Feckless Love

by | Apr 13, 2018

Most people don’t love radio. Those of us who do, likely, work in it. When it comes to radio, most people are feckless-that is to say, utterly indifferent.

Ever been on a road trip and tried to convince your travel companions to pop in to the local radio station?

…Just me? Let me tell you … they’d rather hang out at the Flying J gift shop.

Most people, however, do love the feeling radio gives them.

The feeling of connection to other people, to music that stirs their souls; and in Christian radio, a connection to God.

Creating powerfully evocative content, consistently, takes the right talent with intention, planning, and production.

“Live is lazy!” UK Radio Futurologist James Cridland is wont to say. He further explains:

“Used well, voice-tracking enables the best use of great content – yes, repeating it at times (particularly at times of crisis).

Used badly, voice-tracking and automation can make cookie-cutter radio which doesn’t look after your listeners. But then, we can do that quite adequately with live human beings if we’re not trying, too.”

Rather than debate the merits of live-and-local vs voicetracked and syndicated, what if we were all to commit ourselves to consistently delivering exceptional and emotionally-compelling content, 24/7? Does your weekend overnight girl have a coach? What about the production guy? Why not?

“People on average give a song seven seconds on the radio before they change the channel, and you got to hook them,”says Jay Brown, the president of Roc Nation and career overseer to international pop stars including Rihanna, Shakira, and Timbaland.

Seven seconds. Every piece of content on your station has seven seconds (or fewer) to capture listeners’ attention. Whose job is it to ensure everything passes the “7-second rule”?

Spotify is a free music service, and yet, 71 million people pay for Spotify to eliminate friction (non-music elements).

Of course, there are two major advantages radio has over streaming services like Spotify: 1) personalities and 2) the element of surprise (music discovery). How is your station strategically-capitalizing on this unfair advantage?

The biggest disadvantage for radio is that we have varying amounts of friction-or content-that is not optimized for listeners; namely unplanned banter from personalities and commercials/underwriting.

For listener-supported stations, underwriting is an opportunity to serve listenersbyletting them know which businesses share their values. But is it possible underwriting spots could be reimagined in a way that brings delight to listeners?

Everything on your station matters. It’s either engaging or disengaging (hello, Spotify!). Here’s to bringing back the heart of radio. Let us not be feckless. Rather, let us approach all programming with the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love for our listeners.

This article was originally published on AllAccess.com.


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