Monday, June 28, 2010


Radio is immediate. Radio can react at a moment’s notice. Radio can capture the moment.

One of the biggest assets to radio is its mobility and the way we can capture the moment. Radio can turn on a dime and get something on the air fast. The moment can be BIG, like Mother’s Day, Christmas or even summer. But it can also be a brief moment in time like Tiger Woods’ press conference, the Bubble Boy over Colorado earlier this year, or the final episode of Lost. Better yet, it can be something local that is only happening in your town. The best radio stations can read the moment, react to it, capture it and find some way to relate it on the air to the listener.

It’s something you have to train your brain to do. Start by looking at everything in your life, your town, even in the news as if it’s something that could be translated on the air into a bit, sweeper, promo or a charitable campaign. Capture the Moment.

I always keep a note pad by my bed and in the car. If I see something that could translate on the radio, I write it down. You have to move quickly. What’s topical now probably won’t be in a few days, maybe even a few hours. Get your entire staff to be on the lookout for things that you could put on the air that would capture the moment.

Some of the Jack formatted stations are among the best I’ve heard when it comes to capturing the moment. Since most don’t have personalities, they do it in their imaging. If you want to hear a great example, listen to in Buffalo. Joe Russo is the PD and does a great job of being topical and capturing the moment in his imaging. Plus, a majority of it is local. WBUF is probably more topical and local with NO personalities, than many stations with full staffs.

Most stations today don’t have the staff or the time to dedicate to capturing the moment. If you do and your competition doesn’t, you become more memorable and a better radio station than them.

Take a moment to capture the moment.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Kelly and Rider at KYGO in Denver do a great thing every Tuesday. It’s called “Tell Us Something Good Tuesday.” They air calls from listeners with something good happening in their life. Could be a birth, an A grade in school, buying a house or car, etc. I heard one a few weeks ago where a woman whose husband had been out of work for over a year finally got a job. It was one of the most touching calls I’ve ever heard on the radio and it made me feel good all day. People don’t want to hear complaints or negativity. They are dying to hear good stuff and this benchmark does a great job delivering that.

Since we are on the topic of good things. We did a thing at WYRK in Buffalo that was awesome (and we ended up making money off it). It was called “The Good Kid of the Week.” Every Friday morning at 7:10 (do it before kids head to school), we would announce that week’s “Good Kid.” Listeners would send in nominations. We’d put the kid on the air, send him prizes and run promos for the next few days highlighting him and soliciting for other nominations. The response was HUGE. You can never go wrong with making parents proud of their kids.

For a week, pick a different morning show in your market (doesn’t even have to be a direct competitor) and tape them while you are on the air. Listen to it later to see what they had going on. It always amazes me how many morning shows don’t monitor other shows in the market. Its good know what they are doing. Who knows, they may be doing it to you…

Here’s to a great show.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I listen to a lot of radio and do a lot of airchecks for jocks all over the country and Canada. I’ve noticed that a lot of my comments and recommendations are the same for many different personalities…no matter what market or format. Here’s my top 11 list of the most consistent recommendations.

How many of these do you recognize?

The best radio is one on one. Just YOU and ONE listener. Say “I” and “you” not “us” and “we.” Never, ever call listener “people”, “folks” or “ladies and gentlemen.” Think singular, not plural.

Always be topical, connected and prepared. Never crack the mic without knowing what you’re going to say and how you are going to get in and out of the break.

Include audio in your show and imaging. Audio is to radio, what video is to TV. Think how boring a TV newscast would be without video. Audio enhances any show and gives it another layer.

Slow down. Take your time and don’t sound rushed. Pause between your thoughts. Let the show breathe.

Smile. You can hear a smile on the radio. It will instantly make you sound friendlier.

When starting a bit/break, don't ask a question, make a statement. It's more effective to say “I'm love this new TV show...” instead of asking “have you seen this new TV show?” Listeners can't answer you. Hook them by always making a statement. Even if people don't agree with you, you'll hook them in.

Don’t play with the song titles. For example, if you play “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and come out of it with “it’s a great day to play The Generation Gap game….” It’s a bad radio cliché to tie the title of the song into what you want to say. It makes it sound like you have nothing better say. Just give the title and artist and don’t be cute with the title.

Be specific when you tease something. Don’t say “coming up” or “stick around for that.” Those lines do nothing to move listening. Instead say “I’ll tell you in less than 10 minutes” or “you’ll find out more at 11:20.”

Always call the listener YOU. If you are on a show with multiple people, always call your team mates them by their names. YOU is for the listener.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


There’s a radio station I sometimes listen to that calls themselves “legendary” and it drives me nuts. I love the music and the overall presentation and the jocks are OK but saying your station is “legendary” may have worked 40 or 50 years ago, but not today. Unfortunately, radio stations today aren’t consisdered legendary by anyone other than the people who work there or the owners. Listeners don’t care. They don’t believe the hype. They are too busy and don’t use radio the same way they did when legendary radio stations did exist.

That brings me to my topic, stop self serving, both as an individual jock and the station as a whole. I hear it all the time. Personalities need to stop patting themselves on the back on the air, running calls from listeners telling the DJ how great he/she is and how much they love them. Radio stations need to stop calling themselves “legendary” or “world famous” (with the exception of KROQ in LA, they have the heritage and can back up that position). 18-34’s and 18-49’s are very sensitive to hype and hate it. Very few things turn them off more. There is nothing endearing or genuine about self serving and patting yourself on the back. You don’t need to tell listeners how great you are. They know. That’s why they are listening to you and choosing your station over the competition.

One of the best ways to endear yourself to the listener is to make fun of yourself. The exact opposite of self serving. Look at Howard Stern. He made fun of himself everyday and guys could relate with him and in turn were endeared to him. When Howard started dating a super model, moved into a huge apartment in Manhattan and talked about how much money he was making and the famous people he was hanging with his audience began to lose interest, couldn’t relate and weren’t endeared to him as much as they were when he was a typical married father living in the suburbs, bitching about his life and living a life most men could relate with.

Don’t do the show, or program the radio station for you, do it for the listener. There’s a big difference between selling your station’s benefits and selling the fact you think you are great.