Archive

Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Recipe to Make Radio Fun Again

2015-06-26 08.37.05I remember when I first got into radio the studios were magical. I’d spend hours with a grease pencil, a razor blade, and splicing tape to execute just the right edit on a bit that would come and go in 60 seconds. I’d cue up records and practice talking up the post. We’d all hang out in the jock lounge, dream up crazy ideas, laugh a lot and sometimes break some rules. We were excited to get to the station each day. We’d compete with each other, offer bets to each other to slip obscure words into our banter as seamless as possible, and generally battled for on air supremacy. It was friendly competition and it made us better. It was fun.

We made it fun.

The reel-to-reel machines, the cue-burned records, and the couches in the lounge weren’t oozing fun. They just were there. It was the energy, enthusiasm and approach we took each day that made working in radio a good time.

The same holds true today.

One person in your life decides if you have fun in radio: you!. You have to create the fun, bring the fun, dream up the fun. The fun wasn’t swept away into the engineering closet with old cart machines. It’s hiding inside you. Let it free. Start small and see how your having fun at the radio station becomes as infectious as morale-killing-negative-gossip only with the opposite result.

Categories: Management, Radio, Talent Tags: , ,

Top 10 Posts of 2014!

Each year I find it gratifying to look back and take stock. It’s been a fun, frustrating-at-times, insightful, enlightening, empowering year thanks in a large part because of you. What I write on these pages is a reflection of what I’m experiencing in the world as it relates to radio. Here are the posts that drew the most attention this year for one reason or another.

photo 310. Stop Questioning, Start Creating. This was a talent-focused piece on how to best engage listeners and a plea for the world to stop asking so many questions. It’s an engagement device that really doesn’t work as well as you think it does.

9. 1,000 Miles of Radio Listening. This entry was inspired while moving my family from Seattle, WA to Atascadero, CA. It reflects my time in the role as a real radio listener. (Spoiler: Radio remains, to my dismay, mostly cliché, predictable, forgettable, and crammed full of poorly written commercials.)

8. Radio is Overloaded. I WANT to love radio, but I am increasingly dissatisfied with the return on my investment of time.  Gang, we got a spot problem. There’s way too much clutter.

PETE CARROLL LOMBARDI 27. Building a Championship Team. Sometimes we need to look beyond the four walls of the studio or station to be inspired for greatness. This entry focuses on Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and how he built a World Championship team.

6. How to Quit Your Radio Job in 10 Steps. There is going to come a time when you want out of your radio station. Here is how to do that with dignity and grace.

5. Fun Cannot Be Formatted. This was a 50% inspiration and 50% kick in the ass. A major portion of people in radio have forgotten how to have fun. The future success of the industry depends on the spontaneity of personalities and giving them permission to try new things and fail.

4. Six Tips for Co-Hosting a Radio Show or Podcast. Co-hosting a radio show or podcast seems like it should be easier because there are two of you, but that also means there are twice the problems. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction.

3. Making Sense of Another Radio Firing. Anthony Cumia, the second half of Opie & Anthony, was fired by SiriusXM over the weekend for a series of offensive tweets he made about African-Americans after a woman physically assaulted him in New York City. I examine the firing from a radio perspective.

Leykis12. Seven Hours with Tom Leykis. This my takeaways from spending the day with former radio star turned internet radio star Tom Leykis. Tom doesn’t hate radio. He says he’s been doing it too long, made too many millions off of it and has too many friends still in it to hate it. “I love radio. NOT the appliance, but the concept.”

1. Prepare for the Pink Slip. This entry is the most viewed blog post of 2014 and it also originates from my day with Tom Leykis. It is full of advice from Tom to those of us still working in the traditional radio business.

A Funny Thing About Radio Hosts…

When I was growing up listening to radio the DJs made me happy and often times made me laugh. I remember just wanting to go to remotes to be near them hoping they’d recognize me as that guy who called in and requested that song once. I was weird. I didn’t request songs, because I wanted to hear songs. I called radio stations because it was a magic factory. It was mysterious, interesting and I was curious. The closest I could get to be at the radio station was calling the request line with a bogus request.

Ring.

Ring.

“Hi WNCI, Who’s this?”

My heart sinks. My palms sweat. A nervously laugh erupts.

A radio geek is born.

When I was sprawled out in the back seat of Dad’s company car forced to listen to WLW in Cincinnati, for hours upon hours, my Dad was happy. He enjoyed it. He laughed and listened and nodded as he drove.

'How am I? How long have you got?!'So, when I got my shot at radio I knew I wanted to make people happy and make them laugh. So, I created a comedy show with three other guys. We called it “Renegade Radio.” We had so much fun putting the show together, but more often than not that funny fell flat. In fact, we were so concerned with being funny on-air, we forgot to have fun. We’d end up in arguments or worse silent, tension filled standoffs which make for great drama on TV, but sucky radio.

Here’s the deal. The guys my Dad and I listened to on the radio weren’t funny. They were having fun. We perceived them as funny, because it was enjoyable and fun to listen to. Radio hosts aren’t comedians (with few exceptions). We are entertainers, personalities and companions. Joke writing isn’t something that happens in an instant even for the great ones. Especially for the great ones. (see: Jerry Seinfeld “How to Write a Joke.”)  If you really think about it the funniest moments in life are most often the unscripted, unplanned, morsels of spontaneity that tumble off the tongue.

Have fun with news, have fun with your show collaborators, have fun with listeners and you’ll be perceived as, funny. And likely fun, authentic and enjoyable too. If you’re always testing out punch lines and trying to one-up your co-hosts and forcing everything into a bit, you’re going to come across as schticky, annoying or worse a hack.

 

Ask Larry! Episode 8

September 30, 2014 1 comment

This week Larry Gifford answers three new questions about radio: What’s the difference between content and context? Why shouldn’t radio hosts try to be funny? And why can’t I find work?

Fun Cannot Be Formatted

BFRFThis week, I came across an alarming number of people who talked about radio and the lack of fun, enjoyment and entertainment it brings to them. Some of the reaction was predictable. On the Radio Stuff podcast we talked to teens about radio.

“I don’t laugh to jokes on the radio,” one girl said.

Another guest talked about racing to turn off the car radio to avoid the onslaught of commercials and having to endure songs he “hates” to hopefully hear one he likes.

“I can pay $4.95 a month to Pandora avoid ads.” and skip songs.

What did surprise me was the conversation with a veteran radio host who had an epiphany when his own mom didn’t recognize him on the air, because he wasn’t having fun anymore.

What happened? Somewhere along the way radio lost its fun factor.

Paralysis by analysis.

Programmers, GMs, corporate VPs all meddling too much.

Too much focus on results and not enough on entertaining the listeners.

Yes, there is some science to radio, but there’s just as much art. And art is messy, unpredictable, and subjective.

“A leader is best

When people barely know he exists

Of a good leader, who talks little,

When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,

They will say, “We did this ourselves.”

― Lao TzuTao Te Ching

We all started in radio because we loved and enjoyed what we were doing. It seemed effortless. Now, somehow, it seems full of effort and struggle. Many radio execs are trying to “manage” their way to success instead of lead. “Say this. Don’t say that. Read this. Be out by this time. Don’t forget to tease, promote, do weather and traffic together. ” I’m as guilty as anyone, but I’m changing my tune.

 “The great Way is easy,

yet people prefer the side paths.

Be aware when things are out of balance.”

― Lao TzuTao Te Ching

I believe the key to bringing fun back to radio starts with building a trust between the programmers and talent. There needs to be room to create and permission to fail. Stations need to allow autonomy, personality, creativity, and unpredictability. Setting general guidelines for brand and success should allow the talent blossom. If you don’t trust your talent to deliver results then get new talent instead of programming them like robots.

A lot of radio people are over-thinking, over-directing, over-correcting, and over-reacting.

We need to get over it.

It’s time radio folk get back to enjoying ourselves, so listeners can experience the magic and joys of entertaining radio once again.