Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

Celebrating Denise

August 24, 2011 2 comments

Max Headroom is back, with a new name:  Denise.  You may not remember the Cyberpunk star of the 1980s, a badly-glitching artificial intelligence construct named Max Headroom as a faulty brain-scanned simulation of a comatose TV reporter. The character originally appeared as the host of a surprisingly successful (non-fiction) pop video show, titled “The Max Headroom Show”.

Now, 25-plus years later, radio has it’s own version of Max, named Denise.

Mark Ramsey’s blog post on “Denise”, the new artificial intelligence DJ just introduced, is well stated and a point of view that mostly reflects my thoughts on the technology…so I’ll link to Mark’s post here in case you haven’t read it yet.  When you’ve finished, come back and share your thoughts on these points and questions:

1)  For years, I’ve advised talent and programmers that every personality is either making the station better or they’re making it worse.  The advance in technology has made it possible for automation to make music intense stations sound great.  But automation does not connect with the audience on a deeper level.  It doesn’t become their “friend”, providing the special bond between station and listener.   The arrival of Denise ushers in a new era of automation that raises the bar yet again.  It’s even more critical now for personalities to elevate their performance, to be more significant…to be a difference-maker.

2)  In a programming world that is pressured by cost controls and is (over) reacting to the tactics dictated by PPM measurement, Denise will provide attractive options for some stations.

3)  The accountants are likely going to see another opportunity to eliminate talent, particularly those less experienced, developing positions.   We’ve already managed to drain the pool of many aspiring personalities.  If AI DJ’s catch on, how much more difficult will it be to grow as talent?

At the end of the day, this could be a good thing for radio.  As mentioned, it increases the “competition”, making it more important to grow personality that matters.   And, as technology takes over, the premium on human connections grows.   Is that a threat or an opportunity.  It depends.  How important are you to your audience?


This Was Actually ON THE AIR

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Scanning the radio dial on Friday afternoon much the way a typical listener would, I came across a talk show going into a stop set.  The first thing I heard them say was:

“Hey, you wanna keep it down over there?  I’m trying to read a spot here, and you’re eating over my commercial”.

I don’t even know where to start in critiquing this, but I was gone right after that first five seconds.  There was nothing for the listener, it was immersed inside the studio, irrelevant, and about as lacking in respect for the listener’s time as it could possibly be.

In fact, it was so annoying, I didn’t switch stations, I turned off the radio. 

Come on.  We can do better than that, can’t we?





Categories: Performance, Programming

Every Show Needs…

There are many ways to create dynamic personalities on the radio.  There isn’t a single, simple recipe for success.  However, there are basics that every show needs.  Let’s start a list.  I’ll go first.

Every show needs:

*  Someone with an “internal clock”.  A sense of when the pace is dragging.  The ability to keep the topic in focus, on track and making “sense” to the audience.

*  A keen understanding of the target audience’s lifestyle, attitudes, worldview, priorities and the reason they might choose their show.

*  An understanding of who they are as personalities and how they match that target audience.

*  A coach.  Someone to help them, guide them, counsel them and provide perspective.

There are many more.  What can you add to the list?


Categories: Performance, Programming

Clock Restrictions

July 14, 2011 1 comment

Working with a personality recently, the topic turned to familiar territory:

” Our competition is allowed more freedom to talk for longer periods of time.  Isn’t that an advantage that will be hard for us to compete with?”

It’s a great discussion, but one that usually ends with a chicken/egg debate:  Does talent blossom because restrictions have been lifted or has the format clock loosened because talent has demonstrated that they have content so compelling that programming changes are needed?


Each competitive situation is different, of course, but there are a few absolutes that all talent should understand:

1)  The length of time you are granted to entertain your audience has nothing to do with your ability to entertain.  Every artist is has restrictions.  A painter’s canvas may be 3″x5″ or it could be the side of a building.  The art is expressed within the confines of the media in which it is created.

2)  Brief content demands more preparation, not less.  A famous presidential speech writer once told the Commander-in-Chief, “If you want a 10 minute speech, I can whip that out for you in half an hour.  If you want a five minute speech, it will require significantly more time”.  The same applies to your show.  If your format allows four 30-second breaks per hour and 3-4 song intros, you will have to work harder to craft your content to have an impact in a short time.  It’s not an excuse to fail to connect with your audience.

3)  Don’t waste opportunities.  If you have a 12 second song intro to entertain, then kill it for that 12 seconds.  If you have 12 minutes, it better be great.  Every moment counts.  Every second is important.  Use your platform.

For those who think they it’s impossible, click here.  Navigate to the right hand column, and watch the videos of Jo Jo Kincaid and listen to the aircheck of Broadway Bill Lee.




Here’s How to Tell Stories With Emotion

Melissa Etheridge has a new radio show.  it’s five nights a week, five hours a night.  It’s been on for about a week on a handful of AC and Hot AC radio stations in North America, with many more coming on board soon.

Many performers and rock stars have become radio personalities with varying degrees of success, from Kim Mitchell in Canada (he had a hit in the 80s called GO FOR SODA and does a very good afternoon show now), Greg Kihn, David Lee Roth, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty (XM), Chaka Khan, Alice Cooper, Nicki Sixx, etc.

Celebrity alone does not convert to great radio.  After the novelty wears off, the critical factor is content and the performer’s ability to connect with listeners.

Melissa is still new on the radio, but she has all the right qualities to become a major success.  She’s passionate, bold, has strong opinion and can tell great stories from her career and her life experiences that are much broader than you might expect.

One of her features each night is called “OUR TUNE”….a story about a song with meaning to one of her listeners.  I heard this last week, and had to share it with you.  CLICK HERE  to visit my web site resources page, scroll to the bottom of the middle column and click on Melissa’s picture.  Sorry for the hoops, but WordPress won’t allow Mp3’s to be embedded in this blog…or if they do I can’t figure it out!

Listen to the heart, the emotion and the passion in how this is related on the air.  It reveals her character through content, and is a perfect example that every personality can apply to their own performance every day.  This story doesn’t happen by accident.  It draws from experience, personal values, character traits and discipline to prepare oneself to tell the story from deep within.  I’d love your comments on it and offer ideas, feedback, thoughts and suggestions on how to do the same in YOUR show.  Listen and enjoy!


Categories: Performance, Programming

Morning Show Boot Camp 2011

June 26, 2011 1 comment

Congratulations to Don Anthony for another fantastic MSBC in Miami.  The convention this year was full of talented, motivated personalities from all over the world and it was an honor to be a part of it.
In addition to the valuable content and idea exchange, it was a pleasure to meet some new faces.  The attitudes are much more positive than in the past as learn to expand their horizons to appeal to listeners in new ways and using all of the engagement tools at their disposal.
For those of you who attended my session on Friday, Facebook to Fortune….thank you.  You can download a copy of the presentation from my website here.

If you haven’t been to attend Boot Camp, please plan to attend next year.  It’s an important ingredient in your career path.

Next up:  I’ll be presenting a session on connecting with the audience emotionally at the Midwest Conclave Learning Conference on July 15 (Minneapolis).  Hope to see you there!

Meet Me In Miami

June 21, 2011 1 comment

If you’re planning to attend Don Anthony’s Morning Show Boot Camp in Miami this week, look me up!  The gathering is Thursday-Saturday, and features some great resources for your show and career.  I’ll be presenting a session titled “From Facebook to Fortune” on Friday morning, showing you how to turn your natural resources (ability to motivate audiences) into new actual revenue using the power of the loudspeaker (radio) and social media.  I’m staying at Eden Roc, and would love to meet you and exchange ideas.  Let me know if you’re attending!