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 or they aren’t entertaining.  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…