Posts Tagged ‘Listeners’

10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else

The other day my wife and I were talking about my new weekly email (see: email #1) and were throwing around possible enticements to get people to sign-up. I wasn’t sure I wanted to promise anything more than the weekly communication and blurted out, “I’m not sure I want to promise them 10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else to get them to sign up” It was a flippant, off-hand remark that got us laughing and then I thought, “hmm. It would be fun to write.” My wife cautioned that if I did it would need to be helpful too. (Always the voice of reason.)


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THE LIST: 10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else

game of life1. Stop keeping score. Ironic considering the list this item appears on. But seriously, this will free you from the chains of ego – at least in part. So much of what riles us up is constantly comparing ourselves to the people around us. We compare our talents, which can be motivating. But, we also take stock of who got which desk, who got a new computer, who went to lunch with the boss, who is in the PDs office and for how long, who gets more air time, which show gets more promotion on air, who is voicing more commercials, what show got bumper stickers or billboards, who is on stage at the station concert and which bands are they introducing and on and on and on. Stop it. You’re going to drive yourself insane. If you’re not being treated fairly, take your official compaint to human resources. But, by fairly I don’t mean equally. Not everyone gets a parking spot, a performance bonus, a cushy office, or even a free t-shirt. Be supportive of each other’s success and opportunities. Trust me, if you stop keeping score and start cheering each other on you’ll feel better about yourself and find your job more personally fulfilling, because of the impact your actions have on the success of your team.

asshole2. Don’t be an a – – hole. This might seem cheeky, but really there’s no need to terrorize your co-workers, bully subordinates, or stride through the building like you are above it all. We all deserve better. And more and more people I talk to are instituting a “No a – – hole hiring policy.” (Like this guy) So, finding and keeping your job is getting tougher and tougher if you insist on being a sphincter.

3. Be present. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually (if you are inclined.) I know some will say this is mumbo-jumbo. Okay, move on. For the rest of you… being in the present moment will make you more engaged, more reliable, more likable, more productive, more balanced, more mindful and the list goes on. This means letting go of what happened last hour, yesterday or last week so you can focus on what’s happening right now. It also means to stop thinking about what’s next or getting emotionally engaged in events that haven’t happened, but might. Sometimes the easiest way for me to shed those nagging thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow is to make a list of what’s racing through my brain so I don’t forget it and I can address it at a later time in a more focused, productive way.

greatness4. Aspire for greatness. People like to be around positive people who believe dreams can come true. I actually had someone tell me after a coaching session they didn’t want any more feedback on improving their show, because, “it’s good enough” they just wanted me to grow their audience. What a buzz kill. When I took over as program director at ESPN in Los Angeles I was quoted in the trades predicting the station would be #1 in the market. Lots of people laughed. But at the end of the day do you want to work with people who believe greatness is possible or work with pessimists (they like to disguise themselves realists) who are satisfied with the status quo? Greatness please. I always want to work with those people who dream big and take action to achieve it.

5. Present solutions not problems. This is what I call “being an owner” or “see a problem, fix it.” Too often people carry their problems across the radio station being sure to let it spill a little on everyone’s desk before dumping the mess and all their attached emotions in the (insert manager position here)’s lap. This instantly relinquishes them of the responsibility of whatever is going on and leaves it up to management to solve. Or so they think. We are adults, right? Trust me, the results will be swifter and more satisfying if, before you march in and demand resolution, you consider what that might look like. I would even approach it as a pitch to solve a problem at the radio station that will; increase morale, save the company money, increase efficiency, etc. Management has enough problems to solve. If solutions are offered it’s easier to act on them in a timely manner. Vice-versa is true too. Management can’t tell employees to work smarter, collaborate or increase output without offering tools and solutions to do so.

listen6. Listen. This means actually hearing what people are saying. Studies have shown only 7% of communication is verbal, 93% is non-verbal (55% body language, 38% tone of voice.) So, put down your devices, move away from computer screens, and communicate with people face to face as often as you can. Focus on what they saying. Listen. Don’t just use the time they’re talking to figure what you’re going to say next. Communication only works when the message sent is the message received, otherwise it is miscommunication. This also applies to listening to the radio station you work at. Hear what is going over the air tell people specifically what you like.

7. Make “what,” “how” and “why” equal partners in making decisions. I’m a big proponent of strategic thinking. Knowing what you want to do, why you want to do and how it can be done seems logical enough, but in a radio station atmosphere I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of knee-jerk reaction decisions based on nothing but spite, fear, or an attempt to save face. Regardless if you’re a board operator or the chairman of the board, keeping this in mind while making decisions is key to garnering internal support for changes. It’s human nature to want to know WHY a decision is being made and if you are the decision maker you should have an answer other than, “Because.” This applies to all levels of employees.

Second-Chances8. Give people second chances. The old adage is you only have one shot to make a first impression. But, what if we just declared that old. Some people get nervous, have bad days, always make a horrible first impression or are simply miscast. I know I’m as guilty of anyone as painting someone with a broad brush on a first impression, putting them in a box, or diminishing their value to me based on a single interaction. That’s silly. Humans are fallible. Be human and realize you may be the one who made the mistake this time and give people a second chance before writing them off.

9. Be open to uncomfortable ideas. No need for any safe words here. Get your mind out of the Cosby gutter. This is about challenging conventional wisdom. This guy is doing it and I only wish he wasn’t so combative, angry and intent on hording his solutions until you hire him. But this can apply to changing where you sit in the studio, what color the walls are, experimenting with new bits or talent, or rebranding a heritage station to be more in touch with the way people consume radio today. Be the guy or gal who encourages evolution. The person who says, “Yes, and…” and add to the discussion instead of shutting it down with a, “no!” or even worse, “we’ve never done that here.”

10. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. We’re in this big crazy world together so why not pitch in to help make it a better place to be. You could volunteer at your favorite charity, share knowledge with people who could use it, raise funds, raise awareness, or help find solutions to community issues. It could be as simple be creating a personal mission in how you want your actions and activities to impact others. When you are selfless in your actions the energy you exert is minimal in the scope of life, but the impact can be life changing for you and others. It also gives you a broader perspective on how your actions make a difference. And I believe when we are conscious and purposeful with our actions the impact is greater and more positive than if we take action in a vacuum and let the chips fall where they may.


And those are 10 Things To Make You Better Than Everyone Else. Feel free to share additional items, feedback and stories below.

13 Scary Things About Radio

October 31, 2014 1 comment

In honor of Halloween here is my list of what’s really scary about radio.

The first, seventh or 20th time you find yourself alone, at night, in a radio station studio. There’s something creepy about sitting in a padded room, talking into a microphone and hoping/praying/believing someone is listening, understanding what you’re trying to say and getting it.


No one enjoys free food more than radio people, except when delivered by listeners. We’ve all seen the food that sits on the table as everyone watches out of the corner of their eye waiting for the first sucker to try it to see if it’s poisoned.

Listeners are our life blood, but if you have the slightest bit of a germ phobia then shaking listener’s hands at events is only a little less scary than hugging them.

Nielsen-ppmIt’s scary to think that our careers, in part, rest in the hands of someone who is so desperate for money or power or both they’re willing to wear the Nielson equivalent of a beeper every day for some extra beer money each month.

When you really stop to consider it, it’s frightening to me that the kids making $10/hr. are responsible for making sure the spots, which account for 80%+ of the station’s revenue, play correctly. These are the same kids who look at their shoes when they pass you in the hallway.

Dead Air. Death is in its name! Can it get much scarier?  It comes in many forms;

  • The moment of panic when the computers seize up, you can’t play a song, you can’t go to break, you open your mouth and have nothing to say.
  • When you’re listening to your radio station driving down the highway and it goes silent.
  • When you race to the bathroom during a song and forget your keycard to get back into the studio area and you can hear the song ending over the loud-speaker and know nothing is going to happen in 10, 9, 8, 7…

Five words phrases to send shivers down your spine:

  • RefrigeratorThe radio station coffee pot. (freezer/refrigerator)
  •  Back of the promo closet.
  •  The old jock lounge couch.
  •  Back of the station van.
  •  A darkened traffic director’s office.

What would you add to this list of scary things about radio? Add them to the comments below.

RELATED: This week’s Radio Stuff Podcast (episode 75) shares three stories of haunted radio stations.

Takeaways from a day in LA

Things I heard, overheard and thought about while driving around listening to radio and visiting radio friends in Los Angeles.

A perfectly good pair of earbuds sacrificed for 3D effects. (see picture)Beast5

Newscaster uses the phrase “via social media.” Reminder to self: never use the word “via.” It’s not conversational. It’s newspeak. It especially sounds ridiculously antiquated next to “social media.”

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to referring to “top” and “bottom” of the hour, but it’s also really just radio-speak. Most clocks are digital now and the reference is lost on anyone under the age of 35.

After some consideration, I find it creepy that a male morning host is doing live endorsements for a doctor who performs hysterectomies and other invasive, personal surgeries on women. The creep factor increases when he invites his female listeners to a weekend seminar and promises he’ll be there to greet you. Ew.

30 minutes is a long time to talk to one guest.

Spending five minutes to go through “what’s coming up on the show” doesn’t entice me to listen longer, it just leaves me frustrated for the time I just spent listening.

I’m a fan of what KFI is doing with customizing spots per day part. John & Ken (PM Drive) were heard addressing Bill Handel’s listeners (AM Drive) with an insurance endorsement. Good cross promotion and customization.

Beast3I spent some time with Fred “the dean of LA Sports” Roggin (center) and among our topics of discussion was the advice he offers young broadcasters.

“Be true to yourself. Radio is not going to make you rich. Do it for the love of radio. Do it because you want to communicate.” Fred continues, “Radio is a family. It bonds people. And it has to be in your blood. You’re not doing it to be a star and you’re not doing it to be rich. Never do anything for money. Do what you love and you’ll end up loving what you do.”

Do You Know Your Listeners?

Your listeners are regular guys with regular jobs, regular families and regular problems. They work hard and can’t afford to go to a lot of sporting events. They’ve likely never been court side, walked on a Major League Baseball field or even talked to a pro athlete.  You are their ticket inside. They crave local sports information.  These guys are smart, more media savvy than you think, and they know what they like when they hear it. They have high expectations for sports content whether it is on TV, radio, the internet or other. They likely know more about at least one local team than you do and certainly believe that to be true. They are passionate about these teams. They don’t want you to rely on the audience to provide your content, they won’t be calling in and they won’t enter contests.  They don’t want you to try too hard to be funny, smart or connected. They don’t want you to waste their time. They are listening by themselves and using you as an escape from real life. These guys are tuning in to hear YOU talk about the things that matter most to them. They want to like you, but often times think you are an idiot. They have no loyalty. If you are boring, they will find someone who isn’t. They want you to take a side, have an opinion, provide unique information, explore an angle, or a go in a new direction. Tell them a story. They want to know you, recommend you, rely on you, and trust you. They want you to entertainment them and tell them something they don’t know. They will steal your opinions and use them as their own in front of their buddies. They’re not as sick of Brett Favre, steroids, and BCS talk as you are, even if they say they are.  These are your listeners to lose. What are you doing today to win them over?