The Power Person, the Delayed Flight, and the Lesson Learned

Early one morning last week, a radio friend texted that he’d just boarded a United flight in Traverse City, MI headed to New York through Chicago.  He boasted that the flight would not be delayed because he was sitting in seat 27C and the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, was in seat 27E.  I congratulated him on his good fortune.

A half hour later I got another text.  The flight was delayed.  An hour after that, another text that the plane was pushing back.  My friend told me he’d make his connection.  But not so good for Mayor Pete.  He’d miss his flight and needed to find a seat on the next plane to DC.

What does this have to do with radio?  It’s the lesson learned.  How could the Transportation Secretary ever move to fix our air travel issues if he doesn’t live it like we do?  I applaud Buttigieg because he had our experience:  a window seat in coach, a delayed flight, a missed connection, and he was on United Airlines (something everyone should get combat pay for).

If you’re a talent, when was the last time you had the user experience?  When did you last review a break or two of your show to hear what the audience hears?  It would be easy to forget a show after it’s over, but regular reviews (putting ourselves in coach on a delayed flight) we can most easily learn how to be better, so we stay relevant for our fans.

To brand managers – I know you’re incredibly busy, but when was the last time you reviewed audio with your talent, so they grow?  And what exactly are you listening for?

Did we affirm our show’s plot?  Did we reinforce an image of relevancy, humor, or authenticity?  Did we accrue an image that would help us build our brand?  How did we do connecting with the audience?

Athletes do it.  Actors do it.  Those who give speeches do it.  Folks who do Ted Talks do it.

If we don’t do this, we stand a greater chance listeners will choose one of their other dozens of choices if we’re off strategy.  With one push of a button, they have another radio station, they can scroll social media, consume music elsewhere without interruption, listen to a podcast, etc.  So, let’s get better by having their experience and elevating our game.

I know it’s scary and most talent tend to hate it for what it brings up.  I did when I was on-the-air.  But there’s no better way to improve the experience than honing our art by listening to what we offer up as entertainment.

If you’re a talent and your manager is too busy to do this, I will if I’m not competing against you in the market (be in touch here).  We must help each other compete more effectively against all the other choices listeners have.

Our future relevancy is heightened by doing what Mayor Pete did by flying like we regular folks, so he experiences air travel like us.  If he feels our pain, he can fix our pain.

A simple, but epic decision so we can make things better for those who choose us.