To Ignore It Is To Endorse It

San Diego Chargers radio analyst Hank Bauer made an anti-Semitic joke during this week’s preseason game. Here’s the story. Clear Channel has suspended Bauer one game for the off-color quip.

We chatted about this on last night’s Sports Radio Twitter Chat (#SRCHAT) and there were those who believed it was no big deal and everyone should lighten up and those who believed one game suspension was too light.

I believe CC was right in taking action and more over there are lessons for all of us in radio to take away.

  • To ignore it is to endorse it. Old and ugly stereotyping is a big deald32b40e77d1e55d20b171816a664ddd8. We can no longer write off this stuff (racism & sexism included) as being okay if someone is of a different generation, a different cultural background or didn’t have the intention of hurting or offending. As an industry when we give free passes we make it more acceptable.
  • Respect your audience regardless of race, sex or creed.Broadcasters need to understand their audience is broad, diverse, and reactionary. Yes, you want to banter to feel like you’re just a couple of guys watching sports at a pub. But, you’re not.
  • Words carry meaning, power and elicit emotional responses. Words can build people up and cut them down to the quick. Let’s be careful how we use them.
  • Laughter isn’t a measurement of appropriateness or offensiveness. Just because people laugh at a joke, doesn’t mean it’s okay for the radio. Surprisingly, some folks on twitter last night thought the joke was fine and wasn’t mean-spirited. It couldn’t have been, because they laughed at it.

I’m not saying as a broadcaster you should never walk the line, but this wasn’t an edgy opinion, this was disgusting and outdated social stereotype masked in a one-liner. There is a difference.

Categories: Uncategorized

VIDEO: Ask Larry Episode 3

This week ASK LARRY answers three questions; Should you lead with top story or tease it? Why shouldn’t you complain about Mondays? Should I accept a producer role if I really want to be a host?

 

Submit you questions here: LarryGifford1@gmail.com or on twitter @giffordtweet #AskLarry

Categories: Uncategorized

VIDEO: Ask Larry – Episode 2

The second installment of  “Ask Larry” answers four questions; Should you break into network programming to report on Robin Williams’ death? Have you figured out a way to make money with a podcast? What’s a good opening question when interviewing a retired player? How big of a deal is it working for multiple broadcast companies? And an update on KFWB.

Categories: Uncategorized

VIDEO: Ask Larry – Episode 1

The first in a weekly video series. This week Larry answers questions about KFWB in Los Angeles, Robin Williams and how to get a great aircheck from your program director. Ask Larry your questions at larrygifford1@gmail.com or #asklarry on twitter

Categories: Uncategorized

Life and Radio Need More Adventure

h and deerMy son is curious. He’s five years old and likes to explore. I feel like at every turn I’m telling him to watch out or be careful. If there’s a hot stove, he’s near it. If there’s a car door closing, his fingers are in danger of being smashed. If there’s a wild animal in the backyard, he’s approaching it with a smile and a hello and not a shred of caution. Repeatedly, I say something like, “watch out.” And he says, “Sorry, Dad.” He apologizes a lot and rarely asks permission.

This sense of adventure will serve him well in life, I think. In fact, I could stand to be more like him; less cautious and more adventurous. Though knowing life’s boundaries are just as important. You touch a hot stove, you get burned. You put your fingers in closing car door, it leads to a silent scream and tears. You get too close to a Momma deer and she could nip you. Or, as he learned last week at camp, if you crawl under your bathroom stall wall and into another one that’s occupied – you get peed on.

Being on the radio offers a similar dichotomy; do you play it safe all the time or take your listeners on an adventure? Great talent know where the line is, walk along the line and strategically cross it at times to keep their audiences surprised and engaged. Sometimes they get burned, whacked, bit, or peed on, but mostly it just leads to, “I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” It keeps talent relevant and part of the grander conversation. (This week’s example: Dan LeBatard)

This doesn’t mean you have to swear or do wacky bits. It does mean you shouldn’t be afraid to approach your show differently from time to time. Surprise yourself, explore the boundaries, challenge conventional wisdom, and be adventurous.

Categories: Programming, Radio, Talent

Life is Show Prep

TopicsI work with several podcasters who are trying to impart expert information in a less professorial or lecture-type tone and want to have that personal, one-on-one conversation with the listener that great radio broadcasters do so well.

For one of them it clicked this week.

The gist of my advice that resonated with him was this:

Stop picking topics and let the topics pick you.

 

Here’s what I mean.

Most experts approach their podcasts like a lecture. The rack their brains for a theme, topic or some wisdom they want or should impart. And then they rack their brains for a story or anecdote that they hope helps personalize it.

Turn that inside-out-and-backwards.

Take notice of the things that happen in your life each day. Pick one of these events even if it’s seemingly mundane or routine. Tell it in great detail and allow it to help exemplify a common theme in your teaching.

For instance, the host I work with teaches foreign language. He realized during the week he was having trouble motivating himself to exercise. He’d lost his will power. This is also a common problem for people learning a new language. So in his podcast he relayed, in great detail and emotion, his struggles with exercise including how he identified why he’d lost his will power when he had it previously, what he’s doing to get it back and how listeners can apply the same technique when they’re finding it difficult to get motivated to learn language each day. It was personal, powerful, effective and entertaining.

By sharing your life stories with great detail and animation, you will come across as more authentic, relatable and vulnerable, which also gives you more credibility. Finding your lessons in your own life stories also gives you and your listeners an anchor to why you are talking about that topic at this time.

Hello Missed Opportunity

Missed OpportunitiesA friendly note to my friends at CBS Radio. I read your press release about acquiring Eventful – a platform for artists and musicians to find fans and spew out movie times, concert dates, and festivals on your station websites.

It makes me sad.

Another opportunity for radio to hire content creators and we hand it over to automation. You blew an opportunity to add personality on your website and build relationships with fans in exchange for transactional clutter.

Congratulations on becoming another warehouse for movie times and a pass through for ticket brokers.

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