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A Social Networking Site For Radio

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 >

Airchecker Is Social Radio.

Taking radio news into a social networking format.

Proud to be the worlds first. Airchecker is the modern day radio newsie.

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HOW BURLI WORKS WITH JOURNALISM & COMMUNICATION PROGRAM

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Burli Software is excited to announce the addition of Western University’s Faculty of Information and Media Studies in London, Ontario to our wonderful list of post-secondary journalism and media schools employing Burli in their program.

About Western University and FIMS

At FIMS, the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication (MMJC) program is designed to allow students to seamlessly move between journalism, communications and other media careers. The program takes Western’s longstanding Journalism tradition of great storytelling and ethical journalism and builds on it. Students graduating from the program will not only be able to work as journalists, but also in a wide array of communications related fields. Strategic thinking, content creation and media production skills are taught to allow students to thrive as the media landscape changes.

FIMS had a very busy year in 2017.  Not only did they name Burli NE as their newsroom software of choice, they took possession of a wing of a brand-new building and set about creating two completely rebuilt Broadcast Studios over the summer, implementing a large quantity of updated technology for students. So, to say there were a few moving parts getting the faculty ready for the 2017/2018 year would be a bit of an understatement.

Installing Burli (and Many Other Things!)

Still, the staff at Western wanted to be able to move to a next-generation newsroom program, and Burli was happy to accept and support them through their transition.  Over the course of the summer of 2017, Burli made two trips to site and performed lots of remote installation work to bring the many workstations at Western up to speed.

We also customized the software.  Naturally, most customers who are new to Burli are excited by the package, but still have ideas of what they would like it to eventually include.  Either because the customer is familiar with another package, or because they’re used to an entirely different workflow, feature requests at installation are common.  With a little hard work and great communications between Burli and the FIMS team, we were able to take care of most of Western’s requests over the summer, including some brand new features that have now become part of Burli NE for all our customers.

Burli found the Western staff dedicated and quick on the uptake.  Despite all the other demands of readying the program for the rapidly-approaching school year, Broadcast Technical Services, Technical Manager, Erin Carroll and Media Production Specialist, Paul Buckley-Golder were terrific as the go-to technical contacts at FIMS.  Other FIMS employees, including Program Coordinator Mark Rayner and FIMS Computing Services members Charlotte McClellan, and Matt Ward were also helpful in making it easy for us to complete the installation and training in time for a fresh new cohort of future journalists and communicators.

What They Had to Say

“When we were looking for replacement Newsroom Software at NAB, Burli seemed like a great fit. Burli’s easy interface and features that include publishing direct to Twitter, WordPress and other FIMS pages makes it easy for students to collaborate between the Journalism side of the program and the Communication side. This goes beyond the standard News software.  Social media is the current wave of storytelling and this allows us to manage both.”  – Erin Carroll

Burli worked with us directly to customize the software for the faculty’s needs. We can expand user capacity easier than before, and love having remote access allowing both our faculty and students to work away from the building. The integrated audio editing, photo editing, prompter and simplistic direct social media account posting introduced a number of key features that we didn’t have in our previous software. On top of that, they’re a Canadian company and they have technical support in Canada. All these elements were key in making this an easy decision to go with Burli. “  – Paul Buckley-Golder

Burli would like to thank Western University for their business, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come!

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0452

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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 #0452.



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

Featured in this episode:


  • David Michaels, Executive Producer & Senior Vice President, Daytime Emmy Awards
  • Marty Krofft, co-founder, Sid & Marty Krofft Productions
  • Sherman Augustus, actor, Into The Badlands

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 Talent and PD’s Can Learn to Celebrate Air Check Meetings

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In a perfect world, air talent would receive regular input, filled with constructive, positive comments. The PD would be supportive and upbeat. And upper management would act as a protective shield from complaints. In this make-believe world, talent could look forward to, and even celebrate, air check meetings.

But in the real world, everyone dreads critique sessions. Talent already knows the breaks that sucked. And they also know that the PD has a natural ability to find every one. To them, it’s like taking a drink out of the jug labeled “Spoiled Milk”.

Jimmy Kimmel explains what reviewing his performance is like:

I look back at every show I’ve ever done and cringe. My vision of hell is a bunch of monitors with my old shows running on them.

Is that the way air talent looks at meetings with programmers? Sadly, yes, in most cases.

There are many excellent methods of evaluating and training talent, but one guideline should be at the center of each: and that is the air check meeting. It shouldn’t be a painful experience. Some personalities even come to love air checks.

Evaluating a show shouldn’t be an exercise just to stroke an air personality’s ego, nor an excuse to be critical. Both are a waste of time. The only goal should be in the endless quest for excellence. If this is a genuine goal of all parties, reviews can be collaborative, productive and pleasant.

So what makes some sessions fun and productive and others about as much fun as a tax audit? Let’s examine the differences.

Celebrate Air Check Meetings

Every evaluation should be through the ears and experiences of the audience. Period.

Get rid of subjective feedback, and focus on growth. That takes the negative sentiment out of the meeting.

Conducting a review without being critical makes it possible to work with highly sensitive and defensive talent. To learn this skill, understand there are three purposes of an air check meeting:

Produce Improvement: 

While it’s sometimes necessary to talk about performance shortcomings and point out areas for improvement, a spirit of pursuing growth changes the dynamic. This is often because programmers (and often personalities) usually don’t appreciate the progress they’ve been making.  Improvement is hard to measure and even harder to acknowledge from one day to the next.

A great way to gain perspective on growth is archiving air checks of each air personality at least once a month. Over time, you can go back and compare how we sound now to any point in the past. It’s like taking snapshots at various times in the life cycle of their Personality Success Path. When they feel the improvement, you can keep the momentum rolling.

Air check problems re magnified because many (if not most) programmers are “fixers”. They want to find problems and remove them. It would be wonderful if we could quickly and easily identify an issue, discuss it and have the problem fixed in a day or two. But that’s not how it works when people are involved.

Growing as an air personality is like improving your golf game. You spend hours and hours in lessons, working on your technique on the driving range and making adjustments. When the skills become muscle memory, your game reaches the next level.

Coaching air talent is creating muscle memory for performance. And that takes patience.

Prevent Bad Habits: 

Sometimes talent slips into habits that are more annoying to the coach than the audience. An alert programmer hears these crutches and address them in air checks.  These small tweaks are fairly easy to fix, but need to be addressed before they become larger issues.

It could be a recurring phrase that creeps into the show. Be sure this is kept in perspective. Staying in regular contact produces a relationship that isn’t as confrontational.

Further Discussion: 

Air check meetings can initiate dialogue that leads to breakthrough growth and new ideas. With the proper inspiration, talent can explore new opportunities to apply their personality.

Bad Air Check Sessions

On the other hand, there are also bad reasons to schedule an air check session. Many times, programmers ignore issues until they just can’t take it any more. This usually leads to a contentious meeting.

Programmers: Analyze your feelings and emotions. Then, before your react in the heat of the moment, step back and ask yourself if you want the meeting because of:

Spite: 

Sometimes the programmer or talent coach just don’t like the show. I know, that sounds strange, but it’s more common than you think. When that happens, they often unfairly attack the personalities because they are in an authoritative position. This is always destructive and leads to contentious meetings.

As a manager, you should be as objective as possible. Figure out how to be a fan of the show, even if you have to fake it at first.

Frustration: 

Everyone has a bad day, and if you’re in a bad mood, vent that negative energy elsewhere. Taking it out on the talent is the worst possible target. It’s better to find another outlet than sensitive air personalities.

If the coach is in a bad mood, reschedule the meeting!

Ego: 

When people try to demonstrate their intelligence or knowledge by offering harsh criticism, bad things happen. For some management types, challenging others makes them feel superior.

A good coach is self-confident and patient, but not egotistical.

George Martin: The Beatles PD

George Martin had one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. He was in charge of managing the Beatles. The extraordinary producer was a master of knowing how and when to let John, Paul, George and Ringo create without barriers.

george martin beatles

All the while, Martin was in the background doing more for their success than anyone knew, but he was smart enough to let them take all the credit. He was the consistent, steady hand and his fingerprints are all over the Fab Four’s success.

He helped the band get along personally and guided their decisions as they grew. Martin coached his personalities while putting aside differences to make their music and their band one of the greatest we’ve ever seen.

As a PD, try to be George Martin. Help personalities find their ultimate success.

Conclusion

Effective coaching isn’t about criticism. It’s teaching, encouraging and empowering talent to become great. Productive air check sessions will cause talent to crave more input. Talent places enormous emphasis on being shown that they are appreciated. Go into every air check meeting with this attitude, and everyone will start looking forward to them.

Air check sessions don’t have to suck. They should be something both talent and management looks forward to.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0451

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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 #0451.



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

Featured in this episode:


  • Neil Gibson, founder & editor-in-chief, T Pub Comics — Stan Lee’s Lucky Man
  • David Peterman, blogger, Mailboxes of Seattle
  • Dennis Hof, owner, Moonlite Bunny Ranch

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 #0450

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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 #0450.



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

Featured in this episode:


  • Peter Mark Richman, actor & author, I Saw A Molten White Light
  • Judy Norton, actress, Inclusion Criteria

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 #0449

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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 #0449.



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.

3 Secrets To Become an On-Air Superstar

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In 30-plus years of training, managing and coaching radio personalities, there are three key things that have never changed. And will never change. It’s my 3 Secrets of Becoming an On-Air Superstar. And yes, I’ll reveal the secrets below. But today, I want to focus on a single, most fundamental secret.

It’s Secret #1: The 5 Stages of your Personality Success Path.

You will turn up the volume on your personality brand when you earn the freedom to go deeper with your audience. There’s not a single personality reading this that doesn’t want that freedom. But you have to earn it, and it happens step by step through 5 Stages.

The 5 Stages of Personality Growth

There are 5 stages in the life cycle of every great personality. Everyone on the air goes through Stage 1, but not everyone makes it to Stage 5.

Introduction is when you’re brand new. They don’t even know your name, or really even care. In this stage, your goal should be to show that you love the same things they do.

Familiarity is when they may recognize your name but they don’t know anything about you yet. This is a critical phase…it’s still not the right time to talk about yourself that much…but you may want to introduce a feature here

Growth. This is when it gets exciting. They’re starting to know you and like the things you do on the air. They like the station better when you’re on. This is when you start promoting those features aggressively.

Like. The like phase is when you can introduce more personal stories into the show. They’re starting to recognize your character traits and know whey they like it when you’re on.

Love. And this is the ultimate goal. In this stage, it’s more about who you are than what you do. They choose the station because of you. This is where you want to be.

Performing In the 5 Stages

You have to know where you stand in the relationship with your audience, and perform accordingly. Personalities don’t become popular all at once. They grow popular over time. It’s a process that can be accelerated. But it cannot be rushed.

You can’t start out at Stage 5. And if you perform show like you’re in Stage 4 or 5 when you’re in stage 1 or 2, you lose!

One reason personalities fail is they don’t understand where they are in their success path. They think they’re in the love stage because they’ve been on a long time, but they’re really just in Stage 2 because they have never had an impact.

Your behavior must be based on how your audience sees you. Not how you would LIKE to be seen. If you come on too strong in Stage 1 or 2, you’ll run the audience off. They will hate you, and think you’re self absorbed.

Similarly, if you’re in Stage 4 or 5, but the PD is making you play too much music, you’re also preventing the audience from rewarding you.

Earning Your Freedom

And that’s the issue, isn’t it? You want to earn freedom on the air, but you probably think this is impossible because the PD puts up barriers.It seems like a chicken or the egg thing. You feel like you can’t reach the next stage because you don’t aren’t allowed time to perform,

You have to earn that freedom. And here’s the good news. You earn it from listeners. They demand more of you. And it starts by being great in every break now.

I know that at some stations, management just wants you there to play the commercials, execute the format and not get in the way. They don’t support personality. And they won’t get what I’m talking about here. Maybe you’ve tried to do some different things and been yelled at. They told you to just stick to the basics. I get it. It’s a balance.

But don’t let those barriers become an obstacle to growth. As you impact listeners, your power will grow. You’ll become a primary reason for tune-in.

This is what makes management afraid of you, by the way. They are afraid of losing you. Because when you become a meaningful personality that leads an audience fan base, you have power.

I know it can be frustrating to want to do more than you’re permitted. Every great personality wants to do more than they’re allowed. It’s universal. Personalities with 5-minute limits think they need 7. Those with a 3 minute window think they’d be better with 5. And those that only have 30 seconds know for a fact they’d be great if they had 3 minutes. Maybe you can’t control your break length. But you can control what goes into your breaks.

You Gotta Prepare

So prepare a great break-every break-based on the opportunity you’re provided. Now here’s the ironic part. The smaller the canvas on which you paint, the longer it takes to prepare. Seriously.

Ronald Reagan was asked to deliver a speech for charity. Before accepting, he asked how long the speech would be, because he wasn’t sure he had time. “What difference does it make how long?”, he was asked. “Well, he said…if you want me to talk for an hour, I’m ready to go now. But if it’s just 10 minutes, I need a couple of weeks to prepare.”

You may not be able to do everything you want to do, but you will learn to stretch the boundaries. And when you do, the canvas becomes larger, unlocking more creativity.

But here’s the thing: If you try and do it all at once, yeah, you’re going to get in trouble. And not only that, you won’t be able to do it well. Remember that this is a process.

You have to do it in synch with the 5 stages of growth.

How To Earn It

As you find your character voice and start growing through the five stages of growth, you’ll be amazed at the response from the audience…and your boss.

I once worked with a personality that was on in a time of day where ALL we wanted was the music to stand out. And the DJ’s job was to just make it sound good.

But he never gave up. He kept learning. He made the station better by projecting personality into every single segment while pointing listeners to the music and the station. He did it while doing what I wanted.

It wasn’t long before we realized that this guy was an great audience magnet. The better he got, the more freedom he earned. And the greater the bond with the audience. Soon, we moved him to afternoons. Then to mornings.That DJ?

He’s Dave Smiley. And he’s killing it with a 6-person morning show at WZPL in Indianapolis…#1 in the market for more than a decade.

You may not be able to do everything you want right now, but as you grow through the five stages, you will stretch the canvas. And when you do, you’ll unlock creativity you never knew you had.

Secrets 2 and 3

The other two secrets? #2 is that you have to know who you are and find your personal character voice. This is how your audience will get to know you so they can fall in love with you.

And the third secret is you absolutely must stop thinking of yourself as a radio announcer and become a storyteller that has a radio show. Mastering this skill will change everything.

I’ll write about those secrets later. But for now, focus on your Personality Success Path. That’s where your journey to becoming an on-air superstar begins.

Get More Details

I’m going into detail on all three secrets in my new, free webinar The Audience Magnet Blueprint. You can get access here.

And if you come to the webinar, I’ll give you a free copy of the Audience Magnet Blueprint eBook and a downloadable infographic of the 5 Stages of Personality Growth, with a lot more depth and information on how to behave in each stage.

This can be life-changing for radio personalities. It’s the difference between being stuck in a DJ or announcer job and getting on a career path to being a wildly successful personality. Don’t you owe it to yourself to get on that Personality Success Path and unlock you potential?

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0448

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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 #0448.



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 USE DROPBOX IN BURLI

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Every once in a while, we get asked a pretty interesting question – what does Burli Newsroom do that Burli NE doesn’t?  After all, NE is the next generation, enhanced product, it makes sense that it can do everything that Newsroom can do, right?

Well, for the most part, you’d be right to assume that.  NE is very powerful, and does a lot of things that Newsroom isn’t capable of.  But in the quest to make it so, there are a couple of things here and there that we haven’t (yet!) duplicated in NE.  For instance, we already discussed podcasting, and that’s still Newsroom-only.  On top of that, there’s another gem that’s still only in Newsroom: use of Dropbox.

Dropbox is an online file sharing system, letting you upload and download files at your convenience – it’s one of the earliest and most popular cloud storage services going.  And you can use it as a means of getting files into Burli!

Dropbox as a “Newswire”

Dropbox can be used to remotely send Stories into Burli by devices that don’t have any direct means of connecting to the Burli system. By saving your file to a specified folder in Dropbox (from literally anywhere with Dropbox access) it will appear in Burli as a Story.

For your convenience, we have separated Dropbox into two feeds – Dropbox Audio and Dropbox Text. Each appears like a separate Newswire in Burli’s Filter Tree. (Note that each of the Dropbox feeds is set to filter on file type, so Text files written to the Audio folder will not appear, and vice versa. Once they are in Burli, however, they can be combined, moved, and manipulated just like any other Story.)

The Dropbox Audio and Text folders in Burli Newsroom

Submission via Dropbox

Submitting a Story to Burli via Dropbox is very simple – just save a file of the appropriate type to the Dropbox folder specified by your System Administrator, exactly like any other file you save to Dropbox. All you need is the remote connection and the login credentials for the target Dropbox folder.

Whether working from a laptop or a mobile phone, start by writing up your Story in .txt format.


Writing up a Text Story

Saving the new Story to Dropbox

Audio files are even more flexible.  As Burli can handle virtually any commercially available audio filetype, just make a recording in the format of your choice and save it to the Dropbox Audio folder.  We see below a user with proper credentials for the Burli Dropbox folder from Voice Record Pro (as just one example) on an iPhone. No matter how you do it, once a file has been saved to Dropbox, it will show up in Burli as a Story in the Filter Tree.  Here we see our earlier Text Story in the Dropbox Text filter, ready to go anywhere in Burli!

Saving a file to Dropbox from an iPhone

A Text Story in Burli via Dropbox

A Text Story imported from Dropbox will use its first line as its slug within Burli – exactly like a Story created natively in Burli.  An Audio Story will use its filename (minus the extension).  So “weather.wav” will become a Story called “weather” in Burli.

Dropbox as a Destination

You can work in the other direction, too.  Take a Story in Burli and right click it, and select Save As. You can save the file (text or audio) back to the Dropbox folder on your PC.  Easy!

Want to do more with your news?  Want to experience great customer service?  Come visit us at www.burli.com for more info, or email ChiChi.Liu@Burli.com to get in touch.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0447

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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 #0447.



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.

BURLI AND JIM PATTISON BROADCAST GROUP

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In the past, we’ve talked about one of our largest customers and how they apply Burli coast-to-coast in order to serve the largest media markets in Canada. Today we’re pleased to speak with Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Dave Barry in Prince George, BC, and Doug Collins in Kamloops, BC.  Both are News Directors in their respective markets, and each has a responsibility to a local TV station and two local radio stations.  Both of them have a great need to keep their newsrooms running as smoothly as possible, and have been long time customers of Burli to help meet that need.

Burli Goes Way Back

In speaking to both Barry and Collins, they each reflected on just how long they’ve been working with Burli Newsroom, having been among the earliest adopters of Burli Software’s technology.


Barry remarked that he started in the news business putting together stories on a manual typewriter and yellow carbon paper (although he eventually graduated up to an electronic typewriter).  When Burli was introduced in the late 90’s to CKPG, it ushered these (and several noisy cart machines) out the door.

Collins said that he had also been using Burli since “ground zero”, having also been an early adopter in the 90’s at CFJC.  And whenever his management floated the idea of trying another system out, he pushed back hard to keep Burli.

The Day to Day

“I do the morning news run, so I use it every day,” Collins said.  “And of course there’s been lots of improvements since then to make it ever more valuable.”  He uses Burli as the basis of the newsroom for the TV scripts each night, and for virtually everything in the radio news.  “The editor is very powerful.”


Plus, Burli helps him when he’s on the spot, saying the ticker display that’s always on the bottom of the screen is handy for adding breaking stories into a cast at the last moment.  Collins says you easily see Burli was “developed by news people, for news people”.

Similarly, Barry also gets his hands on the software on a daily basis.  Drawing from traditional newswires as well as RSS feeds and their own interviews, his team is using Burli to create hourly TV and radio scripts.  “It’s the heart of our newscasts for television and for radio,” he says.  “Everything we do on air is a result or is a product of the Burli system”.

Barry mentioned that they switch between pre-recording and reading news live to air each day, but that Burli is so easy to work with that both processes are equally useful.  “You always find the path of least resistance, and Burli provides that!”

And as many of their incoming staff are coming from BCIT and other Canadian schools teaching Burli as part of the curriculum, getting new people up to speed is easy.  That makes getting on with the day much simpler for Barry.

Looking Forward with Burli

Both newsrooms have gotten more heavily involved with taking their radio and TV news content and moving it to the web – content that got its start in Burli.  Collins in particular was interested in getting more involved in using Burli for social media – something their operation in Kamloops is already doing, but wants to grow using Burli’s technology.

But whatever happens, both Barry and Collins expressed happiness with Burli’s people, and the ease of doing business we offer.  “Any time we’ve needed the support it’s been there” said Collins.  “We’ve had really good response any time we’ve had an issue.”

To learn more, come visit us www.burli.com for more info, or email ChiChi.Liu@Burli.com to get in touch.

How to Be Prepared, Yet Still Perform In the Moment

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Here’s a term that could unlock the next level of your performance: Relaxed readiness.

Air personalities struggle finding the balance between being highly prepared to perform and “winging it”. I’ve actually had personalities tell me that they can just come in and talk about their life, confident that they would be able to find something entertaining. On air personality actually told me:

I just bring my experiences to the air. It’s good enough. My show is totally spontaneous. I plan nothing. That’s how I get such a natural response.

Okay. Fine. How is that working out for you (hint: Not very well)?

This type of approach almost always sounds sloppy and unprepared. And it’s one of the things that is causing radio shows to lose ground in the battle for attention. In some cases , it’s rampant.

I actually heard this on live sports radio. A talk host was interviewing Trent Green, the former NFL quarterback turned television personality. Green’s show on the NFL Network is quite popular, and known for a loose, fun personality approach to football, with high energy dialogue.

The host asked Trent about how they prepare for the broadcast. Green responded that the team spends many hours off the air exploring topics and discussing angles. They debate the best approach in searching of the most entertaining way to present content. When they hit on something, their producer takes notes and crafts the organic dialogue into a structured topic list for the show.

That’s a healthy approach to injecting point of view and individual personalities into content.

Then The Radio Host Said THIS

The art of show prep was obviously lost on the radio host. He asked,

Do you ever have those times in the production meeting when you get on a roll, and the producer stops you and tells you to save it for the air so that it’s fresh and you don’t lose the magic?

Green paused and uncomfortably long time, as if trying to think of how to respond. Then he said,

No, that literally never happens. We go through everything in detail so we know what to expect, what’s going to work and not work and so we don’t step all over each other.

There you go. I’m all for spontaneity. It produces surprise and some of the most memorably moments in a performance. But the spontaneity shouldn’t be a surprise to the performer!

Many personalities think they can get away with “winging it.” They create a topic list and don’t plan the approach so the rest of their show can react naturally. This is a mistake.

It’s no wonder radio is struggling, and programmers place strict limits on talk breaks. In cases like this, it’s self-inflicted. We can’t control everything but we can control how we prepare, giving us the best possible chance of being important to the audience.

Every other form of entertainment spends more time and attention in preparation than live radio shows. The audience is granting you a precious gift when they give you their time. Respect that time and don’t waste the attention they give you.

On the other hand, some personalities don’t feel confident unless they’ve outlined every detail. Some go so far as to script it in advance. It sounds like it’s rehearsed. It’s predictable and lacks excitement.

There is a solution. You can be prepared and ready to perform, yet preserve natural, spontaneous reactions with Relaxed Readiness.

Tina Fey Explains Show Prep: Relaxed Readiness

Comedian Tina Fey is one of the most naturally likable improvisational performers in the world. She’s likable, spontaneous and always comes off as being in control. How does she do it?

Here’s what she said when asked what it takes to be ready to perform:

I call it relaxed readiness. There’s a lot of preparation. So preparation, preparation, preparation. And then you want to be in a state of relaxed readiness so that if something spontaneous does happen, you’re there and can take advantage of that moment. But I think you only get there with a lot of prep work.

I love that so much. It’s exactly at the heart of what radio personalities should be doing. That’s why Time Spent Listening is in direct proportion to Time Spent Preparing.



That’s why, when you’re prepared for virtually anything that can happen, great personalities can make the best of mistakes. In her book Bossypants, Fey relates one of her rules of improv:

There are no mistakes, only opportunities, which doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong, but that it’s your job to make the best of the situation you find yourself in.

If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what?  Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel.  I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike…. In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents.  And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident.  I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.

Conclusion

Relaxed readiness happens when you have invested the time and effort to know your content in enough depth to perform spontaneously. Don’t script it. Prepare it in great depth. It’ll give you confidence to unleash your personality and create some magical moments.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0446

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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 #0446.



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

Featured in this episode:


  • Robert J. Sawyer, science fiction novelist — The Order Of Ontario
  • Frank Kermit, relationship coach, — Serial singles
  • Caroline Cory, producer & host E.T. Contact: They Are Here

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.

QUICK RECORDING IN BURLI

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Time again to go through the drawer marked “Best Kept Secrets” and talk about something that Burli does that perhaps all our customers aren’t aware of – Quick Record!

If you’re looking for a time-saver when recording newscasts, Quick Record is the feature for you.  It allows your on-air talent to pre-record newscasts quickly, skipping over the audio playout of any clips in your script during recording, but still including them automatically.

We’ll illustrate how this works in Burli NE for this article, but this feature is common to NE and Burli Newsroom!

Getting Started

To get started, all you really need to do is to set up your script as normal for an upcoming newscast.  Assemble your text and audio stories as you normally would in Burli.

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When your script is ready, engage the Prompter mode (the microphone button above), and then press Ctrl-Q.

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A red band appears across the bottom of your Prompter, with the words “Quick Record in progress” at the bottom left, and a timer at the bottom right.  This timer is displaying how long your recording has gone on.

Go ahead and read your copy, just like always.  When the time comes to play a clip, that’s when the “quick” part begins!

Save Some Time

Pressing play on the clip in the Prompter will give you the first five seconds of audio in the clip, and then immediately skip to the last five seconds.  You’ll only hear ten seconds of audio.  Then go ahead, and keep reading the copy as if the entire clip had played.  Note that the timer in the red band at the bottom jumps forward by the length of any skipped clips – it reflects the entire length of the newscast as though you had played the whole thing.

Finish the newscast, and press Ctrl-F10, or close the Prompter.  The audio will save as one long clip, featuring your reader’s voice and the full length of each clip.  This will appear as “Quick Record [Time of Day]” in your Personal Folder.  When you look at the finished product, you’ll see something like this in the Multi Track Editor, automatically assembled:

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Each of those audio blocks on the top is the reader’s voice.  The blocks on the bottom are the skipped audio clips (in their entirety, regardless of how long they actually are).

Burli will add in the entire clip of each piece of audio you just previewed.  If you’ve got a newscast with 5 one minute-long clips, you’ll save 5×50=250 seconds of audio previewing, but the recorded package that will go out to the listening audience will be full length.  When recording short newscasts, this is pretty handy.  When recording long form news programs, this can save tremendous amounts of time – both in the recording phase and in the editing!

To learn more, come visit us at the all-new www.burli.com for more info, or email ChiChi.Liu@Burli.com to get in touch.

Don’t Start At The Beginning

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If you want to get the attention of listeners, you must hook your audience quickly, Nobody knows more about the importance of beginnings than novelists and screenwriters, but we think their rules of entertainment doesn’t apply to us.

After all, you are delivering four hours of entertainment every day. Listeners tune in to hear what’s going on in our lives and in our studio. We aren’t writing fiction, we’re doing a great radio show about US. That’s sarcasm, by the way, in case you didn’t pick up on it.

The Hook is the first step of a well constructed break, followed by Set-Up, Dress-Up, Payoff and Blackout-and it’s the single most important of the five. With that in mind, here are some guidelines from writers that you can apply to your show.

Here’s how you can become a better storyteller:

Hook Your Audience: Do NOT start at the beginning!

Advice for first-time novelists is, “Throw away the first chapter.” Chances are, chapter 2 is where it starts to get interesting. Start THERE, where the action begins!

What if you remove the first chapter of your break? The first 30 seconds or 2 minutes of a break? Too much? Yes, this means dropping the listener right in to the middle, but if it’s well crafted and compelling, they won’t care.

Get to the meat as quickly as possible. If you’re interviewing a guest, give just enough information to establish credibility. You might even ask the first question before you introduce the guest to hook the audience on the topic. Then, back up and put the question into context.

Don’t put too much emphasis on the amount of context the listener/reader really needs in advance. They’ll get it, if you develop the story in the setup.

Show, Don’t Tell

If you have to TELL your audience that they should care, you’re screwed. They either care or they don’t. It’s either relevant or it isn’t.

The motivation for caring should be inherent in the content. That is addressed in preparation, not in performance. Don’t explain it. Just do it and make it compelling enough to gain their attention.

No History Lessons

How long would you read a book that started with a complete historical perspective before the story begins? How long would you watch a James Bond movie if they explained the character’s history instead of showing the chase scene?

If you feel obligated to include the history, at least don’t put it up front. Bury it where it’ll do the least damage.To be fair, there are some topics where history is interesting and useful, but the historical overview won’t hook your audience.

MYTH: Credibility Is Important

How many times do you see a presentation where the speaker has bullet points and slides on their background? Nobody cares. It doesn’t make what they’re talking about better. And your listeners don’t care about you, either. They care about themselves.

Don’t try and prove how smart you are. If you have something to say, say it. Your brilliance will emerge. You don’t have to give your history or background.

This demonstrates your respect for the audience by caring about their time. When you care about the quality of their time, you’ll show it off by being entertaining, engaging, compelling and interesting. Or at least usefulBy being prepared.

Hook Your Audience: 7 Tricks

If you’re struggling with hooks, or just starting out, there are a few tricks. Use them to open breaks with an impact:

Begin with a question the listener wants answered

It doesn’t have to be a literal question, of course, but suggest a question that begs to be answered by piquing their curiosity. In a good movie, the viewer is immediately intrigued: “Who is this guy? Why is he in this situation? Will he get out of it? What’s this secret thing they keep referring to?”

Make them curious

Curiosity is seduction. Sometimes we suck the life out of topics, when they could be fascinating. Find passion in your topic. Preparation. If YOU don’t care – if you aren’t curious why should they?

Be provocative

Challenge a belief. Even if they instantly disagree, they’ll stay long enough to get mad at you. Start with your most dramatic and/or unpopular assertion. Get it out there. Don’t build toward it. Say it! Then support it (again, set up).

Evoke empathy

Start with a story about real people, or a character in a scenario they identify with.

Promise there will be conflict

We would rarely read a novel or see a movie if not for the promise of conflict. Tension and suspense are compelling. How will this turn out?

Mystery, suspense, intrigue

How many bad books and movies have you stuck with just because you had to find out who did it? Even bad movies or bad books. Look at your topic and find a way to add mystery. ANYTHING worth talking or writing about has potential for mystery which plays on their curiosity.

Conclusion: Hook Your Audience

The hook is the most important part of a story, and the critical part of your radio break.

Your job is to touch the audience emotionally in some way. They remember what they feel.

Your goal should be as author Paul O’Neil stated,

Grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph, send your thumbs into her windpipe in the second, and hold her against the wall until the end.

That’s a lofty goal, but you can start by just getting them to give you one more moment. One more tune in. Ten more seconds. Then another. And another. Every break, every moment. It will soon become habit.

This is one of the 7 points of reference for air personalities in my 7-point ratings tune up. I’ll show you how to have your best ratings period ever in an exclusive, free webinar on March 13, 2018. Get details and sign up for the webinar here.