One of the many mistakes corporate radio has made is the elimination of the live, human element from much of their broadcast day. And no, happy-talk voice-tracking is not a proper substitute. Most announcers lose something when they are voice tracking; the immediacy is gone, they’re talking “professionally” to a microphone rather than to their listener.
The golden key to listenership success is to create a personable station, a station that clearly sounds like one that has Real People putting it together. The station need not be the slickest, although consistent levels, cross fades and good processing of the audio are required. We need to sound less-automated than corporate radio. While not necessarily everything that is coming down your stream has to have a live disc jockey sitting there every moment, talking live between the records, what we must have is regularly updated personalizations, new stuff being said. Voices have to be there talking whether they be yours, a few regular announcers or voicers recorded from listeners. These things need to be freshened regularly; don’t let them get stale.
What to talk about? The one golden key, the one thing all successful radio disc jockeys have in common is: They talk about the music. Dick Clark, the most successful DJ of all time started in radio before American Bandstand. On the show, he never talked about anything that wasn’t music related. Casey Kasem, Alan Freed, my mentor Buddy Deane, same deal. They didn’t talk about politics. They didn’t tell jokes. The only opinions they expressed were positive ones; and, universally they were positive about the music they were presenting.
If you are involved in music radio, broadcast or internet, you are doing it out of your love for music and the odd, driving desire to share and present that music to other people. Everybody likes music. Most people love music. But people who are in radio love it more. That’s why we are doing this radio thing. To share the love. Communicate your interest and your love, verbally, your voice all the voices on your station. That is what will help bind listeners to your station once they find it. A successful radio station is a one-to-one companion for the listener. Sound more human and your station is more comfortable to spend a lot of time with.