Change Gears.

Code Word COVID has led to a large percentage of the world being forced into lockdown as authorities, globally, try and flatten the curve of infection.


With people now finding themselves in “the new normal” it seems to me that many have discovered the inner broadcaster deep within and are embracing the concept of creating and sharing. The trend is so rife I was tempted to do a webcast/hangout/zoom/ skype/podcast/webinar with my Mother who would tell them, in no uncertain terms, that broadcasting wasn’t actually a career and they should really just stick to their real jobs.


From the innocuous, interesting, inspiring and informative to the irreverent, content from far and wide has made its way down the data pipe to our dwellings.  There are experts in everything. Self-isolation exercise, parenting in lockdown, working from home, self-improvement and cooking on a budget. Who knew we needed these? By virtue of boredom, ears and eyeballs are being served user generated content on every obvious platform. The democratisation of audio and video content, via the internet, has been amplified in 2020. The ability to self-generate and distribute is quickly showing the “old guard” that slicks links, poor preparation and reputation are no longer good enough to command and keep an audience. In fact, the audience are now the competition.


Niche content providers who create long form podcasts and video are in the enviable position that they need only be an expert in their chosen field. They get to talk about what they know and are passionate about. Those of us in broadcasting know that you need a wide general knowledge and acute sense of insight to be successful when tackling topics that require a level of depth. The ability to incorporate experts into a broadcast while keeping the topic accessible to a layman is a skill held by professional broadcasters. It is the training and expertise that set the Pro’s apart from those who need to be discouraged by my mother in her webinar.


As a trained professional, are you remembering the basics? Are you making the content accessible? Are you talking to that single listener while broadcasting to thousands?


What we can learn from niche content providers is how to get out there and create.


In lockdown I have discovered many niched channels and podcasts in areas that interest me and as a process of discovery. The good ones seem to have a common trait; they understand the audience and are willing to go the distance to produce good content for their audience.


One example of this is Pro Mountain Biker, Matt Jones.  During lockdown he has taken to turning his backyard into a mountain bikers paradise. In the process of creating this dirt track, he is video blogging. From building jumps, berms, hips and tabletops he has made relevant content for a community of MTB enthusiasts. Matt has literally decided if he can’t go to the mountain, he’ll bring the mountain to Matt’s house.


Many radio broadcasts are being done from presenter’s homes during lockdown. How many of these broadcasts have geared up their offering, going the extra mile? The fact that you post about broadcasting from your laptop in bed isn’t content, unless it is the pre-roll for a porn movie. There is nothing novel about listening to a home-based broadcast unless the presenter gears up the content and goes the extra mile to tell the stories of these exceptional times.


If you want to remain relevant, change gears. Like Matt, move the mountain. Stop asking who’s run out of booze. Make your own wine. Document the process on all the platforms available to you, amplify it on radio, design a logo, bottle it, be merry and raise a glass. If you need any wine making tips, speak to my Mother, she became a self-taught vinter while living in the middle east and she never made a drop of content. Be careful she may tell you to get a real job though.



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