Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In today’s radio landscape getting marketing dollars to increase your cume is a major challenge. I think it’s ironic that most radio companies put added pressure on the sales staff to get more advertising money from clients, yet marketing money to promote the station is always one of the first lines cut.

I’ll assume you don’t have any marketing money and have been tasked with increasing cume. One of the easiest ways to do this is to be proud of your station. Wear your colors everywhere. I remember a few years ago at CRS someone was giving Tony Thomas from KMPS/Seattle a hard time about Tony always wearing station shirts. Without missing a beat, Tony replied “how can I expect listeners to be proud of my station, if I’m not proud enough to wear the logo.” Nicely said. Be proud of your station.

I’ve always had a rule at any station I’ve programmed. I call it the “Twenty-Five Logo Rule.” At any remote or appearance, there better be at least twenty-five logos up in highly visible places. The van counts, banners count, staff sporting logos on their shirts count. At one remote in Buffalo we even had logos above the urinals in the men’s room. It was perfect placement for a rock station. Be proud of your station.

Pay attention to the details. Park the station van in the most visible spot possible. It’s amazing how many vans I see parked in a regular parking spot nestled nicely between civilian vehicles. During the appearance ask the store manager if you can park somewhere where everyone will see you. Use the van as a billboard. It will benefit you and your client. Oh yeah, make sure the van is always clean and freshly washed. What kind of message does a dirty station vehicle send to potential listeners? Be proud of your station.

Be outgoing and accessible at events. Most of the guys who would hide behind the station van and smoke cigarettes during a remote are no longer in the business, and probably for good reason. Shake hands, look listeners in the eye and be interested in what they are saying. Think like a Politician asking for their vote. When listeners meet you, make sure they walk away thinking of you as their friend. Loyalty is very powerful. Be proud of your station.

Say yes to as many events that require you to emcee as you can. This is a great way to get in front of a lot of people, give back to your community and personally get out and meet current and future listeners. When you are meeting new people be proud of you station.

Finally, always talk about your station with pride. Don’t expect everyone you meet to know about you or your station. When you meet someone who has never listened, invite them to tune in. Personally inviting someone to listen is very powerful. What do you think would move the needle more, a TV commercial talking to the masses (that will most likely not be seen due to a DVR) or the morning personality shaking hands, looking them in the eye and asking them to listen tomorrow? Be passionate about where you work and what you do. Again, like Tony Thomas said, “how can you expect listeners to be proud of your station if you aren’t?”

Monday, January 18, 2010


There are many tips to help make you a better talent. Far too many to mention in one blog. But one of the most important is to be one on one. Talk to one person, not a bunch of people. The best radio is personal. The best radio is one on one. You don’t have thousands of people listening, you have one listener…and they think of you as a friend. Here are a few tips to help you be a little more one on one:

If you are doing a show by yourself, never say “we” as in “we’ve got Taylor Swift coming up.” It’s always “I.” Remember just YOU and ONE listener. Say “I’ve got Taylor Swift coming up.”

Never say “over there”, “out there”, “listening area” or “down there.” It blows the theatre of the mind. Remember you’re not stuck in a studio somewhere, you are with the listener no matter where they are. Sitting right there beside them. Do everything you can do to be a companion.

It may be cliché but I think it totally works, and that is to put a picture of your target listener in front of you in the studio and talk to her.

Know your audience. Not who you “want” them to be, but who your audience really is. Know everything about her before you start prepping your show.

Always call the listener “you.” If you are on a show with multiple people, always refer to them by their first names and save “you” for the listener.

Talk to the listener the same way you would talk to a co-worker in the break room, or your best friend over dinner and drinks. Just because you are talking into a microphone, doesn’t mean you have to sound different or use words that real people don’t use in everyday conversation.

Never, ever, ever call the listener “folks”, “everybody”, “my friends” (instead say “my friend”). Remember it’s just one friend listening.

Every once in a while there is a break that I hear that I will never forget. I remember hearing Blair Garner back in 1996. It was one of the few breaks where he wasn’t funny, he wasn’t doing an interview, contest or show prep. He simply cracked the mic and said “I’m Blair Garner. It’s just YOU and ME all night long. Nobody else.” It was awesome. He was talking only to me. I never forgot that. I wish I heard more personalities doing breaks like that today.