years where I have been asked to help launch a show against an entrenched brand.  Reis and Trout’s 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing says that a product’s greatest strength becomes its greatest weakness.  To start, I study the established show and try to flip all their strengths on them.  If they have been around forever, I try to turn that into them being predictable and boring.  If they are nothing more than mostly chatter or keep doing the same things over and over again, our strategy is to do different things with relevant content that positions us as fresh.  If they haven’t had any talent changes in years, I make them sound old.  You get the deal.

I hear too many shows that want to get on and do not much more than talk.  We must be strategic in choosing our content but focus more on the treatment of that content to create an experience for fans that will make them want to come back again.  That takes prep and work.  Had Luna only changed its menu to offer new things that fit, right?

So many shows are fearful of change.  They think they can’t (or shouldn’t) innovate.  Which is dead wrong.  If you’re a tenured show, the audience will trust you and be less inclined to bail if something doesn’t work.

Remember, what got you here, won’t necessarily get you there.

The great Joni Mitchell once told Rolling Stone magazine: “You have two options.  You can stay the same and protect the formula that gave you your initial success.  If you do, they’re going to crucify you for staying the same.  If you change, they’re going to crucify you for changing.  But staying the same is boring.  And change is interesting.  So, of the two options, I’d rather be crucified for changing.”

Leaders make art and artists lead.

I’m not suggesting you overhaul your show if you’ve been around a while.  I am suggesting that you don’t operate in a vacuum.  If you keep doing the same old stuff, some show will come in and reposition you like Café Luna and, in the face of competition, listeners will spend less time with you.  If you’re still hanging your hat on old ideas like Two Lies and a Truth and Try It Tuesday, you face potential boredom from your fans and a vulnerability that a smarter, more innovative show up or down the dial or somewhere online could take advantage of.

Life is change.  Growth is optional.  If you rest, you rust.

Everything truly evolves.  Staying still isn’t an option.  For any of us.

Excellence vs. Mediocrity – The Zoom and the Tweet That Proved It

There are a handful of memorable moments in my time coaching radio’s premiere talent.  What happened in a Zoom on March 8 is one I will never forget.

I got a text from a talent I work with in the Netherlands.  I introduced you to Wijnand Spellman in the Planet Reynolds The Benefits of Being Big.  Wijnand’s cause is ALS.  He, along with two other station talent, did The Glass House at Christmas and raised over $8,000,000 for One Dutch, a charity that helps find a cure for the disease.

Wijnand needed help with a request that would change him and his listeners.  Last fall, in preparation for The Glass House, I impressed upon Wijnand the need for it to be a story-telling event.  So, he set out to meet people who had ALS – to get in their world so he could see firsthand how it changed them.

In the course of that work, he met Anjo, a husband and father of two, who was afflicted with ALS.  They bonded immediately and became friends.  Then, the email and request that will forever impact him.  Anjo was in the final stages of his disease and had decided, because it’s legal in the Netherlands, to be euthanized.  He chose Wednesday, March 13 as the day.  Anjo then requested of Wijnand something unique.  He wanted to be interviewed on Wijnand’s show that morning before he said goodbye.  Wijnand wanted to talk through how to do that.

Wow.  What connection.  What humanity.

It’s almost surreal what we talked about.  From the questions to explore to how long it would go.  It was all about what Wijnand wanted to learn from him.  It was both an honor and privilege to be asked to do this and one he embraced, despite its difficulty.  I wanted him to have as soft and reflective a conversation as he could, so the audience received the gift, too.

Think for a moment the intimacy of that conversation.  What that humanity and emotion would bring his listeners.  I tear up writing this because it was so special for me, as well.

A question I ask talent is what impact do you want your show to have on those who tune in?  Do you understand your power to make listeners feel a part of something special and big?

The interview happened and it garnered an immense reaction from his audience.

Let me contrast this with a Tweet I saw in that same week.  Another believer in radio was scanning the dial in their market and heard two shows do the same phone topic from a prep service on the same day.

Compare the two content choices above.  Which one do you want your show to be?  Which one builds greater loyalty and a relationship where listeners become fans and fans come back the next day because they feel deeply connected to your personalities?  One is inspiring, the other forgettable.

I have been inspired many times doing this work by passionate, hard-working talent who want their shows to be one-of-a-kind.  Every break, every day is an open canvas.  What will your talent choose to do with it?

To help Wijnand do this rates at the top.

Talent make radio stations great.  The great talent relentlessly compete in every break on every show and never give anybody a chance to make them sound average.

Operation Destination

I recently decided to buy a new pair of glasses, so I did what most do.  I went to my local mall to visit LensCrafters.  I’m not particularly loyal to LensCrafters.  I just happen to like their frame selection and the manager there always makes me laugh (hi Avril!).

Something occurred to me when I did that a few months ago.  I did what I always do when at the mall.  I went to the Apple store.  I didn’t need any Apple products.  I just like to play with everything.  And I wanted to hold their new Vision Pros.  As I left, it dawned on me that every time I go to the mall, I always go to the Apple store.  Always.  Even if I don’t want to buy a product.

The Apple store at the local mall is a destination store.  Where the men’s clothing store on one side and shoe store on the other side barely register a customer, the Apple store is always packed.

Which made me think: is your show a “destination program”?  In the myriad of choices for morning entertainment and connection, what does your show do that separates it from all the others?  What do you do that compels people to tune in each day given their endless options?

Have you recently done an inventory of things you do?  Do you have a lot of different reasons listeners might actively choose you and turn you on because of them?  That might be a great exercise to do this week.  What are your significant points-of-differentiation from all the other choices that would compel your fans to use you again or seek you out?  On the dial, how are you like the Apple store at my local mall, compelling me to go regardless of the original reason I went to the mall?  What new ideas have you developed to keep things fresh for your fans?  Because you must keep churning out new products like Apple (i.e. Vision Pros) to keep fans from straying elsewhere.

The other thing that rings true is why I go to the Apple store.  It’s because of how it makes me feel.  Those of you who’ve met or know me are well aware of something that rings quite true: I am not the coolest person around.  I’m awkward and uncomfortable and have a self-image of insecurity, wondering how I fit in (that’s lasted since I was a kid).  But not when I am in the Apple store.  When I am there, I feel like one of the cool kids.  And even though that evaporates once I leave, for a brief time, I feel like I fit into the cool kid’s club.

Which leads to my last question I’ll ponder you can tackle with the strategists on your team: how do you make listeners feel when they take delivery of your content?  Be honest here.  Because we associate with brands not primarily for the products they offer, but for how they make us feel.

What is the goal for the content you choose and how you do it?  For those I get the honor to work with, we know the show plot, how we’re different, and how we want people to feel when they depart us for the next thing in their life that day.

That might be an epic conversation that brings clarity to how you fit in, as listeners choose who they’ll spend their time with each morning.

I Learned How to Do Radio From Pat Sajak and Porn

Later this evening, watch Wheel of Fortune.  Time how long it takes from when the show starts until there’s the true viewer benefit, Vanna reveals the first letter in the first puzzle.   Betcha it’s less than 30 seconds.  When the first letter shows, that’s when we’re playing along on the sofa.

Wheel used to follow the old format.  Pat and Vanna were introduced, they had some banter, Pat interviewed the three contestants, then they actually played the game.  But they realized those of us at home don’t care about any of that.  We want to play the puzzles.  They also used to shop when someone won a puzzle.  Remember those days of contestants “buying” washers and dryers and ceramic Dalmatians?  None of that mattered.  Because it was all about them and not us.

Ditto Jeopardy.  They play one-half of the first puzzle board right when the show starts.  When they come back from the first commercials and Ken Jennings interviews the three contestants, those of us at home don’t care about that either.  We show up to play along with the game.

We keep hearing about consumers’ shortening attention spans.  The three P’s of a break:  promotion (it’s all about me), process (here’s what we’re doing), and protein (time for content – the reason listeners show up).  Dispense with the first two P’s and get to the third.

To be honest, I’m already worried you’ve lost interest and it’s only been four short paragraphs.  So, I’ll sexy it up.  Time to talk about what I learned about radio from porn.

The porn industry dramatically changed years ago when they realized viewers cared less about plot and storylines.  They just want the action.  Porn clips online are rarely over three minutes (no idea why – ha, ha) and there’s no process or promotion.  Just…protein.

Don’t ask me why.  Read about it in the New York Times who profiled the change.  When we were young and found porn, few people sat through the scene of the pizza delivery guy ringing the doorbell, the woman in the negligee answering and saying she didn’t order any pizza, but inviting him in to deliver it anyway.  Everyone fast forwards to the bedroom scene.  The reason viewers showed up.

At a convention years ago, I used this analogy.  To the nervous laughter of the room, I reminded all to open the mic and “get to the fu@$ing.”  It’s a line that might live in infamy as it continues coming back to me.

Grab some breaks and see how long it takes before your talent start the actual content.  Then figure out how to get there sooner.  Your fans will reward you by staying longer.

What Happens Next When Steve’s Work Is Done?

Did you wake up one day about a year ago and think that suddenly, Travis Kelce was everywhere?  Yup, me, too.

Even for non-football fans who’d never heard of him, one day he wasn’t there and the next day he was.  That was not by accident.

In this terrific NY Times article, the story is told that he was driving around Los Angeles with his business managers, brothers Andre and Aaron Eanes, when they happened upon a billboard with The Rock.  Travis looked at them and wondered if he could ever be as famous.  The Eanes brothers said, “yes, you can.”  Which began a business plan to do just that.

Then came Travis’s second Super Bowl win, hosting SNL, starring in seven national commercials, doing a popular podcast with his brother, Jason, and a clothing line.  Dating the world’s biggest pop star (what’s her name again?) was unexpected, unplanned, and gravy on the meal.

Travis Kelce’s ascent was years in the making and, as the article says, a carefully manicured business plan developed by the 34-year-old Eanes team that blossomed at precisely the right moment.

In radio, I’m thinking Ryan Seacrest, Bobby Bones, and Charlamagne tha God.  All three more than just radio stars.  None of it “organic”.

My work with shows is to get the show right – we develop a strategy, working to get the program loved because of its content, features, and characters.  We work hard to get those on the show beloved, so the program is personality-based.

But what happens when we’re successful, and my work is done?  That’s when companies must invest in the next step by hiring PR teams and business managers to turn their radio stars into multimedia stars.

If we want our radio talent to be true difference makers, we’ll invest to help get them a presence on TV, put social media teams around them so hundreds of thousands (if not millions) follow their content on social media, and turn them into both the mayors of their local town and national super stars.  Like Ryan, Bobby, and Charlemagne.

Instead of telling our local personalities to “post more” and become friends with local dignitaries and TV personalities (which is not a strategy), they need a business plan much like the Eanes brothers did for Travis Kelce.  This business plan would not just be a ratings boost for the station, but a financial win, too.  Marketing money and products follow trusted, well-known talent.

If you’re a talent and work for a company that doesn’t agree or have those resources?  Then, how about investing in yourself if you do?  As I shared with one major market show I work with that keeps churning out #1 ratings in key demos month after month, doing that assures your relevancy and success for the future.

The work I do on the show and its content is the start of that multi-year process.

What are your plans that come after my work for the ratings, financial health, and relevancy of your brand?  What commitment can you make for all of that, and then some?  Because success, especially at that level, is never by accident.

In an age of dwindling resources, investing so your good talent become great, your great talent become epic, and your epic talent become legendary would be a no-brainer.

The Benefits of Being Big

Can you imagine your radio station spending one week and raising over $8,000,000 to help a cause important to you?  What would it say to your fans, those on your team, and to your sales department about the power of local radio?

I provide talent coaching to the national public radio system in the Netherlands (NPO) and that happened in December with their annual fundraiser called The Glass House.  Three 3FM (their CHR) personalities are locked in a glass house in a public square and spend one week raising money for One Dutch, a charity working to find a cure for ALS.  One of the personalities, Wijnand Speelman (seen here on the right), has been personally affected by this disease – his grandfather died from it.  So, he spent the week with his fellow talent personalizing the cause, drawing listeners close, to help reach their total of over 7.5 million Euros, triple what they raised last year.  I reminded them that facts tell, and stories sell in the coaching leading up to the start of The Glass House.  When viewed as a story-telling event, you can see why this was so successful.  See their wrap-up video below or here.  You won’t understand it unless you speak Dutch, but I guarantee you will feel it.  That’s when the win happens.  (Do yourself a favor and watch the video to see how incredibly big this was.)  The head thinks and the heart feels – this event is all the feels.

Listeners don’t get small things.  When radio plays on the margins, it’s likely to be missed.  Those I work with know I like doing big, gigantic things.  As that’s heard and remembered.  When it comes to cause-oriented work, we have two goals:  raise whatever we’re looking for from active fans and (much more importantly) impact positively the images of the show with those who won’t.  Whether you’re doing a community-service project, giving out concert tickets, or running a narrative content story arc about a talent to define their character, be big.

Listeners are looking to join brands that do good in the community.  Hang out with other media for a minute and the world is an ugly, abusive place.  Positioning your radio show as the place for goodness, then rallying your listeners to do that, creates more loyalty.  Radio is an intimate medium, and this helps build relationships with listeners who want more of that intimacy in their daily lives.  That’s one of our superpowers.  Give listeners an opportunity to join your team in this way makes them feel better about you and it makes them feel better about themselves.  That’s when they transition from listeners to fans.

The benefit of being big and different:

  • Josie, Carlin, and Brent, Indie 88, Toronto did their seventh annual Socks for the Streets campaign, asking listeners to donate socks which are given to the homeless community.  This year 309,934 pairs of socks were donated.  Their seven-year total is close to 1.5 million.
  • Hawkeye and Michelle at KSCS, Dallas did their annual 10,000 For the Troops around Thanksgiving where they ask listeners to write a thank you card, which is then sent to a member of the military overseas, thanking them for what they do. This is a program we put on the show years ago.  This year they asked for 10,000 cards and got over 150,000.  For the price of a thank you card and stamp (I love the old school nature of this), a fan felt better about themselves.
  • Logan and Sadie, WINK-FM, Fort Myers, FL and AD and Chris, KSHE, St. Louis each did Santa Paws.  Sharing that Santa Claus takes care of kids Christmas Eve, our mission was to get toys for animals in local shelters.  Logan and Sadie’s event is tenured, and listeners sent them 6,262 dogs toys.  AD and Chris did it for the first time and raised close to 3000.
  • Karen, Johnny, and Anthony, WNEW-FM, New York and Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston do Toys for Girls and Boys. Each campaign lasted a few weeks.  Karen, Johnny, and Anthony, in their first effort, got 6,224 toys and Karson and Kennedy received from fans over 10,000.  Big and gigantic.

In every instance above, the items were sent to the station on purpose.  So that those who work in the building, and especially those who have the hard task of selling the airtime, see the power of radio and authentic, compassionate personalities.

As 2024 continues to unfold and we plan for growth, we can do a bunch of little things with our brands (cause and non-cause oriented) or we can commit to doing big things, which helps us be remembered.

Radio doesn’t have a listening problem as much as we have a top-of-mind awareness problem.

Do big, epic things with your content and we’ll solve that.

Bet on This January Reset

A new year is an appropriate time for a strategic reset of your show and the management of the talented people who are charged with connecting with and entertaining listeners who’ll decide your fate.

Here are five things to engage your creative talent on if you are a manager (and anchors of shows, you are managers of people).  Conversation around these important items will help continue to build a positive team who will help get you to the mountain top:

  1. We are all charged with being leaders. That said, give your people your most valuable commodity, your time.  Spend as much of it with them as possible, with your phone off.  That tells them they’re important and helps you become a listener to their lives.  They’ll leave that interaction feeling empowered.  That’s a core attribute of leadership.
  2. Understand what’s going on in the personal lives of your team. Reciprocate by sharing yours with them.  Vulnerability is the foundation to a relationship where you care about one another.  Do that and you’ll move mountains.  No one really leaves their personal life at the house when they head to work.  It’s all connected.
  3. Remember that culture isn’t free Panera once a month. Culture is building an environment where creating trust is non-negotiable, and everyone contributes to developing it in every conversation they have and every move they make.  A strategy without a great culture is less effective.  Culture comes when it’s We Not Me.
  4. Know what’s noise – those small things that really don’t matter. Steer your team away from the noise and focus on the big stuff.  Not everything is Defcon 1 (especially negative posts on social media).
  5. Practice gratitude. Openly telling members of your team how much they’re valued and appreciated gives you wide latitude to growing them as people first and team members second.  Plus, it’s the right thing to do.

Three important reminders if you are talent:

  1. The head thinks and the heart feels. All the ratings gimmickry in the world can’t match a talent and radio station emotionally connected to its fans.  Do you choose and share content that will define what your show is about, who you are, and make fans feel something about you?  Make the audience care about you with the content you do (and how you do it).  It’s an unbeatable combo to loyalty.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this widely watched Chevrolet commercial from the holidays.  They ain’t selling cars.  Or this Dutch ad for a pharmacy which isn’t selling drugs.  They’re both selling emotion.  Play to your fan’s hearts.
  2. To be great, be F.A.I.R. What images are you earning in every break?  Be Fun, Authentic, Innovative, and Relevant (in any format).  Remember the trajectory:  content leads to images which leads to perceptions which leads to ratings which leads to revenue.  Listeners come to you because of your brand image (your perceptions).  That’s how you get there.
  3. Winning shows are about the moment. Listeners come for content.  Make sure your content comes from whatever is going on now in pop (popular) culture, your town if you are a local show, and your life (in ways that make you relatable).  Be about the moment because you can’t win by being an evergreen show where any content choice could be done on any day.  Be about right now.

Have these conversations internally as you begin a new year.  We are dinged that radio is no longer relevant.  Go listen to a show that does these eight items and you’ll find big winners with ratings and revenue to match