Recognizing Your Talents ... And Your Limits
January 18, 2011
Last week we talked about knowing your purpose ... and your target, so you can best prepare content designed to be noticed and shared. Preparing remarkable content is not a one-size-fits-all process.
If you believe your job is to make people laugh every time you speak, you should be a stand-up comic -- not a radio air talent. Yes, it's a bonus if you can make me smile or laugh occasionally, but trying every break ... and failing ... is worse than not trying at all.
The reason your PD and/or VP/Programming is telling you to shut up is because you have trained your listeners to believe that nothing you say is relevant and compelling enough to listen for. When you speak, they tune out.
The question is: How do you re-train them? Where do you find enough material to be compelling -- or at least relevant and interesting -- every break?
Years ago Ron Chapman invited me to sit in on his morning show on KVIL. It was like getting a graduate degree in Entertainment. Ron showed up every morning with a briefcase filled with clippings from papers and magazines, with ideas sketched out on legal pads and drink napkins. He had enough material with him that morning to fill every break he might have for the rest of his career.
And he ended up not using any of it.
As Ron said, the best shows happen when he doesn't have to use the material in his briefcase, when he has spotted a topic, or had an idea that drives listener involvement for hours. And Ron was not only gifted, he knew his listeners and his market. For a while, Ron Chapmas was Dallas.
May you be so gifted and fortunate.
Content ideas surround you every day. If your target is adult women and you don't watch Dancing With The Stars or The Bachelorette, you're lazy. If you work at a Hot AC station and you don't watch Jersey Shore, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Daily Show, you're missing an opportunity. That's the easy stuff ... mass-appeal TV and movies.
You need to develop a broad curiosity about life and people. You need to be an acute observer of those with whom you have daily contact. You have to read ... go out and experience the life your listeners lead, or wish they could lead. You need to be open to all aspects of life, the funny and the tragic. You need to be a story-teller.
You also need an inner clock that starts ringing the instant your bit or story begins to bore. You have to produce and recognize pay-offs, because I think this deficiency leads to more bad breaks and tune-out than any other.
It's where we'll start next week, as we swim in the talent pool...