Life and Radio Need More Adventure
My 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.