"If you’re not asking about pizza toppings or take-out, what are you doing with your show?"
Back in the 1980’s Phillips, the home appliance brand, had a TV advert with the theme “what did you do with you Phillips today?”. The advert showed a lady waking up and starting her day using a variety of Phillips products. From a clock radio, fax machine, washing machine, cordless phone and others, she flitted through her morning seamlessly. The ad had a catchy tune about getting a letter from Paris, a load off my mind and waking up on time, ending with the phrase, “what did you do with your Phillips today?”.
There is a great parallel between some of the appliances in the advert and being a radio professional. Many of the appliances have dated, been replaced, or been made redundant by newer technology. There are also some relics, still working but begging to switched for the latest model, much like some radio people. In the appliance world, Phillips wanted to know what you did with their products, in the radio world, ask your self what did you do with your show today?
If you thought the idea of a clock radio or a fax machine was archaic, you should listen to some radio in 2020. Last week, as takeaways were opening in COVID level 4, three different radio stations, over three different days and three different shows all wanted to know what toppings I was going to have on my long awaited my pizza. Either there was a listening daisy chain, and the idea was stolen from show one by show two and then by show three from show two, or all three shows are equally poor in the “making radio” category. I suspect the latter.
So, if you’re not asking about pizza toppings or take-out, what are you doing with your show?
Forget Burger King or King Pie, “Content is King”. This phrase is a great radio take-out and cliché that gets shared regularly by people who wouldn’t know what content was even it was delivered to their door by a guy whose motorbike helmet doesn’t fit, is from Zambia and drives a two wheel death trap with a blue light on the back and carries a worn out “heating bag”. The idea of content has multiple definitions, but I think “content in context” is probably the most relevant concept. Content that is delivered in the right context has a greater chance of finding a receptive audience and achieving the goal of connecting with audiences.
“You are only as good as your last link” another radio cliché but one that that certainly isn’t being considered by those controlling the microphone. If they were thinking about content and links nearly as much as a double cheese and chips, we might see more prep time going into those links. As with most restaurants’ reviews, the newest ones offer the latest insight from diners and are a snapshot of the general quality. Talking about content you made a month ago isn’t good enough, you need a more recent review. As a broadcaster you should be able to identify the highlight at the end of every show. That moment that elicited an emotion or an increase in attention. If you can’t point to that moment in the shows menu you have failed your employer and your audience. If a week goes by and you still cannot do so maybe you should consider one of those motorcycles with a blue light on the back.
There are many excuses as to why these moments are lacking. “If I was on commercial radio my talent could be appreciated”, “If I was on a daytime show I would make magic”, “There are too many ads on my show to allow my creativity to shine”, “when I’m in a bigger show”. These excuses remind me of a waiter blaming the kitchen because the order is wrong.
Stop falling around and do your job. Creating an entertaining show that attracts an audience that can be sold to advertisers.
Ask a restaurateur and they will tell you “money keeps the lights on and the doors open”. Another cliché but if the clientele can’t or won’t eat at your establishment, the owner will be forced to shut down or to rebrand the pizzeria and open a kebab shop. Don’t be the pizzeria.
Wherever you find yourself in the career life cycle, be it flipping burgers on the graveyard show or being the Maître’d on a breakfast show, the aim is to have satisfied customers, wiping their mouths in satisfaction. The goal is to create moments that elicit emotion and entertain an audience, let them write a good review. Every restaurant or fast food joint knows who their target market is and what they are looking to order and eat. Be it a snack, on the go or a three-course sit-down, now is the time to get cooking with gas!
As a side note, I haven’t ordered any take-out in a good six weeks but am making such great pizza at home you can call me Giuseppe.