These Guys Love You!
February 8, 2011
Great content surrounds you every day, no matter what market you work in.
There has never been so much content available to air talent; it's available instantly, too. Your computer can take you to the smallest village in China, or inside the Capitol building in D.C.
Perhaps the best source of content, however, is right there in your home town, from a great source: your listeners.
I've often heard air talent bemoan their stations' "contest pigs" and "groupies" - the people who try to win every prize you offer, the people who call just to chat the moment your show starts.
PPM has proven what a lot of us knew for a generation: These are your P1s. Many of these people have the precise mentality Arbitron values in their quest to find willing PPM participants.
These are adults who have made radio more important than it is for almost all the rest of us ... and rather than ridiculing them, or trying to avoid them, we should do everything we can to connect with them personally.
Clearly, the first step is answering your studio phones.
You would be amazed -- or maybe not, which is even sadder -- at the millions of times I have been inside a studio and watched four or five lines blinking constantly, persistently, while the air talent reads a magazine or newspaper, or watches something on the TV.
Why would you not want to speak as often as you can to the very people who are listening to what you say?
What's the downside?
Why would you not want to make a personal connection with these people, who take the time to come see what you are like at a station event or remote?
Why would you not show interest in their lives, in their struggles, in their triumphs, in their losses?
Their very sense of intimacy with you reflects a bond that is rare and precious. They feel they know you, even if that's not what you've tried to communicate, and if for no other reason than your humanity, how can you ridicule that connection?
The truth is ... these people have offered you a gift. They trust your judgment. They believe in your talent. They evangelize for your show.
They deserve respect. And if you are wise, you will use their contact to begin forming what I call a personal-professional relationship, which we'll talk about next week.