Is the radio industry destined for more music and less personality? Two things may be pushing us in that direction, the PPM and the Pandora Phenomenon (not to mention consolidation of course). Many people are saying that actual listening levels from the PPM have not been kind to talkers who have had massive shares in the past. With the extreme popularity of self-created radio stations, exactly where are we headed?
In the upcoming issue of Radio Ink with Randy Michaels on the cover, we asked a slew of talk experts for their thoughts on this topic. And, while we had their attention, we also asked them to help us give managers tips for their. Here is the first in a series of answers to the question; What makes talent great in a PPM world?
We were lucky to be able to snag Randy Lane for some insight on this topic. Lane's radio career began as a DJ in college where he became fascinated with Top 40 morning legends Rick Dees and Scott Shannon. He was having so much fun on the air (Mornings, middays and afternoons) that his parents kept asking when he was going to get serious about his career path! After ten years of too much fun on the air, Randy was hired as PD for Star 98.7/KYSR Los Angeles where he created the first successful major Modern AC, Q101/WKQX Chicago, and WRQX/Washington D.C. He has also been a General Manager and has collected numerous industry awards including Billboard's "Consultant of the Year" for Adult Contemporary and Top 40.
Lane launched The Randy Lane Company in 1996 with the mission of, "creating brand depth for radio stations by developing morning shows that generate ratings and revenue.” Randy created an innovative method for coaching talent that was inspired by his coaching mentor Timothy Gallwey (Inner Game of Tennis). This method focuses on asking the right questions combined with an honest and ego preserving way of giving feedback so the talent has ownership of their growth. Lane has worked with Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Kidd Kraddick, Jamie & Danny Bonaduce, Billy Bush, Mancow, Roger Darren & Marilyn, Leeza Gibbons, The Bert Show, Lex & Terry, Dave Ryan, Mark & Brian, Ace & TJ, Javier Romero, Don Bleu, Paul & Young Ron, and scores of others in every format.
So we asked Lane what it takes to succeed in a PPM world. "The first thing is, if you are going to succeed as a talent, you have to be a person that is not going be concerned with what other people think about you and what you say. The most successful talents are those people who say what they think, they say what other people think, but do not usually say. We approach the development of talent, when we work with one person or a multi-cast team of players, based on what we have determined to be the Three Universal Principles of all Great Radio Shows.
1) They have to have the content. You must have Killer Content, number one. 2) HD Characters, high defintion characters. That is, that people know who you are. They know what you stand for. Then you become known for those characteristics. Being able to make an emotional connection with listeners, is really the glue that bonds the talent to the listeners. 3) Particularly in the PPM world, flawless execution. You can have great content, and engaging characters, but if it's not executed well on the air, it's not going to come out great. Those are the three primary things that we have found that go into creating a great talent or a great show, on radio.
PPM Execution: 1. Capture you audience’s attention first, fast and foremost. Start all content segments with a hook headline that will engage listeners within the first 10 seconds. 2. Connect emotionally with your listeners by demonstrating authenticity. 3. Re-engage listeners by exiting a content segment with an enticing tease that poses a question to be answered or a mystery, drama or conflict that you will resolve.
Wow...really Randy? Where have you been? Your three PPM suggestions have always been at the root of great radio. I love you consultants...never a fresh idea, but a regurgitation, mixed with a 'sales pitch' and un-suspecting, un-witting suits buy your crap. You mean, all those PD's and GM's can't think of this stuff themselves...that's thier job! The real story behind 'consultants' is if their suggestions are implemented and the ratings go South, PD's and GM's can blame said consultant. It's called 'C.Y.A'.