Steve Meets Genie, Gets Five Wishes

A program director asked me an intriguing question in December.  If I had five wishes for things that could help talent grow their shows, what would I ask the genie?

As a former talent, my reply was, “I only get five?”  Typical talent, right?  Trying to figure out how to make the break longer!

So, I rubbed the bottle, the genie came out, and here is a short list of what I wished for.  This list is partial because I have lots of wishes.

  1. I wish talent no longer trolled social media looking for affirmation. This is really hard, because these are loud voices and we tend to put great weight on those we hear from, often making content decisions based on the few who react to us.  Our content strategy should guide all.  Neither the super positive nor damning negative comments represent the mainstream (most of whom we will never hear from).  Stop letting all of that affect how you choose and do content on the show.
  2. I wish shows would inventory all that they do and have a healthier list of things listeners can only get from them. These are called “points-of-differentiation” and critical to separating the show and station from everything else out there.  I hope we have a longer list at the end of this year than at the beginning.  More listeners will turn us on because we’re much different from everyone else.
  3. I wish personalities would figure out ways to involve other talent on the station in their show. If we elevate them around our content, then they will elevate us on their show.  And everyone’s profile and ratings will go up.
  4. I wish we’d stop focusing on small things and worked harder developing big things. Changing out music beds on a feature will have much less of a positive impact on our images and perceptions than coming up with a new, highly entertaining one.  Putting yourself in the middle of a big pop culture or local story is way better than just talking about it.  Big things cut through and we need more of that.  Doing more epic shit creates an electricity about the show.
  5. I wish we would choose more of our content to reflect the moment. To be about whatever is going on now (verses something more evergreen, that could be done anytime).  But to also know that it’s what you do with these “now topics” that keeps fans coming back every day out of a fear of missing something.  Create more of those points-of-differentiation!

These are the things I talk with my shows about now and I love these conversations.

New shows I work with know I like to ask provocative questions and challenge them in ways that make all of us think strategically.  The shows I currently work with are used to it – many enjoy the exercise because we find when we talk on this level, we end up with a much better show than our competitors, with greater creativity.

If you find any of my wishes interesting, it might be great to engage your shows on them, too, so everyone can level up.

I’d love to know your wishes for talent – send them here if you have any.