Update Your Radio GPS
January 20, 2015
This is the time of year I reboot and reorganize to make sure my efforts are maximized. I do it in my personal and business life. I make the same suggestion to my clients, PDs and air personalities. A co-worker got me into this annual updating tradition during my early jock days.
I can remember one day getting to work an hour before my on-air shift and I spotted him in the production room writing. My curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know what he was doing because I noticed he was not setup to record anything.
He told me he was updating his resources that he used to gather information for his show. This midday jock had pretty good ratings and was considered one of our stations mainstays. I was surprised he was so intent on changing anything. He explained it was a matter of fine tuning a few things when it came to his preparation. As he explained his process of finding new resources and dumping a few no longer relevant, I became a believer and updating became a part of my yearly strategies. This was way before my programming days and discovering yearly strategic planning.
The Listener Comes First
Knowing your audience will help in updating your resources. It is the equivalent to spring cleaning -- chuck the outdated, keep the relevant, and add the latest. Being good on the air is about mental preparation and doing your homework. Double-check and see if there are some better choices when it comes to resource materials. This is the kind of work ethic that separates the great shows from the good ones. This yearly updating routine will keep you at the top of your game.
Finding Show Prep Resource Sites
Show prep services are fine, but you need your own sources for information as well. To this day, I am constantly updating sourcing ideas. Check with social media friends at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and elsewhere for places with items of interest. I suggest you also include non-radio friends in your search for stuff of interest in music and culture.
Here are nine websites to add to your personal prepping repertoire.
If case you have not noticed, in each of our format music download sections there is artist info for each song available for streaming or downloads.
This site gives you access to national news sites, which includes cable and network news sites. The other fun thing is that all U.S newspapers and many others from around the world can be found on this site.
This site constantly updates artist information in all genres of music. When you get to the site just type in the name of the artist and search.
Blogcritics covers a variety of cultural topics.
This site features all sorts of original content, articles, and videos.
This has been around for a long time and I think people forget what a great resource it can be. It has short stories covering fiction and non-fiction. You never know where a great idea may come from.
This is wonderful for timeless and timely information on a variety of subjects. The scope of Mental Floss is wide ranging and includes music items from time to time.
This is a one-stop listing all the sites just listed. The lists of websites are periodically updated.
Although many use Google Alerts, a lot of air personalities still don't know it exists. It is a great way to find out all the latest music and entertainment up to the minute information from a variety of Internet sources.
It is like a search engine for topics with up to the minute results. You can be set up to send you an email anytime something is written on a particular subject.
Don't forget Traditional Reading
Show rpep services are fine, but you still need to include the old\-fashioned way of reading newspapers, magazines and books. Visit a bookstore or library and scan through the racks for new magazines or some you might have overlooked. Once again, the goal is to update your show prep materials.
Keeping Things Timely
Trying to stay fresh and stay ahead of the game is a constant struggle and new information sources can be a big help. Truthfully, these days by the time a personality starts his or her shift, the majority of the audience has seen things on social media, search engine home pages, or heard about it on cable news.
Musicians and entertainers used to have some mystique because what the public was allowed to know was usually filtered. The exceptions were national personal meltdowns like the OJ Simpson White Bronco Chase or the even further back in time when John Lennon declared the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ during a press conference. In order to talk about music and the artists, you have to really dig to find things which might give you a different twist on things. I hesitate to use the word facts because much of what we read these days is not sourced.
Don't procrastinate; update your information sources and at least once a week actually go to a library or bookstore. Holding a newspaper in your hands is a form of escapism that allows your brain to slow down enough to absorb and think. It is amazing how many new ideas will pop into your head while reading a printed publication. I have this theory that although multi-tasking can come in handy, it distracts our brains from the pleasure of thinking. Reading information online could sometimes be compared with slamming down a burger while driving as opposed to sitting down and enjoying a meal. Savoring the printed word can help you pinpoint your search for topical insight or juicy music information. Remember, it takes a lot of work to be brief on the air.