by Paul Kaye
October 31, 2017
2 Truths About Radio Content
Radio is full of opinions. Often there is little consensus as to what makes great radio. For some people this can be frustrating. The lack of commonality in how we approach radio can feel confusing and somewhat messy. It can be confusing for on air talent who work for PDs with completely opposing views on how to create radio and it can be painful trying to adjust to those opposing views. But it is the lack of consensus that creates a myriad of different sounding radio stations. If there was only one-way to create radio every station would surely sound the same or at least incredibly similar. That sounds somewhat boring and uninspiring. Art is messy. Art is supposed to be a little chaotic.
While there are many approaches to take and just as many ideas on how to construct great compelling radio there are some universal truths that can’t be ignored. There are 2 truths in particular that we need to remind ourselves of, no matter what else we’re being taught. Consider these two truths the foundation upon which everything else is built.
#1. Your level of authenticity determines whether you are engaging or not. If you want to form an emotional bond with your audience they need to feel some affinity toward you. In order for someone to like you they first have to get to know you. That means you have to be willing to put your true self forward. The audience can’t get to know you if you’re trying to be something your not. Stop the performance. Stop the acting. Be brave enough to showcase you. Be vulnerable. No one finds a DJ engaging; someone who talks in a moronic way or someone who shares pretend over the top thoughts. People gravitate toward people who are themselves and share their thoughts, hopes and fears openly. People who are naturally genuine and interesting.
#2. Your content selection directly correlates to how relevant you are. You need to be talking about the topics that are of interest to your audience’s life. You need to be focused on content that registers with the audience as something they care about (or at least may care about after hearing what you have to say). The better you are at this, the more relevant you are. Relevance is a key component in your success. If the target audience can’t find any shared interests with you then they aren’t going to listen. They’ll hit the button quicker than… oh wait they have already gone. Shows and personalities that focus on creating content that is of direct interest to their audience and reflective of the audience’s lives will always win.
No matter who you work for, on what format you work or in what daypart these 2 truths are universal. They aren’t opinion. They’re fact. Without living up to these 2 truths your content will simply go unheard. Be relevant. Be authentic. Sounds simplistic, and yet the industry is full of stations, shows and personalities that don’t seem to have these foundations. It’s a shame, as these two truths will remain into the future regardless of distribution platforms.
Paul Kaye is VP, Product and Talent Development for Rogers in Canada. Paul spends his days working with stations and talent across all of the company’s formats with a sole focus on helping improve performance and grow the business. Prior to being at Rogers Paul held the role of National Talent Development Director for Newcap Radio and also a Group Programming role in England. Paul is a certified coach and is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations find their greatest potential, which is the fuel behind his other project The Talent Lab. Paul lives in Toronto with his wife, 2 dogs and a cat – life is never quiet! Reach Paul at [email protected]