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Welcome to the all new Airchecker experience. A social networking site for radio. We are powered by the people of radio and those who have a great passion to have conversations about radio. As the voice of the Canadian radio industry since 2009. Airchecker has gained a loyal army of followers who say we are the best source for radio. 1000s of radio lovers power your radio news each week via Airchecker. read more >

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The Stuph File Program – Episode #0482

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0482.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Phil Keoghan, host, National Geographic’s Explorer
  • Andrew Fazekas, science writer — Oumuamua in space
  • Peter Franklin, The Gabby Cabby

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0481

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0481.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Anik Matern, actress & acting coach
  • Shannon O’Dowd, co-author, The Ultimate On-Camera Guidebook
  • David Buck, writer, Tedium — history of scale modelling

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0480

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0480.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Peter James, author, Absolute Proof
  • Dr. John Huber, clinical forensic psychologist — Facebook & depression

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Forget Original Material: Focus on Unique Performances

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Every time I work with an air personality that insists on creating original material that has never been done before, a shiver runs through me.

They’re almost certainly going to fail.

There are so few truly original ideas that nobody has done before or is doing now. And talent that is so convinced they can do it are misplacing their efforts. Most of the content you see, hear and experience is an idea that’s been done many times before. It looks different and feels different because of how it’s performed and who’s performing it.

Original material doesn’t matter. Unique content does. That may sound like a contradiction, but it’s not. Here’s the difference.

Original Material

 When is the last time you had a truly original idea? Are you sure it was really original? Did you Google it? Chances are, your original material was a result of something you saw, heard or experienced elsewhere.

Seth Godin discovered that original material is a dead end to obscurity. When looking for ideas for a book, he was looking for a new topic that had never been done.

He says:

Every time we had an idea, every time we were about to submit a proposal, we discovered that there was already a book on that topic. Someone else had ‘stolen’ my idea before I had even had it.

You can spend most of your time trying to create a new feature, topic or story that nobody has done. But that’s not the key to unique performances.

Stop wasting your time! Why bother?

Your Fans Don’t Expect 100% Original Content

The key to success has nothing to do with finding all original material. Content becomes unique when you hijack the content by injecting your personality into the topic.

As Godin says:
No one expects you to do something so original, so unique, so off the wall that it has never been conceived of before. In fact, if you do that, it’s unlikely you will find the support you need to do much of anything with your idea.

 

Instead of obsessing over original material, focus on how to perform your content so that only you could do it. Hijacking ideas and making them your own allows you to spend your energy figuring out how to connect with your audience with an emphasis on character traits.

After all, listeners don’t become fans because of the information or the topics. They become fans because of how those things are performed in a style that’s all yours.

DeDe In The Morning’s Unique Performance

Here’s a perfect example of how it works in radio. This is DeDe in the Morning on K104/Dallas. With her co-hosts Lady Jade and Michael Shawn, listen to how this show takes a fictional story that everyone has access to and turns it into something only they could do through a unique performance:

 

This break comes alive because of their personalities, not because of the topic. By the way, this is a great story to use on your show, too! Steal it and perform it in your own unique style.

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from, borrowing, adapting and even stealing someone else’s idea. There’s a lot wrong with simply performing someone else’s content exactly as they did it.

You can’t copy your way to success. So be smart about choosing the right ideas to steal, then work hard to make those things stand out in a remarkable, delightful and important way. Original content doesn’t matter. Unique content delivered in your character voice does.

Photo Credit: Freepik.com

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0479

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0479.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0478

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0478.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Critical Importance of Storytelling On The Radio

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Pop Quiz: What’s the most important skill a radio personality can have? Is it a great voice? A pleasant personality? A smooth way of talking up song ramps?

It’s none of those things. It’s the ability to tell stories. Storytelling is at the very core of the difference between announcers and true personalities that command attention on the air.

Fortunately, there are some basics any personality can learn and apply to tell better stories. There’s an art to relating a personal experiences on the air. But every art is governed by some principles and laws. There’s also a science to storytelling. The science is in the structure of a story. There are 5 storytelling steps, and each is important in crafting a great break on the air.

Some personalities are naturally great storytellers. They have a gift for making the listener feel special. Others (most) have to work on it.

Mastering, or at least understanding, the 5 Steps of Storytelling will improve your communication and connection skills, on the air and off. It will also tighten and sharpen the show’s performance because you’ll realize the importance of deeper show prep.

Let’s examine and demonstrate each of the 5 Steps of Storytelling.

5 Storytelling Steps Defined

Here’s a short summary of each step of a well-told on-air story: The hook, set up, dress up, payoff and black out.

Step 1: Hook

A magazine attracts attention to a story by the headline. Their headline is the hook. On magazine covers, the headline is designed for one purpose. It’s to provoke curiosity so the shopper picks it up and turns to the story. That’s it. It’s the same on the air. The hook’s sole function is to get interest in what will follow.

Hooks have to be quick. You have 7 seconds to get the hook in and lure the audience deeper into content. The hook should rarely be about you, but rather to set up a story that supports the hook.

The hook is the most important part of your story. If you don’t capture attention in the opening line(s), listeners will be gone by the time it gets “good”.

Step 2: Set Up

In the magazine metaphor, the set up is the first paragraph of the story. Once you open the magazine to the right page, the setup lures you into the rest of the article. On the air the Set Up should advance the story and frame the details that lead the audience onward.

The second step of storytelling is really the first step toward Pay Off.

Personal stories, main characters and conflict happens in the Set Up. Think of it as a bridge from the opening line to the twists and turns that build interest toward the thrilling conclusion.

A set up should have enough detail to move the story forward. In most cases, such as in the Jeff & Jer segment below, a personal story works best in the set up phase, particularly if listener participation is coming later.

Step 3: Dress Up

In this step, the break accelerates toward payoff.

How will you embellish, exaggerate and enhance the content? Turn up the volume on the story during the Dress Up step.

Adding detail, color and twists and turns is important in this phase. But every element must move the story toward the conclusion.

A lot can, and often does, go wrong in this step. The wrong details can become a detour or dead end. This usually happens because personalities fail to plan this part of the story.

Step 4: Pay Off

There are two critical elements in getting to the Pay Off. The first is building anticipation by increasing suspense. The second is protecting the outcome so the Pay Off is surprising.

Every break needs a destination.

Before the story begins, plan the outcome. In fact, this is where you should target the bulk of show prep time. It’s much easier to perform spontaneously when you know where a break is going.

Some bits don’t have a natural punchline, including the example below. That’s okay, as long as there’s a direction and a plan for getting out efficiently.

Step 5: Black Out

Once it’s over, it’s over. 

Many great breaks are ruined when talent goes for one more punchline. That one extra joke or one more phone call can turn a good break into an ordeal. It’s always better to find an exit and take it rather than hoping for another out that doesn’t come.

Conclusion

Storytelling structure is a fundamental element of radio performance. Personalities should use the 5 storytelling steps in every break. In Show Prep, start with the Pay Off. Identify how you want the break to end. Then develop a great Hook. With those elements in place, the Set Up and Dress Up are much easier.

Some segments will have a longer Set Up or Dress Up than others. Experiment with the 5 storytelling steps in your show prep process to find your sweet spot. As you learn to master the break structure, it will et easier and easier.

This is just a sample of the storytelling principles I share in my new online seminar, STORYTELLING BASICS. The webinar is October 9 at 1pm EST. Sign Up for the free seminar here.  The seminar is also available on demand after October 9 here.

 

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0477

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0477.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Mary Winchenbach, creator, Tirdy Works
  • Dr. John Huber, clincal forensic psychologist — lawnmower parents
  • Lee Jenkins, author, Permission to Forget

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Are You Punching Listeners In The Face?

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When you think about it, many air personalities are rude. In the interest of brevity, we rush into content to get off to a quick start. And when we reach a high point, we suddenly bail on the break. Those are important principles. But not if it comes at the expense of being warm, friendly human beings. There’s an art in knowing how to shake hands on the air. And saying goodbye.

Randy Chase programs K-LOVE and AIR 1. He coaches his talent to find the right balance by teaching this principle:

Did you shake their hand or punch them in the face?

What It Means To Shake Hands On The Air

Imagine you’re a party. You walk up to a group of people engaged in a conversation and interrupt by launching a story:

Guys drive me crazy because they never listen.

Okay. That’s a pretty strong hook. Then you proceed to tell your personal story to develop your topic.

You’ve disturbed their mood by inserting your personality into their circle. They’re overwhelmed, and probably think you’re rude. It’s like walking up to the group and punching them in the face.

You didn’t shake hands to enter the conversation. Now, you’re thinking about the 7-second challenge. It’s true that it’s important to gain attention immediately or risk losing it. But we’re sacrificing human connection by rushing into content.

When launching a break, imagine the audience in an active conversation. They may be singing along with a song you’re playing or interested in the newscast that was on. Or, they could be going over their kid’s homework on the way to school.

When you turn on the microphone, you’re inserting personality into their world.

PPM Is Making Us Rude

Our reaction to the ratings system is part of the problem. PPM programming philosophy is to remove everything that doesn’t have to be there. We make it efficient, but it’s no longer human.

We’re PPMing personality to death. Blurting out content isn’t being tight or focused. Being tight is about not wasting time or boring the listener. It’s not about getting it on and gone as fast as possible. Those short spurts of interruptive talk is rude.

Ending The Story and Walking Away

The other end of the break is also a problem. Talent is so focused on taking the first exit, they often miss great moments. And they leave the audience wondering why they stopped talking and walked away. You still need to shake hands on the air when you say goodbye at the end of the break. It’s polite.

I hear so many breaks that end on a high point, but leave the story unfinished. That’s fine if the content is crafted into a story arc and is teased to the next break. But it’s not about getting out on the first exit. It’s getting out on the best exit.

It’s like telling a story, making them laugh, then turning and leaving the room.

Programmer Matt Cleveland at Bell Media’s cluster in Fredricton, New Brunswick says,

Getting out on the first high point is the new talk up the intro of the song and nail the post. It doesn’t matter. It is celebrated only by the jock on the air.

It’s like Seinfeld’s George Costanza walking out after delivering a good line.

Get out at the right time, and use it to build momentum. Make that group of people beg you to stay and tell more stories. If the audience is engaged, take advantage of that peak to build forward momentum on the show.

Conclusion

Being tight, focused and efficient are great disciplines for personalities. But don’t be so focused on short that personal connection is lost. Think about ways you can shake hands on the air.

There are many ways to inject personality and friendly comments into a show. I call it “ize-ing” your personality. Use those to your advantage.

As an air talent, try to avoid punching listeners in the face and walking away without saying goodbye.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0476

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0476.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Anthony Del Col, comic book creator, Luke Cage: Everyman
  • Larry Gifford, broadcaster, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s Podcast
  • Frank Kermit, relationship coach — dating & sex

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0475

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0474.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0474

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0474.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

How To Host A Radio Party

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Everyone loves a party. It’s a celebration. It’s fun. And if it’s done right, guests can’t wait for the next party. But did you ever host a party? I’m sure you have. Hosting the party isn’t nearly as glamorous as going to a party.

It’s a lot of work to host a party. A great party is directly related to the amount of time and effort the host puts into planning the details and promoting – yes, promoting – the party to guests.

How to Host a Party

The list of tasks for a successful party is endless. From the planning stages of create a guest list to cleaning up after the party, it’s a big job. For example, to host a party, you have to:

Plan the theme.

Prepare the room.

Decorate.

Put together the playlist.

Send the invitations.

Hire a caterer.

Handle RSVPs.

Follow up with those who don’t respond.

Call and remind guests as the date gets nearer.

Then, guests have to know what to expect. What time does it start? When does it end? Is there dinner? Or appetizers? What should I wear? Can I bring a guest? Is there a charge for the drinks? What should I bring? Who else will be there? Who is it for? How do I get there? Where do I park? Where do I hang my coat?

When the party starts, the host has to make sure everyone is looked after. The host must insure guests  feel welcome and included by making introductions and facilitating conversations.

At the end of the evening, the host arranges for rides home for those who may have had a bit too much to drink. And often, they send them off with a gift bag to put a finishing touch on a great evening.

And when everyone finally leaves, guess who gets to clean up?

Your Radio Show Is a Daily Party

A radio show is a party that takes place on the air each day. The question is whether or not it’s a party listeners will tell their friends about…and want to come back.

Let’s go over some of the details it takes to host a party on the air.

Invitations

Do listeners feel welcome to come to the party? Do you build anticipation with specific, direct messaging so they know what to expect? When they tune in to the party, is it clear what the party is about and who it’s for? Or do they feel lost and confused?

Have you told them exactly when and where to listen? This happens both on and off the air. Use all tools available, including email, social media and promos.

When did the last email go the audience database? Were details included about the highlights for tomorrow’s party? Did you tweet them? Text them?

Is there a guide to the show on the station’s web site with updated information so listeners can come to the party?

Entertainment

Fun doesn’t just happen at a party or on the air. It’s the result of careful planning and preparation. You can’t throw a party, invite a few people and hope for something good to happen. You have to set up the entertainment to match your theme and excite your guests.

How is the content targeted to fit the guest’s mood? Does it makes sense to them? Is it appropriate? Is it appealing to those on the guest list? In other words, do you curate content, turning topics into stories that resonate with the target audience.

A great host builds a party’s schedule around one main thing that stands out above all others. What is the highlight of the party that guests will talk about tomorrow? Will something happen at the party to make it memorable? Are you staging your show in a way that points listeners to one key moment, then staging it in a way that helps listeners actually remember it?

A great host arranges entertainment that makes guests feel involved, but doesn’t rely on the guests to provide the entertainment. On the radio, are the breaks entertaining on their own, or are you just throwing out a phone topic and hoping the audience has something interesting to say?

Decorations

Little things make a big difference at a party. Decorations don’t make the party successful, but they add ambiance that enhances the experience. Are you using on-air decorations effectively?

Does the production match the theme of the party?  Have you taken care of little things like music beds and production effects that set the tone? Does it accent the party or does it overwhelm in an obnoxious way?

RSVPs

The invitations have been sent, but that doesn’t mean anyone will show up. Just because a promo aired for a feature that airs at 7:20 doesn’t mean listeners are coming for it.

A party host has to follow up on the invitation. Once appointment tune in events are set, it’s important to constantly remind them that the party is happening. Guests have other things they could be doing.

Don’t expect them to RSVP on their own. Build a plan to follow up and chase them down. Create a plan to make sure listeners come to the party!

Hosting

Remember that the party is not for you. It’s for guests. A host’s job is to provide a great experience. Do this well and guests will love the host for it. They’ll tell their friends about it. And they’ll look forward to the next party, which happens to be tomorrow.

Great hosts don’t spend their time talking about themselves. Do that and one by one, all guests will leave. Nobody wants to be around self-absorbed party hosts.

Clean Up:

As soon as the party is over, clean up begins. It’s time to pick up the pieces and start planning the next one. The process starts over, with new invitations.

But before the invitations go out for tomorrow’s party, it’s a good idea to review today’s show and consider how the next one can be better.

Conclusion

Your guests’ (audience) enthusiasm for your event (show) will only be as great as your attention to planning (preparation) and detail (execution).

It’s a lot of work to insure an event is a success. Don’t take it for granted and expect them to just “find” you.

BURLI AND CRAIG POWER, ACADIA BROADCASTING

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One of the most satisfying parts of working with Burli Software is the knowledge that our customers tend to stay with us for a long time. Loyalty is important to us, and it goes both ways!

Take radio reporter Craig Power, with the team at Acadia Broadcasting. He’s the morning news anchor and reporter at CKBW in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, having also been in the business for years with Bayshore Broadcasting, Blackburn Radio, Bell Media, and Astral Media, in radio stations all over Canada.

He’s used multiple newsroom systems over the years, but plainly Burli Newsroom has proven his favourite.

One Stop Shop

“It’s my everything,” says Craig when asked to describe what Burli means to him. For what I need to do on a day to day basis, Burli does it”, he said.

Craig needs it to do a lot. He not only reads the news on-air for South Shore Radio, he’s also his own reporter, venturing frequently into the field to unearth the local news that matters so very much to the community he serves.

Personally, I feel Burli is the only software for what I do for a living. ~ Craig Power, Acadia Broadcasting

He’s fond of using the remote upload tools in Burli to take the audio he gathers in the field and drop it directly into the editing environment.  Turning interviews into compelling stories is simple using Burli’s single editing interface, Craig says.

Working With Burli

Having everything on one screen is “a blessing”, Craig said.  He makes good use of the ability to bring in his text and audio from multiple sources and edit it in one, single screen, calling it “fast [and] efficient”.

 

As a former audio engineer, he is particularly enthusiastic about Burli’s multi-track audio tools.  While in the field, he likes to grab ambient sounds with his iPhone (bagpipes, he jokes, make a good background track on many stories), upload the audio from the field, and employ that audio directly in Burli, underneath his story.  The multi-track editor makes this process simple and fast.

He remembers when the principal way to get audio into an editorial system was playing it from a field recorder over some kind of cable. Burli’s upload and drag-and-drop tools are much easier to work with.

Plus, he notes, the audio editor itself has just the right number of tools that a reporter needs to do the job – it’s not filled with endless extra features you’ll never use.  “It’s meant to get something edited… on the fly, inserted into a script, on the air,” he says, perfect for his use.  He likes to top and tail, adjust levels, and insert ambient sound quickly and easily.  “Everything I’m using is what I need”.

Stacking Up
Craig notes with a laugh that he has used other newsroom systems.  In one non-Burli newsroom, he says, one of the other on-air staff confided she’d been using the software for three years, and she
still hadn’t figured it out.

Burli, Craig says, removes many redundancies and extra steps other systems impose.  Multiply those extra steps dozens or hundreds of times a day, and the work quickly becomes “tedious”.

He was very happy to be back with Burli in his next location. “Personally, I feel Burli is the only software for what I do for a living”.

Loyal Customers
Burli Software is excited to work with customers like Craig, whose enthusiasm is contagious when he describes his line of work.  That he’s equally excited about the tools involved in that work is a great compliment, one we work hard to earn.

We’d like to thank Acadia Broadcasting, CJHK, CKBW, and Craig for their business and support of Burli!

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0473

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0473.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.