When To Say Your Name
October 28, 2014
If you were to meet people for the first time at a gathering, function, or convention, you might begin by introducing yourself to the people you have ended up sitting near.
Although the introductions were bold, clear and purposeful, after the function has faded into the past, the amount of people at that table who would be able to recall your name, simply based on that initial handshake and declaration, would probably be a small number, if anyone.
I had a run in with a talent who was transitioning out of a morning show into a midday shift, and one of the questions in her mind during this transition was this; "How do I know when to say my name and when not to?"
It is an awkward thing to introduce yourself to people. The truth be told, there are no rules on this subject, just an antiquated set of radio basics that tells us to say the call letters, our name, the name of the song and then close again with call letters.
Old School Techniques Confuse In The New Skool
Of course with PPM, the need to open and close with call letters or the station's identifier has for the most part gone to the wayside, although showcasing call letters properly has NEVER been more important for recall than it is now.
Back in the day of Arbitron diary based-ratings, we could manipulate the outcome simply by branding our station identification into the psyche of the potential listener or person holding the diary, so dropping a car out of the sky and smashing it to the ground, wasn't just a way to give out cash or a car, but a way to make a loud splash, getting TV coverage and local word-of-mouth buzz for the purpose of the station's overall recall.
Today, recall is EVEN MORE important, because it isn't just about them writing it down in a diary, but now it's actually about them TUNING IN, leaving it on, and when they depart, REMEMBERING to come back.
Being on the radio is like being at a convention, function or wedding, where every time you speak, you're literally speaking to people who have never met you, so the goal is twofold; first to gain their attention by being interesting, and second, to be memorable yourself in the process.
How To Win Friends And Influence People
There is a way to know if you've been successful in your plight to gain new friends and influence people. When the function is over, do people say to you, "What was your name, again?"
If they do, then you got this.
That means, you were interesting enough for them to WANT TO KNOW YOU. If you bored them or were simply not interesting to them, they wouldn't ask for your name again. Instead, it would be a simple, "Nice to meet you."
Being on the radio is exactly the same scenario as this. There is a confidence in the jocks who rarely say their names. Twenty-something years ago, when I was first turned on to Howard Stern, it was the first thing I noticed. There were very few self-references.
Howard allowed the callers and Robin Quivers and guests and other cast members who would say his name, to be enough, and we as the new listener got it pretty quickly. "OH He's Howard Stern."
The Keys To The Kingdom: The Rules Of Saying Your Name
Deliver great content and they will figure out who you are, and by the way this is the KEY to when to say your name.
As I was growing jocks in New York City, I noticed a desire among up and coming jocks to want to say their name in every break, even when they weren't giving out any useful information to the audience, so I made a rule.
You have to earn the right to say your name. If you aren't giving the audience creative, well-thought out content, then you can't tell them who you are, either.
You'll know when you're doing all of this right. It's when you make a comment on the air about your life, you don't say your name, at all, but the phone rings and a listener has to comment about that thing you said about loving anything that tastes like Pumpkin; from coffee to oatmeal to Pop Tarts.
It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
When they comment on your content and then share from their lives, without you giving out your phone number or telling them who you are, you know you have hit the bulls-eye.
You have to earn the right to say your name in a break, but you should also be building the confidence in your ability to deliver the content, so that you don't have to tell them who you are either.
If you're just telling them what's going on in your town, then you have not earned the right to say your name. If you're just giving them information on the song you're playing, then you have not earned the right to say your name. If you're just telling them how to win the tickets to the concert you're giving away, then you have not earned the right to say your name.
However, when you have zoned into content gold, and it's no longer about the County Fair, but about your obsession with fried dough and powdered sugar; or the deep frying of Oreos, Ice Cream or Twinkies, as long as you own it, you have earned the right to tell them who you are.
What!? Another Food Reference?? Was I Hungry When I Wrote This?
In my rule with the jocks in NYC, you'd actually hear a rhythm to this cadence we had crafted, as they'd execute their content, knowing how they were getting in the break, then out of the break, and then they'd say their name at the end.
This structure sounds weird to the radio ear, because of the way the basics have been drilled into our brains, but it's actually the true way it happens in real life, and NOT foreign to a listeners' ear.
If I say, "Hi I'm Rob and the sun is shining," the chances of you ever knowing me is slim, however, if I talk about that wrinkle I've developed in the middle of my forehead that now goes all the way down my nose, because years ago I should have been wearing sunglasses on days like today, but instead in my pride, I just put it off and squinted through it, but now I have a war wound to show the error of my way, you may relate, and once you relate, you may wonder who is this person who can say something so on target with my own life? And then, with that, when I tell you that my name is Rob Wagman, you may, for the first time, actually care, actually consume that information and begin storing it, and THEN in times in the future, when I continue to deliver, powerful, relatable content, then perhaps, the confidence of not telling you who I am each time, even helps, as some already know who you are, and others, might be intrigued enough to call or look you up online.
Or I Could Just Botox The Line To Smoothness
Once you're in a rhythm of always delivering content consistently, it's not when you share your name in the break, but how. If you can slide your name into the content, and not take a break from the content to intro yourself, then you've mastered the whole idea of introducing yourself within the frame of content.
If you're just giving information, you can say your name all day. It won't matter, they're not hearing it anyway, but if you dig deep and find the relatable moments in any content you're about to deliver, then you've earned it... tell them who you are. If you don't tell them, in time, they'll be intrigued enough find that out for themselves.