A good radio is hard to make. There is no instant success, and even if you are number 1 station, you need to improve yourself, to set new standards, keep your competitors far away behind. Do not underestimate any competitor. Radio industry is possibly the most beautiful but the cruelest industry for its workers, especially for DJs.
During the years, I have selected, educated and trained many radio people, from DJs to sales and promotion. Together, we have developed some new techniques that can help in delivering the better content. I called it “A little green dragon”, and it is all about advanced mind techniques that can be adjusted and implemented into any station.
Alongside, I have created the radio alphabet. It is all about radio. If you are a station owner, employee or passionate listener, take a look into following article, which will help you to understand better the whole industry.
Aircheck. It is all about aircheck. The best DJs in the world aircheck themselves on regular basis. They don’t need an expert to hear what went wrong on air, but often they don’t notice some small things that could be better, and how should that be improved. The best path for improvement is to aircheck with an expert. The best DJs have needed experience for daily aircheck, and they just love to have the aircheck with an expert. Only radio people with huge experience know how to aircheck. It is more than listening. It is active listening and analyisis. The airchecking is an art, and probably, the most sensitive part of radio programming. DJs often get this as a ticket to punishment. But good airchecker is also a great psychogist. Knows how to approach to the talent. And knows how to deliver and explain tasks for improvement. For newbies, aircheck is the crucial part of development.
That is the term we don’t need anywhere but in our minds. Never be bored. At your station. In your show. Do not be boring for the listener. If you feel bored, ask your boss for a day off or try to find something that will bring you up. If a state of bored keeps coming on and on, consider changing your job. There is no way that working on radio can be boring. There is always some great content waiting for you out there. You can have a bad day, and that is ok, but you listener must not notice that.
It is all about the content. Yes, you might have heard this sentence from time to time. Just kidding, the content should be considered as a C word, but since I have an intention to put a content wherever I can, just to highlight the first senctence, my C word will be COMPETITORS. You must know your competitors and you have to respect them. Knowing your rivals is the best way to beat them. At least, they know you. Because they want to beat you. You are their competitor. And fair game among the competitors is the best game. Play fair, and try to predict their next move. Always be one step ahead. Only when you monitor your competitors, you can guess what is going to be their next move.
Again, I couldn’t decide between two words: discipline and distinctive. Discipline cannot be violated, but if I had to choose between these two words, my choice is DISTINCTIVE. Your station, your program, your sales offer must be distinctive. That is why I will listen to your station, show, or will buy your commercial space. That is why I am attracted to specific station. You cannot be original, unique, but you must be distinctive. All stations in one market are competitors. They play music, have some content, commercial space, share same ratings, total audience, and distinctive radio/show will beat its competitors. Remember this when you prepare your show, your program, strategic campaigns (or promotions).
Entertainment leads to Eruption of EMOTIONS. Radio is all about emotions. Emotional content wins. It is easier to remember. It is very important ingredient in your program. Emotional ads are better than others. Do not be afraid to share an emotion.
Have Flair for having Fun in the Future. You must have Fun at your station. No matter which position you are, you just must have fun in order to be the best. If you don’t enjoy your work, you are going to be just average.
Having a flair is huge factor in tough game against competitors, because there isn’t always enough fund for the letter R. A person with a good flair gives an advantage.
The third word is Future. You must think about the future-the current show/program is a product that you had planned in the past. Always think about near, mid- and far future for now. Always have an idea where and what are you going to do tomorrow, next month and next year (and 5-yr plan is preferable to have).
The fourth F- word is regular part of almost any aspect of our lives. We are almost every day F-ed up for some reason.
When we speak about the future of the radio, check my prediction of possible scenario.
Garbage is something we produce daily. It is always better to clean the garbage earlier, to prevent contamination, bad smells, and big mess. Believe me, there are much more garbage in radio than you think. Clean it. Be frequent with throwing away your garbage.
Humor is soul hygiene. It is important spice in radio program. Very delicate to prepare, and humor needs to be unique. If you copy or steal your competitors humor, you will lose all earned credits.
Dare to be the best. Be brave. In order to be the best, you must innovate. Try to learn something new, and to implement that into your show/station/program. All innovations must be planned. There is no innovation that is product of the moment. The moment could inspire, can be the trigger for the innovation, but real innovation is product of planning the future.
Try to innovate with jingles. Break the rules with something new-jingles are the best starting point. Jingles are important part of station branding, and brand new (innovative) sound of your station could come from jingles. Have fun while producing new jingle package. Treat them as content. Throw away garbage from jingles. Entertain your listeners with jingles. Say the F- word loud, while producing. Listen to competitors’ jingles. Try to produce emotional jingles. Alphabet jingles ftw!
Always improve your knowledge. Nowadays, no matter what you do, you will be replaced with somebody who is “equipped” with more knowledge. How much knowledge needs radio DJ? PD? The more is always better. Learn something new every day. Will you ever need video production as radio DJ? I think you will. Invest in knowledge. It will bring you innovations.
A Leader is a person who knows how and whom to Listen, when to Laugh and how to Launch new idea. Laugh on air is great. It sounds perfect. I am not talking about fake laugh, that can be heard sometimes. I am talking about real, honest laugh. Laugh and make your listener laugh. Let them make you laugh.
Every team has one leader. Radio is a team. And Listen to each other inside the team. Listen your clients. Listen to your listeners.
Most of people I know would say Music, if I ask them what to put in M place. Without the music, radio wouldn’t exist. My choice for M is Marketing. Show your clients that you can help them in their marketing activities by doing your station marketing properly. Innovate in station marketing. Attract both clients and listeners. Tell them that you rock! DJ is the best marketing expert for his very own show, and for his station.
For further reading, and to help you be better in radio marketing, here is an article why you should treat your program as a product.
The listener must be nailed to your program. A listener will be nailed to your program if he has fun listening your station…he will have fun if you have great, emotional, innovative DJ who is a leader and has a sense for humor.
OMG, you want me to be Original? Well, it is very hard to be original-most probably, you won’t invent something new. But when I say Original, I mean-be yourself. There is no copy that is better than original. When I train new radio personalities, I hear many young people trying to be same as somebody else. That doesn’t work. There is a difference between distinctive station and original DJ. I spend a lot of time discussing that topic with station managements. Note for yourself: notice the difference where you must be distinctive, and where you must be original.
Without People, there won’t be radio. With a Passion for the station, radio is the best media in modern world. It is most effective media when it comes to advertising. Also, the cheapest.
My P word for you is Patience. There is no over-night success. When you hire new people, be patient. Mistakes will happen, you will say the fourth F- word for many times, but if there is a patience, the success will come sooner or later. When I work with young talents, I see a lot of impatience. The management in most situations would like to have stars on air over night, and young new talents would like to become a star and have an instant success. That is just impossible. I keep telling them that experience cannot be learned, and an experience is needed for great show. So, they must be patient and disciplined.
Radio is quick. That’s it. Quick. Now, quickly read next letter.
Research is great, but very expensive tool for program improvement. Big players in the market research everything. Are researches worth invested money? Definitely. What to do when you don’t have enough budget for the research? Try to innovate. Think about new, cheaper ways of research. Or hire great PD who has great flair.
Know-how and and when to keep your mouth shut. Silence is golden, especially when you have a chance to listen some expert. Listen carefully. Be silent when needed.
Timing is important. Without both on-air and off-air proper timing, there is no success. Learn to value your time. At least, time is money.
Best radio is unpredictable. Best DJ is unpredictable. Unpredictable is not a synonym for laziness. Best football players are unpredictable, but they have outstanding basic techniques and know the rules. They break rules only when they can score. Think about it before you break a rule in the radio.
Radio is visual media for more than a decade. Visual in many aspects. All stations produce online video content. Video is big thing today, it will be the big thing tomorrow, and many years from now. TV is most dominant media. Try to integrate radio with TV in some way. Radiovision is not in my predictions for the future.
WHAT WHY WHEN WHO WHERE
W questions are my W word! No, not WTF, but WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHO, WHERE is something that you must keep asking if you are into radio. What are you doing? What do you want to do on air? Why are you doing it. Why should I listen to your show? Why should I advertise at your station? etc.
Be Xtra! YOLO! Zero tolerance on laziness, vanity and danglers.
Radio is not dead! Radio is media for the future. And it is the best place in the world where you can work. Thank you for the time spent reading this. As always, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me.