"Winning is a choice, make the right one."
The celebration of work done in our business must not be underestimated.
We have extraordinarily little, collective opportunity as an industry, by no fault other than our own, to get together and just catch-up on careers, station shenanigans and things going on at an operational and talent level. It is also an opportunity for “the brass”, boards and bosses to be in a room with our industry and for a variety of industry supporters to also partake in the celebrations. The Radio Awards have always been one of the “safe spaces” for industry socialising. The other being Radio Days Africa, where far less egos are bruised. So, it was unique to sit down on Friday 17 April at 2pm, to see who the winners would be in a virtual awards ceremony.
I was fortunate enough to be inducted to "The Bright Stars Club" in 2012. Do I include this in my profile? Absolutely. Has it made a difference in my career? Probably not. There is no doubt in my mind that I worked tirelessly in the 15 years leading up to being awarded and one does feel rewarded when you recognised by a group of your peers. The reality is in the 8 years following the award, no one has asked to see a certified copy of the certificate. It’s like being in the first hockey, netball or soccer team when a derby is being played, a real moment to shine, but it’s only a moment.
The question is what are you doing about the other moments? The thousand moments that are an opportunity to connect with your audience in a year. Those moments where we can add value, make a difference, shift perceptions, plant a seed, be the silent hero, wipe a tear or cause some. Your career is not a six-minute submission. Your audience deserve more than that. Worry less about the person who walked away with what you thought should have been awarded to you, and busy yourself with the prep for your next show, OB, live-read or client / audience interactions. The reality is you need to try and make everything you do good enough to be put in that special “radio awards” folder.
In the years that I submitted material I always thought about that “magic” that would give our station the edge, the additional push to get to the line before the competition. The “magic” in this instance is excellence and consistency. You need to strive for excellence in every piece of prep, link, show, week of shows and month of shows. Everyone at your station must operate excellently and consistently. When you operate with that mindset the game changes and so do your results.
In 2020, as in previous years, there have been some notable absent players from the awards. Some of them individual presenters, entire stations, or pockets within radio groups. Does their absence mean they are not striving for consistent excellence on their platforms? Does the audience care that their favourite presenter is not a nominee? Did the show suffer a revenue loss because they never submitted their six minutes?
In the several years when I was still judging the awards I often thought if what I was listening to was the best six minutes of the year for a certain show or presenter, the material that wasn’t selected must have been a shit show of proportional note. Are you the best on your station, in your cluster, your province and available listening dial?
Are you winning every day?
I thoroughly enjoy the bravado that happens when the nominees are announced and better yet when the winners are crowned. Modern grammar can thank the hashtag for contributing, #blessed #humbled #nominated #hardworkpaysoff #radioislife #bestofthebest. It’s great to see my timeline flooded with congratulations and pictures of awards and people celebrating them.
Do we need awards? Absolutely. Do we need to support them? Definitely. Do the awards need refining? Yes. Are there winners that should be losers? Yes. #disgruntled #gobsmacked #unbelievable.
Irrespective of the awards, make sure you set out to win every time you practice your craft. From answering the phone, sending a prize, releasing the payroll or doing a breakfast show. Winning is a choice, make the right one.
Till then, I’ll celebrate with the hashtag brigade, commiserate with the #runner-up and turn up the volume with colleagues who work daily to make this the best place to earn a living.