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Every Radio Should (and CAN) Generate New Revenue With This Idea

Every radio manager is looking for a new revenue stream. Every PD is trying to find ways to increase visibility and presence. And every promotion manager is desperate for finding ways to build a deeper brand with the station fanbase. And it’s never been easier to leverage your brand with merchandising.

Iconic brands with loyal followers increase their presence and generate huge profits through merchandising. Fans will pay to show off what they’re most passionate about.

  • Many bands make more money from the sale of t-shirts, hats, and other items than concert ticket sales.
  • A popular sports team generates tens of millions of dollars selling merchandise with their logo on it.
  • Nike has turned its familiar swipe logo into a fashion statement that justifies higher prices for its sportswear.

And now, it’s fast, easy, and costs nothing to get into merchandising your brand.

Merchandising Your Radio Station

For the past few months, I’ve been working with digital marketing company WP Hatch to create, manage, and handle all details for online merchandise shops for a few select consulting clients. The stores have been wildly popular, and the company is now extending its Radio Swag Shop services to all radio stations. And they’ve figured out the perfect model for radio brands.

  • There is no cost to the station. Ever. No setup fee. No management fee. Not even online hosting costs. It’s free!
  • The company handles all details, including fulfillment, customer support, payments, and inventory management.
  • Setup is fast. Fill out a simple form online, upload your artwork, and your store will be open for business in 48 hours.
  • Payments for profits generated are sent at the end of every month with a full accounting of sales.

There are dozens of products to choose from. Not surprisingly, face masks and neck gaiters are among the best-selling items so far.

But Will Anyone Buy Your Stuff?

Yes, they will. A recent Jacobs Media study shows that nearly 1 in 4 listeners would be interested in purchasing station branded merchandise.

Get details on the full report here. Another 27% say they might be interested. That’s significant.

And there are other benefits:

  • Create product variations. You can have a product for the station, morning show, or a popular feature. Or, start a series of special event items. A catchphrase from the morning show can be on hoodies and hats in just a few hours. It’s fast and easy to add a new product.
  • Some stations reinvest profits from sales to fund inexpensive on-air giveaways.
  • Two clients look at this initiative as promotion more than profit and are donating proceeds to their station charity/cause to drive more sales.
  • Items can be co-branded with advertisers and sponsors to generate non-spot sales. You could even set up and manage a shop for advertisers and partners to sell their merchandise through Radio Swag Shop.
  • Purchase affordable products for your employees and team to wear at events and promotions.

Some forward-thinking stations are already setting up Holiday-themed stores and designing new products for both branding and revenue purposes.

Conclusion

From traditional items like t-shirts and coffee mugs to today’s hottest products like face masks and neck gaiters, it makes sense for stations to look into Radio Swag Shop. Merchandising your logo and brand is a great way to connect with fans and could become a valuable source of new revenue.

And with this model, there’s nothing to lose, and much to gain.

Get details on setting up your shop here. Check out the Free Beer & Hot Wings shop here.

Interested? You should be. There’s no reason to not have a branded merchandise store available for fans.

 

How This Feature Turned Into A Promotion

Every Personality Needs These 3 Promotion Tools

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The Three E’s Of Personality Radio

E is the fifth letter of the alphabet. And in the radio personality business, E is the most important letter. It stands for the 3 E’s of personality radio.

There’s not enough show biz today. Programming has become too reliant on science and not enough on art. It is too calculated. Too precise. Too literal. There’s an alarming lack of imagination and fun. As programmers try to perfect the sound of their stations, the entertainment value is polished out.

We need a serious injection of the three E’s of entertainment:

Exaggerate, Embellish, and Energize.

Some personalities take issue with this concept. They think I advise them to lie, rejecting the idea because they feat it’s dishonest. But they’re missing the point.

The Three E’s Of Personality Radio

The three E’s are basic tools used in storytelling. The Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams, demonstrates:

Ninety percent of all the books published each year are non-fiction. But the fiction books – the 10 percent –  comprise 90 percent of all book sales.

Fictional characters in movies, novels and TV shows seem real even when we know they are not. We know fiction to be untrue, yet we treat it for a time as if it were true. We are simultaneously naïve, believing what we are told, and savvy, aware of the deception.

This concept is about adding sizzle to a radio show by painting pictures with words that cause stories to be more exciting, dramatic, and enticing.

.For air personalities, executing great stories on the air is a bit different, of course. Each story must be consistent with your character profile. And, it has to be authentically believable. From there, use your imagination to make it stand out!

You already do it in real life with every story shared with friends at dinner. It happens when posting on social media. We all put our best foot forward, exaggerating the good, downplaying the not-so-good.

Apply the same concepts on the radio.

Apply The Three E’s

Each of the three E’s can be used to make segments on the air more interesting. Here’s what each means:

Exaggeration is telling a story with flavor by “turning up the volume” on details to make it more important. Think of the classic “fish story”, where a fisherman exaggerates the size of the catch that day. It’s making everything seem bigger than it really was. Tommy Chong says the key to selling a story is to exaggerate the facts and think, “biggest, best, and most”.

Embellishment is building interest by adding details that may not have actually happened but could have. Storytellers often take a creative license in setting up a dramatic moment.

Enhancing a story is adding action words that give the story life and energy. An ordinary event can be exciting when the story is enhanced with colorful language.

The Three E’s happen when artists invest time in preparing the story for performance and inject it with showmanship.

Here are a few examples:

  • Promos: It’s not “come find the (station) tent at the event”.  Make it, “Join us at the mobile broadcast center” or “Mobile Unit #17”.
  • Positioning: The station doesn’t simply broadcast from the “(call letters) studio”.  Dress it up. At launch, Z100/New York broadcast from a tiny studio in New Jersey. On the air, it was “Live, from the top of the Empire State Building”. Note: Their transmitter was on the Empire State Building.
  • Stories: I had a show once that took winners backstage to meet Phil Collins and Genesis at a concert. They found out that Phil played ping-pong backstage to relax and get ready for the concert. That’s mildly interesting trivia. On-air, they described the moment when Phil beat the show 21-3, then went out and nailed their performance on-stage!

The Last Contest Promotion

Many years ago, Jack McCoy created the greatest radio promotion of all time. The Last Contest sounded larger than life. It lives on as an inspiration to this day.

Yes, it’s dated. But listen to the artistry in the promos:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196463087″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

The Last Contest is a tremendous example of The Three E’s. Think about it when brainstorming a new campaign.

For example:

A client station gave away a pair of tickets to every sporting event in the city for a year. Great prize, right? Larger than life. And the station had very little response. I believe it was because they counted on the value of the prize to drive response. The story was about facts, filled with the number of tickets to each event.

Shortly after, the same station gave away center-court floor seats tickets to a single NBA game against the Lakers. The promos painted a picture. It was filled with imagery. Listeners could imagine being at the game.

The contest attracted more than four times the response of the first promotion.

Conclusion

The Three E’s are a critical part of the entertainment process. Air personalities will be more successful by learning to exaggerate, embellish, and enhance stories. Learn the concepts. Then practice until it’s mastered.

The Three E’s and the Power of Personal Stories

Exaggeration Is a Key to a Great Story

Do You Polish Entertainment Out Of Your Show?

Play to Win: Avoid Not-To-Lose Tactics

Build a 5-Star Personality Brand Seminar on Demand

Tommy Chong & the Key To Personal Stories

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Uncategorized

Air Personalities: Learn These Improv Skills

Aside from being a genuinely likable person, the most important quality an air personality can master is the ability to respond spontaneously. Being truly in the moment as an active listener will help advance a topic. Two improv skills help in this area: active listening and free association.

Active Listening

Even solo shows can use active listening and free association to generate more interesting content.

Active listening means accepting a new reality and responding at the moment every time something is said.

Each comment changes a “scene” by introducing a new reality. It changes the current dynamic.

An active listener responds to the new reality without prejudice, meaning they work with each new comment.

Many personalities get stuck on where the conversation started, or where it’s been. The result is one (or more) of two negative consequences:

  1. The audience is confused. The conversation doesn’t flow naturally. Instead, it bounces back and forth between storylines inside the topic.
  2. A “great line” comes off as forced and unnatural, often sounding self-absorbed and egotistical. It’s forced into dialogue when it no longer fits.

In both cases, the potential of a great moment is missed.

Give Up Ownership

Applying this concept demands each individual give up ownership of a big moment, sacrificing personal achievement for the show. This selfless approach not only improves performance, but it also makes each personality more likable!

In improv, a performer’s goal is to advance the story by contributing an active element,  setting up other performers. This greatly increases the chances of something good happening.

Freddie Mac (The Fox/Fredricton) calls it Always Saying Yes.

Locking in on the “moment” forces talent to stay out of their head and go with what is offered. Just reading this probably sounds scary. At first, it feels like flying on the trapeze without a net. But there is a net!

Your partners are the net! If everyone on the show focuses on moving a story forward, performance becomes a judgment-free zone. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, funny or dumb. Someone pick it up.

Free Association

Some personalities use this as an excuse. They think they’re off the hook for show prep and planning, and that they can simply wing it.

Not so fast.

Active listening and responding spontaneously doesn’t work if there’s nothing to add to the conversation. An important companion of active listening is free association.

Free association is training the brain to trigger key images for every new reality introduced. These images, words, and concepts become a tool chest for conversation.

For example:

Topic: A bank.
Association: Cash machines. Tellers. Wood. People in suits. Small, private offices. A bank robber.

Topic: Peyton Manning
Association: Football, NFL, Super Bowl, TV commercials, Papa John’s, MVP, Dish Network, Colts, Broncos, Tennessee, Manning family, Eli,

Compile a mental inventory of possibilities to use as reference points if and when the time is right. Most of those references will never be used, but having them available makes you a more spontaneous performer.

Many personalities that become proficient in Free Association become annoyed that once they turn it on, they can’t turn it off. Every reference instantly triggers more and more connections. That’s awesome!

Combined to move a story forward, each break has a chance to find a magic moment.

Making Connections

For many comedians, making connections from things not naturally connected is a source of new material. It’s common to hear fans say things like,

How does he/she come up with that? It’s amazing how they think of things like that.

It seems like a tremendous skill, but everyone can learn it. Bridging the gap finds the humor.

Check out these examples from a website that’s populated by fans. They use the term “Crossovers” to connect otherwise disconnected items. Click Here. Warning, some (most) of these aren’t very good, but they provide a glimpse into how the exercise works.

Improve Active Listening

There’s a fun and easy improv training game to help develop these skills.

It’s the One Word Story game. Start with 4 or more players. There’s no limit to how many can play, but you need at least four. If there aren’t enough participants in the show, recruit others.

Start with a topic. The goal is to tell a complete story with each person adding one word to move the story forward, each responding quickly and in context to the reality of the scene when it comes to them.

Here’s an example of it with an improv team:

The nature of the game means that some will contribute a smaller part than others. When your turn comes up, the proper word may be “the” or “a”.

It may be disappointing, thinking that you’re being cheated out of delivering a great line. That’s one of the points of this game. It demonstrates the value of being a team player.

Try it. The game almost always bogs down because of one of four things:

  1. Someone tries to be brilliant and create something instead of just allowing it to happen naturally.
  2. An actor thinks of a great line as the story is being built, but when it’s their turn, their idea makes no sense. But they try it anyway.
  3. A player isn’t listening, and an unexpected twist in the story takes them by surprise, leaving them with nothing to say.
  4. Someone isn’t practicing free association and has no point of reference for the storyline.

This Is NOT Active Listening

Filmmaker Mark W. Gray has a short-form video starring Bill Jones (you may have seen him as the newsman on Glee) that may hit a little too close to home!

Conclusion

You’ll be amazed at how active listening and free association can transform a show.

When each person is actively listening, trust follows, and storylines move forward. The show becomes funnier, more relatable, and is genuinely more likable.

And what’s the value of being likable? It’s the #1 character trait every personality should strive for. That’s a win-win!

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TracyJohnsonBlog

Programming, Personality & Promotion In The New Normal

Everyone knows the world has changed in the past few weeks. Life has been disrupted, and there’s no timeline for returning to normal. The current crisis has had a lasting impact on everyone.

So now what? What’s our new normal?

In our webinar this week, Ken Benson (P1 Media Group), Dave “Chachi” Denes (Benztown) and I shared best practices and ideas for the current environment, provided guidance for the near-term, and offered our forecast for the long-term.

Here are some highlights from the webinar.

The New Normal: Programming

  • In contrast with recent surveys indicating listeners say they are listening to the radio more, early ratings results show AQH has declined significantly in most markets. Listeners are now forming new habits, which may or may not be similar to previous habits. The longer folks are at home, the more difficult it will be to re-attract them to our stations when society is more mobile.
  • Listening to AM/FM radio via streaming and smart speaker usage is higher. Programmers that have not converted to Total Line Reporting to consolidate over-the-air and online listening into one ratings number should do so immediately.
  • Stations should focus on connecting with listeners emotionally, providing an escape from anxiety, and renew efforts to reflect the local community.
  • In times of stress, listeners seek comfort. Consider adjusting the music mix to play fewer new songs and more popular library titles. This is a great time to become more nostalgic, familiar and comfortable.

The New Normal: Personality

  • Air talent plays a vital role at this time. Most shows should remain calm, generally upbeat, and positive. Don’t ignore the crisis, but find ways to relieve listener stress.
  • Personalities should continue to be themselves, with a few subtle adjustments. Some segments that were hilarious a month ago (like prank calls) may seem mean-spirited now. Be a little more sensitive with a little less edge.
    Keep your sense of humor. The #1 most desired trait listeners seek from radio personalities is someone that makes them laugh. That may be even more important now. But be tasteful. There’s plenty to have fun with, but it’s probably not a good idea to make jokes about the disease itself.
  • Personalities having a hard time finding content ideas should consider just being the show that listens to the listener. Many personalities are finding connections just by asking “How are you doing today?”

The New Normal: Promotion

  • It makes no sense to spend marketing or contesting budgets now. If it hasn’t already been taken out of the budget, save it for when life returns to normal. However, play games on the air. You don’t even need prizes! Just have fun.
  • Most stations report phone and text activity is virtually non-existent, but social media engagement remains strong. Use that leverage.
  • Create videos. Take listeners behind the scenes into your new normal. Some should consider starting a podcast now.
  • Plan now for the future. It seems a long way off, but this will end, and life will return to normal. Be ready to take advantage of it. Brainstorm ideas for being at the center of your city’s celebration when life resumes.

Forecast & Recommendations

  • From Tracy Johnson: Just when you thought the radio industry had no more room to cut, the COVID-19 event has made it necessary for more changes. This is a painful time for everyone in the radio business. Some stations will never recover. Some may simply go off the air. There are two major challenges ahead. One is re-attracting listeners to your radio station. The other is finding new sources of revenue because we can’t assume advertisers will automatically return anytime soon.
  • From Dave Denes: Radio is going to struggle well into 2021. Smart managers will apply the principles in the Stockdale Paradox by maintaining a balance of reality and optimism. This is the time great leadership steps up to keep their teams positive and inspired.
  • From Ken Benson: The world has changed as much as it did after 9/11. We need to step back and take a new look at the industry and realize there’s an opportunity for radio to shine. This is the time to pull together and make major differences in listener lives. This could be one of the most exciting and meaningful times in your station’s history.

The webinar is available to watch on-demand anytime for free here. It includes a 50-minute presentation, followed by 40 minutes of Q & A.

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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0552

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 #0552.

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

Featured in this episode:


  • Tim Winders, host, SeekGoCreate Podcast — living in an RV
  • Kelly Brakenhoff, author, Never Mind
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

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.

Categories
TracyJohnsonBlog

What Your Radio Station Or Show Should Do Now About COVID-19

Nothing like this has ever happened before. So there’s no model. No template. What should radio stations do now in response to the fast-moving worldwide disaster that impacts every single person in the world? What should your radio station do now about COVID-19?

There’s a lot of advice out there, from well-meaning experts recommending every station add a newscast every half-hour. Or passing on information from reliable sources. Both may be the right thing for your station. But maybe not. There’s no way one set of rules applies to all stations

I’ve published a new eBook Dealing With Tragedy and Emergencies with far more details. It’s available now for free to all stations. Download a copy here.

Get the book. Study it. Take inspiration from it. Apply the principles to your station tomorrow. It will help. But most programmers and air personalities probably are looking for immediate suggestions on how to respond immediately.

With that in mind, here are my recommendations to help your station find your own solutions for dealing with COVID-19.

How To Respond to COVID-19

Be Who You Are

We’ve never seen an emergency quite like coronavirus. And I know you’re already responding. But as the story develops, here are some things that might help.

If you’re a news station, be great in covering the story from all angles. But if news is not a reason for coming to your station or show, don’t suddenly try to be the news station. It’s not what you’re for. And the more you try to be a news station, the less relevant your station becomes. Listeners have a place to go for updates. However, that doesn’t mean to ignore the topic.

News Coverage

One thing is for sure: Every station should communicate with listeners based on their brand values. But that doesn’t mean every station should add a newscast. It doesn’t make sense for a lot of stations, especially music stations.

Whatever information you use, make sure it is accurate. Double-check the facts. The world is full of fake news and misinformation.

Here are 7 Ways To Avoid Misinformation During Coronavirus, according to Politifact.

  • Learn the basics of the disease.
  • Be wary of claims about the epidemic’s source.
  • Verify images and videos related to the epidemic.
  • Double-check case numbers, death tolls, and fatality rates.
  • Beware of attempts to downplay or amplify the threat of the disease.
  • Don’t share prevention or treatment methods without consulting official sources.

Be Local

You may not be the authority for breaking news, but you can tell local stories and relate how this is affecting your audience better than anyone. Find unique stories, then connect with stories. Watch how the TV networks do it. CNBC focuses on the financial aspect. ESPN is locked in on how it affects sports and athletes. CNN is round-the-clock full coverage of breaking news. Maybe your angle is simply finding positive stories and comforting listeners looking to get away from the anxiety and stress.

Plug into the local community and communicate the most topical and relevant issues that matter to listeners:

  • What schools are closed? Churches? Gatherings of over 250 people?
  • What businesses are closed or have instructed employees to work from home?
  • How are doctors and hospitals dealing with new patients?
  • Dig a little deeper to find stories of those most affected that we would not think of, such as vendors at public events or parking lot attendants. How about waiters and waitresses? Or people who can’t see their parents in the nursing home, leaving them lonely and isolated.

Adjust Personality

If you’re a fun, upbeat, positive air talent, be who you are. If you’re funny, be funny. Don’t joke about important, life-threatening facts. But find ways to show who you are. You may need to back off some aspects of your personality profile and accent other traits.

Contests, Games & Promotions

Some stations have suspended contests and promotions, which is probably a good idea, at least for now. But don’t stop delivering the reasons listeners come to you. Play games and have fun with listeners. You don’t even need prizes. Have fun with listeners. Remember, the biggest reason most turn on the radio is to be put in a better mood!

Stay Calm

Nobody wants to hear a hysterical, panicked broadcaster. There will be some emotional moments. Just be sure to collect yourself and avoid being emotional in the presentation.

Don’t Perform For Ratings

This is going to be a very difficult rating period unless you’re the news station in the market. I also believe Christian stations will do extremely well in this period. But for everyone else, radio listening overall is likely to be lower since there will be fewer cars on the road, and most listening takes place in cars. And, with many folks working from home, TSL is going to suffer on stations specializing in at work listening. The exception is news stations: Listening will be up. And with overall listening down, their shares will skyrocket. There’s not much you can do about this reality. However, you can be authentic, be yourself and connect with fans in deeper ways.

Find a Parade

This promotion concept is to find a movement or idea that is happening in the community and being a part of it. The same theory applies now. In fact, it’s time to double down on community involvement. Look for ways to make a difference in your city, community, and neighborhoods. And tell those stories to make a difference.

Do Something

Don’t just stand there. Do something. Be proactive. Your exact course of action is your own. Nobody can tell you exactly what is right for your station in your market. This story changes quickly. Stay on top of it and reflect your audience. If you’re not sure exactly what fits for your show or station, we’ve launched a special COVID-19 Show Prep site as part of my Personality Magnet Show Prep service. It’s packed with updates (daily), topics and ideas for all formats. Get a free one week trial here.

Conclusion

It’s certainly bad. No doubt about that. But it won’t last forever. Hang in there, take a deep breath and stay focused on how to become more meaningful parts of the audience’s life.

Categories
The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0551

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 #0551.



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

Featured in this episode:




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.

Categories
The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0550

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 #0550.





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

Featured in this episode:


  • Lee Purcell, actress, Carol Of The Bells
  • MJ Preston, author, Four



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.

Categories
TracyJohnsonBlog

Playing Not To Lose Is Not Playing To Win

To win a game, players must have a strategy. Or be incredibly lucky. And relying on luck is not a reliable path to success. When a player chooses to play not to lose, it doesn’t work out. Today, radio stations are in that situation.

Investing resources on music flow is important. But a perfect music flow isn’t going to reverse the trend of listeners spending less time with radio.

Researching the music library ensures the right songs are on the radio and placing the most popular songs at the right spots in clocks is a solid programming tactic.  But is that creating more fans?

45 minutes of continuous music sounds like a competitive music position, but eventually, commercials come on. And those stop sets fall at the same time as every other station in the market. Yes, stop set placement is important. But is any music station winning the most music position against streamers and pure plays?

Promotion and contesting can cause rating respondents to take action. Promotion is important, but does a cue to call or tickets to a backstage meet and greet move the needle?

Avoiding needless talk is important, but shaving a few seconds from talk breaks or tightly controlling break length doesn’t make personalities more appealing.

None of these tactics impacts TSL. It makes programmers feel better because they’re doing something. But it’s a defensive strategy. Radio is playing not to lose.

Play To Win, Not To Lose

Here’s something that is happening almost for sure: Radio’s TSL is going down. And each station’s Time Spent Listening is going down, too. Yet broadcasters obsess about share gain or loss.

Programmers: Other stations are not the competition. That’s just playing The Ratings Game, hoping to lose less than a radio competitor. This internal focus is killing the industry.

Turn it around by aggressively competing to earn more attention.

That’s playing to win.

Here’s how to break the pattern of programming not to lose and start playing to win.

Talk Breaks

Stop worrying about coaching talent to shave 2 seconds of talk time or editing a few words out of a segment. I know one programmer that instructed personalities to edit phone calls to remove pauses and breaths.

A few seconds here and there add up. It’s important to maintain forward momentum, but shorter talk breaks are not a competitive advantage. Effective, personal breaks filled with personality and human connection should be the goal.

I’ve heard many 2 minute breaks that are 1:50 too long. And just as many 7 minute breaks that were too short. In creative, winning programming, the length of a break is secondary to effectiveness.

Innovation

The most obvious sign a station is playing not to lose is repeating the same promotions and programming over and over.

Bringing back a successful idea is a good programming strategy, but simply doing the same things over and over results in a boring station. Listeners respond to fresh ideas. But many stations are in a creative rut. They segue from one group contest to the next, each sounding like the last. And each day of programming makes listeners feel they’re listening to a radio version of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Consistency is good. Predictable is not. Try new things. Experiment. Surprise and delight listeners with new ideas.

Clock Management

Programmers construct elaborate programming clocks, designed to minimize tune out by placing commercials at times dictated by PPM wisdom.

But so is everyone else. So when a listener tunes out to escape commercials, they run into more commercials. And each of those stop sets is endless because PPM analysis proves fewer long stop sets outperforms a balanced clock with fewer commercials.

That’s programming to a rating service. It may work in playing to win The Ratings Game, but it’s slowly making radio less competitive against the real dangers.

Dare to be different. Be less predictable. Try something new.

Strict Talk Policies

Programmers are hung up avoiding negatives. Management issues orders that certain topics are off-limits to avoid listener complaints. The list continues to grow because the public is hypersensitive about anything that doesn’t fit their worldview.

So programmers make rules when they should be coaching talent to creatively manage content that falls within guidelines that support brand values.

Radio has mastered managing details but misses the bigger picture: How does it sound and are we inspiring listeners?

Misapplying Research

Safe programmers focus on removing potential irritants. Research comes in and the management team scrambles to get rid of anything listeners dislike. That would mean there’s no reason to tune out. Remove the off-ramps and the car stays on the freeway, right?

Holding on to existing listeners longer is a good thing. But that’s playing not to lose. It’s not playing to win.

Simply removing negatives can leave a station in the Zone of Mediocrity. There are fewer reasons to tune out, but it also removes reasons to tune in. Many stations have polished the entertainment value from the air.

Obsess About Everything

Hand-wringing and hall-pacing communicates tension and fear. It makes everyone anxious. And that stifles creativity.

Relax and have fun, or at least act like you’re relaxed and having fun. This is the entertainment business and personalities can’t attract larger audiences if they’re worried about another station stealing shares. Or worried about the next round of layoffs.

Conclusion

Winning programmers create can’t-miss entertainment that leaps through the speakers and compels listeners to pay attention. That comes from personalities that attract and lead a passionate fan base.

Programming science is important, of course. But programming not to lose produces disposable stations. Radio is less important each day. We’re losing traction quarter-hour by quarter-hour.

Play to win. Take risks. Don’t be reckless, but be creative, bold and progressive. Try something different. It may not be perfect and may even run off a meter or two (shudder).

But it may save you from your path to extinction.

 

Music Flow and TSL

Lucky? Here Are 5 Ways to Make Your Luck

How To Build Clocks

Improve Music Research Results

The Real Competition

How Long Talk Breaks Should Be

It’s Time To Rethink Programming Clocks

Do You Polish Entertainment Out Of Your Show?

Categories
The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0549

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 #0549.



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

Featured in this episode:




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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0548

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 #0548.





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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0547

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 #0547.





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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0546

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 #0546.



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TracyJohnsonBlog

How to Survive Radio Job Dislocation

What a start to the year. Nearly everyone in the radio industry has either lost a job or knows someone who has. The Great Radio Purge came suddenly and cut deep. And there may be more to come. Major broadcast companies sometimes tend to play follow the leader. But one thing is for sure: Hundreds of good people are wondering what happens next.

Some will get out of the business. Others will fight back. Some will use it as motivation to advance their career. But this is certain:

This event requires action from every single person in radio.

Here’s what to do now.

For Everyone

Planning the future is always a good idea. Think about where you want to be and plot a course to get there.

Identify Goals. Taking the next offer (or any offer) is tempting. But make sure it fits your career goals. Where do you want to end up? Focus on moves that move you closer to that goal. Being downsized is a setback, not a career killer. However, a series of hops from job to job might be. When on the beach, you may not be able to be as selective, but try not to make decisions out of desperation. For those working and worried, develop a plan. Now!

Expand The Possibilities. Identifying goals often uncovers opportunities never considered. Some personalities and programmers think of themselves as a format specialist, but talented people can adapt. This may be just what you need for a major breakthrough. Similarly, smaller companies and markets could be a perfect fit. Or apply skills in new ways. Don’t limit your search to just radio. What else could you do?

Update Your Presentation. Getting a Gig is constantly marketing. How long has it been since the resume, cover letter and audio demo has been updated? It’s time to make it great.

Get Listed In The TJMG Talent Pool. The free service for personalities, programmers, producers and promotions managers is already connecting talent with radio stations. Everyone should be listed. Click here to join. Don’t wait until it’s urgent. Get in there now!

Be grateful. Many are afraid, anxious and worried. That’s natural. Find something to be grateful for each day and make it a priority to keep a strong, positive attitude even if everyone else is freaking out.

Victims of The Great Radio Purge

The biggest problem with mass layoffs is a flood of talent competing for fewer available positions. Realize that finding the next gig may take awhile.

Here are some things to do immediately:

Move Past The Pain. This is hard. It’s human nature to be angry and bitter. I would be, too. But that won’t help Get That Gig. Turn the page and don’t look back. Fill your day with positive thoughts looking forward to a better tomorrow. Don’t let negativity or disappointment affect how the industry and prospective employers view you. If it takes time to “get there”, fake it til you make it!

Network. Make contact with every colleague and contact as soon as possible. Reach out to everyone you know even if it’s not a close relationship. Be proactive. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. For tips on networking to Get That Gig, go here.

Watch the Get That Gig Webinar. This is a step by step tutorial on how to go after a job in radio. It’s free. Watch it on demand here.

Start New Projects. With time on your hands, increase skills. Launch a new podcast. Build a personal website for marketing your personal brand. Learn new skills.

Free (and Major) Discount Offers For Victims

We feel for you, because we’ve all been there before.

Tracy Johnson Media Group is offering free services for anyone currently on the beach.

Effective immediately:

Insiders Radio Network. Free for 90 days. This is one of the industry’s best resources, loaded with tutorials, seminars on demand and much more. We’ve never done this before and will likely never do it again.

Audience Magnet Course. I’m offering 60 days of my video training course for radio personalities free. This is a $997 value. 60 days should be enough to complete the course, if you work on it each day. At the end of 60 days, the free membership will expire. You can keep it active for a one-time payment of $199. The membership will be for life with access to all updates and new lessons with no additional charge ever.

Air Check Coaching Services. We offer air check coaching and detailed feedback to develop an air check, audition tape and resume. Normal price is $499. Your price is $125.

To take advantage of any or all of these offers, send your name, situation and email address to tracy@tjohnsonmediagroup.com.

For Everyone Who Knows a Victim

I was terminated from a PD job in 1988. An hour later, my phone rang. It was Scott Shannon. He told me he had been following my career “since you were a Baby DJ in Lincoln, Nebraska.” Scott told me this would be a good thing  and offered his help. Decades later, that moment remains a career highlight.

Be that person for someone else.

Be compassionate. Reach out. Some folks are reluctant to reach out to you. It’s awkward, even though it’s not their fault. Put yourself in their place. An updated list of victims is available here and here. Know someone on the list? Offer support support to help them through a difficult time.

Conclusion

The frightening thing is that the circumstances that led to the Great Radio Purge are out of any victim’s control. It’s not because of poor performance or low ratings. The “dislocation” is downsizing, and radio isn’t the only industry affected.

It has happened to Blockbuster Video. Tower Records. Newspapers. Magazines. It’s happened to assembly lines, warehouses and hundreds of other job categories.

Radio is not immune from the reality of economics and efficiencies made possible through technology.

No, I do not think radio is the next Kodak. But anyone believing this is isolated and “now we’ve finally reached the bottom” is naive.

This is a major step toward nationalization/regionalization of radio programming. Most of it is economic. Some is applying their strongest creative skills more effectively. I understand it. Don’t count on those jobs coming back.

Here’s my best advice:

If you love what you do and are great at it, radio is a vibrant career. Just don’t depend on a company to protect or provide for the future.

To those hurting: I’m sorry. I feel for you. Please let me know how I can help.

Seminar on Demand: Get That Gig 

Get That Gig: Fix These 3 Common Air Check Demo Mistakes

Get That Gig: Network to Get Work

Constantly Marketing to Get That Gig

Get That Gig: Every Personality Needs a Website

Get That Gig eBook

Starting a Podcast Helps Get That Gig

Get That Gig: Start With A Great Resume’

How to Get That Gig: 16 Do’s and Don’ts To Get The Job You Want

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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0545

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 #0545.



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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0544

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 #0544.





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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0543

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 #0543.





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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0542

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 #0542.





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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0541

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 #0541.



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TracyJohnsonBlog

Radio Personalities & Overnight Success

We are all impatient. We want what we want when we want it. It’s part of contemporary life. And when we have an idea, it goes on the air right away. And naturally, we expect immediate results. We want to catch lightning in bottle. Overnight success is attractive.

Broadcasters make this miscalculation all the time. A new morning show is hired, and the next ratings period is down. They want to know why, and immediately start questioning the strategy.

The next book shows little improvement. Or maybe it’s lower again. Now management questions if this was a mistake, and think about looking for the next overnight success.

Personalities feel the anxiety. They sense when confidence fades.

Personality radio takes time.

The Overnight Success Myth

Whether you’re Elvis Duran, Ryan Seacrest, Howard Stern or Bobby Bones, winning radio shows rarely produce overnight success stories.

Personalities become successful by forming relationships with listeners. It takes time to find a position, develop a “voice” and attract an audience.

Relationships take time, and winning broadcasters understand the process. Audiences fall in love with radio shows in stages. I call the process the Personality Success Path. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Randy Lane shared a research project by Jeffrey Hall, a researcher in communications at Kansas University. Hall conducted a study to measure how long it takes for a friendship to develop from first meeting to besties.

His findings show that:

It takes 94 hours to go from acquaintance to casual friends.

Best friend status takes place at around 219 hours.Serious friendship happens at about 164 hours.

Think about that. Then consider how much time listeners spend with a radio show each day.

They listen for very short periods, usually around 7 minutes per occasion. The average P1 contributes about 6 quarter hours of listening per week to a radio show.

At that rate, it takes 62 weeks for a P1 to become a casual friend. That’s more than a year.

To become a fan (Best Friend), would take 146 weeks. That’s nearly three years.

You Can’t Hurry Love

It’s possible to accelerate the process, but as the song goes, You Can’t Hurry Love.

When starting the Personality Success Path, I encourage talent to focus only on moving from the current stage to the next. The faster one can advance from Stage 1 (Introduction) to Stage 2 (Familiarity), the better. Growing into Stage 3 (Growth) is when real progress begins.

The sad thing is many personalities are stuck in Stage 1 or 2 for years or even decades.

That’s why it’s important to establish specific reasons to listen. The audience is first attracted to things you do. That’s why features are such a powerful tool for building a personality brand.

But they become fans because of who you are. Surrounding features with content that displays character traits through perspective, point of view and personal observations helps listeners connect with you.

Time Is Just One Factor

Yet performing a show and waiting isn’t a recipe for success. Just because a show has been on for years doesn’t mean they’ll advance through the 5 Stages of Growth.

There are many shows that have been on for years and are stuck in Stage 2. Listeners have heard of them, but don’t know anything about them or really care. They haven’t made an impact.

Great management teams are able to identify shows that need time to nurture an audience relationship and those that are doomed to Stage 1 or 2.

Patience with the right show is a virtue. If a show has potential, management’s role is to provide an environment that produces confidence. Help them stay the course through good times and bad (ratings period). Avoid over-reactions in both directions and stay off the emotional roller coaster.

Never Coast

But a frequent result of management exercising patience is ignoring problem areas. While it takes time for talent to develop, just waiting won’t cure problems.

Every show has growing pains and will fail to some degree.

Smart managers identify weaknesses quickly and are proactive to strengthen areas that need it.

Make adjustments, critique the results and study the most effective ideas. Evaluate the impact of tweaks, and build on positive adjustments while taking the next step forward.

This will accelerate the process as the building blocks of the show are forming a solid foundation.

Need help critiquing your show to find a strategy for growth? We can help with our air check coaching services.

Conclusion

Everyone wants overnight success. But it rarely happens.

Many stations start the process of building an amazing personality brand and make it through the first two stages of growth. Some are on the verge of their big breakthrough. Then, at the edge of great success, management loses patience. They pull the plug or change the show at just the wrong time. And the process starts over.

Building a successful personality brand takes courage, persistence and commitment.

If you’re a manager looking for help in knowing whether show has potential and how to get them to the top, let me know. I’d love to help.

If you’re an air talent looking for a breakthrough to find your voice and get on a Personality Success Path, check out my Audience Magnet Course. It has everything you need to succeed.

Just be prepared. Winning radio shows don’t happen as quickly as we would like or think they should. It won’t be an overnight success.

RELATED:

Lucky? No Such Thing. 5 Ways To Make Your Own Luck

Tracy Johnson’s Audience Magnet Video Course

Personality Success Path

The #1 Trait For Successful Talent: Work Ethic

Air Check Coaching Services

Personality Traits Every Radio Performer Needs to Develop

You Won’t Believe How Little Listeners Listen

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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0540: The Meshach & Malik Christmas Special

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program. A very special Christmas event. A Christmas show unlike any you’ve heard before!

For a program list of the songs included 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 #0540.

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

Featured in this episode:

  • The Meschach & Malik Christmas Special. Probably the most irreverent children’s show you’ve ever heard! It features the kind of holiday tunes that make kids laugh, and probably some adults cringe, and it’s hosted by a nine year old and a five year old! Destined to become a holiday perennial. Feel free to download it and play it over and over for years to come!


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That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.

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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0539

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 #0539.



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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0538

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 #0538.



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The Stuph File Program

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0537

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 #0537.



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TracyJohnsonBlog

New Way For Radio Talent to Be Discovered

One of the biggest issues for radio stations or broadcast companies today finding great talent. Everywhere I go, I hear the same thing:

There’s nobody out there. Where are all the personalities?

Yet, there’s more great talent than ever. Many are on the beach looking for an opportunity.

I talk to them every day. They can’t find the next gig.

That’s why we created a new service for radio: The Media Talent Pool.

It’s perfect for air talent, producers and program directors looking for that next gig.

Maybe you’re just graduating from school and looking for a big break or maybe you’re stuck in a station or market and you know you’re ready to move up but you can’t find the right thing. Or maybe you’ve been downsized and become discouraged with the options.

You need to be discovered. Since launching this fall, four radio pros have found their next gig. Every day, broadcasters are finding new prospects they can’t get through blind box ads and job postings.

The Talent Pool Is Free

The talent pool is a free service for the radio industry. It costs nothing to post a listing or be discovered by stations who have openings.

It’s easy to use. Just go to www.MediaTalentPool.com. There’s a link to be listed, and another link for companies looking to find talent.

There’s also a collection of resources to help make a better impression when chasing down a gig, including a terrific Get That Gig webinar on demand. All are free. Click here for the free tools.

Some have asked whether a current employer might see their posting. Of course, there is that risk. The Talent Pool is open to all. However, if you wish to reduce that exposure, just let me know when you send materials and only clients of Tracy Johnson Media Group will see your listing. I can’t guarantee you will remain anonymous, but it will help.

Broadcasters Using the Pool

This collection of radio pros is a service to the radio industry to offer a way for talent to be discovered and for broadcasters to identify and recruit quality personalities, producers and programmers.

It’s easy to sort, scan and find qualified talent in one location.

Here’s a short video that explains how it works.

Let me know how you like the Talent Pool and how it can be better for your purposes.