I could tell our corporate attorney was getting nervous about my radio copy, but I didn't realize how nervous until he looked at me and said, “Just be boring, OK?”
Those words mean certain death to any radio person, radio copy or radio contest.
To be fair, this happened several years ago. And the attorney was looking out for the best interest of our company, even if it meant putting the kibosh on some colorful copy.
I've thought about his words over the years, and realized that I often tell myself the very same thing. Sometimes I call it my “internal editor,” and yes, there is a place to watch my words...but the truth is that the “internal editor” - and “boring”- is often a synonym for fear.
How do we beat “boring”? Here are a couple of ideas:
• Remember that when you speak, some people are hearing your comments for the first time. Whether you're reading the same piece of copy ten times during your air shift, remember that it's still the first time someone is hearing it. Make sure to keep your tone and delivery fresh. After all, this announcement or PSA is important enough that you're giving it air time.
• Invite a friend to give input or critique. It's not easy, but it's how to grow. Ask someone to challenge you. To help you see things from another point of view. To point out things that you may not realize you're doing. And then, take their advice and put it in action. Change what you're doing. See if it works.
• Tell fear to take a hike. Sometimes when I speak or write, I hear the internal editor/fear telling me that what I'm about to say isn't safe. It's stupid. Or worthless. Or a waste. But God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a platform to speak. So...speak.
“Boring” involves more than fancy words or stories. It involves an attitude. A willingness to try. To take a risk and trust God to see what happens.
The alternative? Just be boring, OK?
Bill Arbuckle CMW
How many times do you touch your phone in a day?
Give it a guess: 50? 100?
Not even close. If you're an average user, you'll touch your phone about 2,617 times per day. And in terms of usage, it translates to more than two-and-half hours per day. For “average” users. Heavy users doubled the number of touches – 5,400 a day which translates to almost four hours a day.
That's probably more time spent per day with a phone than with our spouse or family!
No wonder we sometimes feel like we're addicted to our phones. We are.
Research company dscout (dscout.com) tracked 94 cell phone users for five days in 2016 and discovered our phone usage is much higher than anyone expected.
So why do people spend so much time online? What occupies their attention? Facebook. Nearly 15% of users spent time on the social media network – more than any other app on their phones. Gaming and shopping were the next highest categories.
(Read the full research at dscout.com – Putting a Finger on Our Phone Obsession.)
Why does pone research matter so much to radio? If we know where people are spending time, we can program to that channel.
Are you making the connection between your on-air programming and Facebook? Are you investing in social media. What changes can you make to connect with your key listeners on the platform of their choice?
Bill Arbuckle CMW
I came across an old poem while working on Thanksgiving show prep.
It's a good reminder for today, tomorrow and all year long.
How to Celebrate Thanksgiving (Unknown)
Count your blessings instead of crosses;
Count your gain instead of losses.
Count your joys instead of woes;
Count your friends instead of foes.
Count your smiles instead of tears;
Count your courage instead of fears.
Count your full years instead of lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of mean.
Count your health instead of wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.
I pray that your Thanksgiving is chock-full of reminders of God's grace throughout the past year.
Bill Arbuckle CMW
Have some fun this Christmas! It's not too late to create some on-air buzz and help your listeners get in the holiday mood. If you're looking for some listener-engagement challenges, try one of these:
1) Create an “Impossible Christmas Carol Challenge.” Ask listeners to test their knowledge of Christmas music live on air. But ask them to do things such as quote gifts from The Twelve Days of Christmas – backwards and without peeking! Listener compete to win an item from the above list...or whatever gifts you can make available.
2) Send a Song – Invite listeners to record a “music video” of themselves – or their kids – singing their favorite Christmas carol and post in on your Facebook page. Choose the best three, and ask listeners to vote for a winner. Run this promotion over a week's time so that listeners have time to participate.
3) Try “The Twelve Tweets of Christmas.” Boost your social media presence with an online search and find. Choose twelve picturesque locations around town, take photos of a small section of the decoration or location and tweet or Instagram the photos to listeners. Invite listeners to reply with their best guesses. The first listener to get all answers correct wins.
4) Run a “Virtual” 5K. Challenge families or co-workers to complete a 5K race during the Christmas season. Listeners can choose their own course and keep track of their mileage. Invite families and teams to post photos of themselves decked out in the season's finest...or funniest. The goal is to get people moving and enjoy some great time together during Christmas. And, if possible, get a sponsor who can give prizes to the first 25, 50 or 100 listeners to sign up and complete the marathon.
5) “This is My Tree” - Ask listeners to post photos of their Christmas trees on your social media channels. Give prizes for the most traditional, most decorated or most unusual tree.
It's OK to have some fun during Christmas. After all, we are celebrating the best thing that ever happened. So remind families to rise above the commercialism and clutter and enjoy the reason for the season!
The most important question we ask ourselves in this business is this: who is my audience?
But if that's the only question you're asking, you might be missing some important information.
With the Thanksgiving holiday just days away, and Christmas coming in a handful of weeks, here are some additional questions you should ask in order to make sure you're connecting with listeners and social media users.
• My key listener is planning for the holidays, but what else is going on in her life? Sure, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the big events, but what about child care during Thanksgiving week when the kids are out of school? What about keeping the kids occupied during the trip to grandma's house?
• What are biggest pain points today? Is she worried about finances? Holiday expectations? How should she deal with tense family situations during holiday visits? How can she make time for all the school and church events, shopping, work and the day-to-day needs of her family?
• What does a perfect day look like? If you could solve all of your listener's problems, how would she spend her day? If you knew what things she would enjoy, could you give them to her? A day spa? A personal assistant to do shopping and errands? Can you give her those things?
Don't be content to talk to a stereotype. Get to know your listeners, tailor your programming, chatter and social media posts to her needs and see what difference it makes during the holiday season.
P.S. - Speaking of the holidays (and Black Friday/Cyber Monday), one of the hottest gifts this year is the new Nintendo NES Classic. It sold out in the first day of its release. But if you get one, you can plan a fun promotion around it. Who knows? You might solve one of mom's biggest problems if her kids – or husband – are clamoring for one.