Posts Tagged ‘Oprah’

Oprah, Rush and Howard Stern Have This. Do You?

I watched a TED Video this week on the origins of pleasure.  Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that our beliefs about the history of an object changes how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is. Which explains, in part, why some “heritage” radio stations and hosts across the country continue to get great ratings, despite the poor programming. People love (take great pleasure in) the idea of listening to the station that their Mom or Dad or grandparents  listened to. It’s a connection to a simpler time, your childhood, and a shared experience with your parents/grandparents.

It also makes me believe that it’s important that each personality and radio station needs to have a story. Seth Godin coincidentally touched on this same idea this week with his blog post “Just a myth.” Godin concludes his blog by encouraging brands (which could be a personality, a show or a station) to create their own mythology (or story.)


So, if I were trying to invent a mythic brand, I’d want to be sure that there was a story, not just a product or a pile of facts. That story would promise (and deliver) an heroic outcome. And there needs to be growth and mystery as well, so the user can fill in her own blanks. Endorsement by a respected ruler or priest helps as well.

The key word, I think, is spiritual. Mythological brands make a spiritual connection with the user, delivering something that we can’t find on our own… or, at the very least, giving us a slate we can use to write our own spirituality on.

People use a Dell. They are an Apple.

The most successful in broadcasting have these mythologies or stories that help define their brand; Oprah, Rush, and Howard Stern all have overcome great adversity to find success (triumph over tragedy.)

So, it begs the question. What’s your story? Start at the beginning and remember how your personality, show or station went from being a germ of idea to transforming into what it is today. What did you overcome? How are you spiritually serving your fans? If you’re a super hero – what’s are your special powers?

Taking the time to write your story / myth is an investment into being a something people listen to and being something people live for, experience and claim as their own.



What Sports & Talk Radio Can Learn From Oprah

I know what you’re thinking – Larry’s lost it. I know Oprah has become the manly man’s kryptonite, but love her or hate her; it’s undeniable that Oprah understands broadcasting and how to connect with an audience. In her Master Class series on OWN, Oprah passed along insights that apply to all of us in the industry.

– Whether she’s speaking to one hundred, ten thousand or a million people, Oprah seizes each as an opportunity to educate, inspire or uplift. She wants people to walk away saying, “I never thought of it that way.” 

– Oprah is a collector of experiences.  She uses these experiences to understand what she doesn’t know, so she can be a bridge for her fans. In turn, she shares and creates these experiences for as many people as she can. As a side note: one my fraternity brothers – a former wrestler and football player – was on Oprah’s Australian trip this year for “ultimate fans” and is now spreading the word of the power and mystique of the Oprah experience.

– Oprah goes out of her way to be a story teller. She puts a human face on stories and, though often extreme, finds the commonality between the person she’s interviewing and the people who are watching and explores it so everyone can learn and grow.


I believe these ideas hold true for sports and talk radio too.

– Every time you crack the microphone you have an opportunity and obligation to inform, educate, inspire, or entertain. You can help people think differently and motivate an army of fans with the sound of your voice. There is a big responsibility that goes with that.

– Experience life, share it with your fans, and look for opportunities to create experiences for others.

– Tell stories about people. Whatever it is you decide to talk about, put a face on it. Tell their story. And then search for the humanness in that story, the universal truths to which fans generally respond like courage, selfishness, camaraderie, sacrifice, pride, hubris, fear, success and failure.

As a news-talk or sports host, you have an opportunity to impact and influence people. Be cautious and conscious with this privilege.