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.