Sunday, August 22, 2010

What Gord Did On His Summer Vacation

The staff at Jim Pattison Broadcast Group's Vancouver stations is very fortunate each Friday to receive an informative and insightful email from their Program Director Gord Eno, which he nicknames "The WJM."

This week's edition is so good (and for a change it's not about any secret strategies or tactics) I simply must share it with you:

With only the occasional slip I was able to stick to my goal of not listening to radio during my vacation. I did hear a station the first day but the the lack of focus and sloppy execution frustrated me so much that I wanted to hotline the radio station.

So I pledged to avoid radio for the next two weeks.

Difficult for me to do but, I offered myself a compromise by listening to Sirius in the rental car.

With hundreds of stations to offer we settled on four or five. I really couldn’t stay too long on the talk channels. Most of what was being offered was exaggerated opinions and over the top point of views. I found the hype to be insincere and the insulting.

Besides, I was looking for entertainment suitable for a vacation.

At first is it was the Broadway Musicals channel. When the announcers became boring and the repetition became too much I searched for something new and found three stand up comedy channels. The three channels went from safe to edgy to raunchy. Just like music scheduling the clips were rotating, some more than others. The really interesting clips were worth listening to a couple of times but the rest of the content was worth only hearing once. On the F-bomb channel it was easy to feel disconnected and a lot of switching to the other two comedy channels happened there.

Then, while scanning for something new I stopped on the Old Time Radio channel.

There it stayed for a couple of days.

Radio Mystery Theatre. Lux Radio Theatre. The Whisperer. The Jack Benny Show. The Thin Man. Our Miss Brooks. The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.

Listening to the various shows on Old Time Radio channel reminded me of the common thread that has lasted through decades of radio programming; it is all about the listeners.

The scripts, the performances, the storytelling, the characters in these old time radio shows were all playing directly to the audience. It was engaging. The words triggered images in my mind and I became a participant. It wasn’t just random audio, I was actively listening. I was involved.

Radio is the same today. You will be better than your competitors when you create engaging content that triggers participation and involves your listeners.

1 comment:

James Rabe said...

I recently started working with a brand new, never been on the radio before co-host. I am a big fan of Old Time Radio and gave her a few programs to listen to... to help her see how you paint pictures with words and sounds. How those mental images can be even more powerful than a real image.

I figure a lot of people can tell a story and get a laugh, but not everyone can tell a story so well that the listen can actually see it happening, which, I think, makes the emotional connection so much stronger.