Human Element Missing

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.

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SteveO

I am one of the pioneers of the Hot Country format that swept across radio in the late 80's. In the early 80’s, I began advising his clients to make two significant formatting moves: 1) Increase the tempo. 2) Play more Currents. What seemed radical at the time, immediately producing ratings winners. My report about the formatting tactics I was using "Repositioning Country Radio" was published in ‘91. It was purchased by more than 200 radio programmers and served as a basic game plan for the Hot Country movement. Today, most radio markets have at least one station positioning itself as “Hot” Country. However, I no longer advise using the slogan anymore. As the format continues to evolve rapidly, new strategies are needed to maintain market share. First announcing job in '64; first PD position at age 18. I served as PD, air talent and station manager in twelve diverse markets prior to starting my consulting business in 1981. At the end of the 90's, I began transitioning from consulting to full-time business development of my music scheduling software company. Conceived and developed the first for the Macintosh computer, introduced in 1987; and Music1™, the first scheduler for Windows, introduced in 1994. The Mac-based scheduler was retired in the early 90s. The innovative Music 1 scheduler is now installed in broadcast and webcast stations around the world. Author of The Programming Operations Manual, radio's only step by step "how to" programming and formatting guide. The $99 book has been purchased by over 3000 broadcasters in the U. S. and around the world. I've often written about the technical, strategic and philosophical aspects of radio programing. My articles have appeared in all major trade publications. Experienced in all standard radio research methodologies; focus group, one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, call-out, etc. From jingles to TV production, billboard and bumper sticker design, telemarketing to direct mail, I've been involved in every aspect of radio programming and marketing.