Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Accidental Career.

When I look back on my on air career, I realise that I had a plan.
I had no idea at the time. If you asked me "What's the plan Nails?" You would have received one of my blank looks.
Huh? Plan?
It seems that no matter what we do in life and in our career, that we DO indeed have a design to it.
That is based on our personaity and experiences.
My plan was to travel, work in new and exciting places with interesting people who could teach me as I went.
Heck, I left RTE 2FM to go live in Vancouver...without a job! But it worked out!
The plan was never to stay in the one spot forever.
I have worked with some of the greatest minds in radio and soaked up all they could pass on to me.
I only know that now.
Up to 2007, I did it all by accident.
You have a chance to do it 'On Purpose'.
Do you have a plan? Some sort of road map? Do you know what you want?

I believe it is very important to ask yourself these questions:
1. Why am I in radio?
2. What do I want from radio?
3. What do I need to do to get there?

My instinct led me to where I needed to go.
Your instinct is leading you too.
The art is in tying in your 'smarts' with your instinct to make a killer combination.

When you answer the three questions above honestly, you may even surprise yourself.

Human beings have a built in need to advance and better ourselves. We take classes, go to the gym, try to eat well. We do ALL of these on purpose. We know why we do them and what the end result will look like.

Yet, in radio, I come across people every day stumbing from job to job or staying in the same job, without a plan.
Granted, your plan may not pan out 100% the way you design it...but even if you reach 50/60/70% of your vision, can you imagiine how great that would be?
Or it may go in a totally different direction and be even better than you planned.

You're doing great - now try doing great On Purpose!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pass It On...

I came off a Skype Coaching Session yesterday evening with a guy who is going through some stuff (Hey...aren't we all)!!
Part of the converstaion dealt with how presenters want feedback. Now, I'm not talking about just an aircheck every now and then or the occasional "Sounding great" as you pass in the halls once a month.
The problem seems to be that as PDs get busier and busier holding down more and more responsibilites in the station, the time they actually have to listen to and notice the on air product is lessened. Not in all cases but definitely in a vast majority. They don't get the chance to direct programmes!
So when you, as the on air guy/girl comes knocking on the door and is asked to 'come back later', it can seem like you are not getting the support or guidance that you are looking for.
Nobody wins.
As I always say - my job should not exist. I should have no clients. Yet, here I am - coaching radio presenters across the globe - all looking for a sounding board, a second opinion, guidance - call it what you will.

So, I came up with a really easy to execute idea.
If you hear somethng on air that you like, or that caught your attention - get in touch with the presenter and tell them. Tweet them, Facebook, email, hire a carrier pigeon...it doesn't matter.
I've been doing this for years, not to gain new clients, but because it's a nice thing to do. If it's honest and comes from the heart, people respond. It may give that other person a boost. We're all human beings working in a small industry. Let's look after eachother a bit more.
Let's face it - if you sound better, then radio sounds better, then that can attract more people listen and we all win.

The video above was taken just after I finished the call, so I'm still pumped by it. Thanks for the thosands of views...and the input :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

That Takes the Biscuit.

Overheard on the radio this week...Three links, all centred around - Biscuits.
That's right. Biscuits.
Now, I have nothing against biscuits. I enjoy them. Who doesn't like a decent biscuit?
(Here's the however bit...)
Three links about biscuits!

Link 1: "What's your favourite biscuit"? Other wise known as the 'I have no prep' link.
Link 2: "What biscuit should I have with my tea today"?
Link 3: "If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be"?

I understand where the whole 'biscuit' element comes from. Listeners like biscuits, we like biscuits, therefore we are the same. We live the same lives as them and are therefore relatable.
Nice thinking.
However...let's get back to what radio is all about for a moment.
Radio presentation is one person speaking to another person. That's it.
The art is in making it appear natural.
I have NEVER met a person in my (non radio) life who asked me if I were a biscuit, what biscuit would I be?
Imagine your friend saying that to you.

The problem from a listener stand point is that is just sounds like you are trying too hard to provoke a response.
And trying too hard is needy.
Needy is not attractive.
You know that needy friend you have? Yeah, that one - the one you try to avoid because they're too NEEDY!?!
If you are going for interraction on air, make it less obvious.
Ask real questions.

How far can you go with the 'What biscuit would you be' bit anyway?
"Text here says Bourbon Cream...another says Chocolate Digestive...here's one for Jaffa Cakes...hmm, is that a biscuit or a cake....that's a debate for another day".
No. It's not.

Listeners are so savvy these days. They know when you are 'working' them and they don't like it.
The fact that I heard three random links all centred around biscuits in the past week leads me to think that *maybe* it's reached it's peak.
It's the Fonz on water skis.

Let's try something a bit more creative.
Like..."What's Your favourite Colour"?
Oh, been done already? ;)

And don't link with your mouth full ;)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

3 Ways to Ruin Your Radio Show.

Click bait?
Not really.
Just three ways we can shoot ourselves in the foot while on air and take our 'eye off the ball'.

1. Not Prepping properly.
This might sound like an obvious one, but it happens. You know those days when you get caught up in your off-air life - an appointment made you late, you had too much to do in the lead up to your gig or you just weren't in the mood.
Whatever it is, it influences you when you walk into the studio.
You think "It'll be fine...I can do a four hour gig on the fly. No problem".
I don't doubt that you can...but will it be any good?
Will you be at your best? Maybe!
But the chances are, you won't.
Do yourself a favour - prep every show. You don't need to write a book...just enough to be in control of the gig.
It's amazing how many presenters arrive fifteen minutes before their gig and just 'wing it'.
Raise the standards. Watch how the big players do it.
Prep well.

2. People in the Studio.
The newscaster, sales reps, production people, other presenters...the boss!
People love to walk into a radio studio and just...'hang out'.
They are doing you no favours.
You have work to do. This is your office. It may look like you are just staring into space or killing time between songs but we know you are thinking, planning, editing, writing...whatever. The studio isn't a hang out for bored employees, just as the CEO or PD's office isn't.
Most presenters are too polite to tell someone else to "get out", but maybe we can do it nicely and professionally.
The worst part...? You have 25 seconds left on your song before you speak again. Nothing is prepped, you put your headphones on, the other person winds up their chat and then stands there as you tread water into the next feature.
You KNOW it's distracting you but you let it happen.
Find a way to have zero distractions and you will do a waaaaay better gig.

3. Paying Attention to Negative Listener Comments.
We get instant feedback these days from listeners - whether it be through text, Whatsapp or Messenger. Back in the day, if you didn't answer the studio phone, the listener couldn't contact you.
While this is all great when used properly and on purpose, it can aslo be a huge drain on your ego.
"What a stupid comment....You're awful....When is the regular guy back on air, this guy sucks....".
One comment like that can throw you, if you let it.
You can't filter the comments out but you can control your reaction.
Let me give you a quick example of how these comments should never be taken to heart: 2006, I'm on afternoon drive. I crack a joke. Text - "Worst DJ ever". Immediately after that, another text - "That was hilarious".
Right after eachother. Same gag - two completely different reactions.
Try develop a thick skin and move on. If you can. It will help massively.

We're all trying to be great, we all want to be the best.
Respect yourself and listen to your instinct.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Sound of Silence.

I had a short but interesting conversation with a local radio CEO a while back.
He has a large on air staff...mostly freelance and part-time with the daytime on air crew consisting of four main presenters. The rest all cover various weekend and fill-in shifts.
The chat was about....coaching, what else!
This CEO believes that coaching is a waste of time and money - their time and his money. I didn't set out to debate him. I did want to listen to his reasons though.
They varied from "Anyone could do that job" to "Sure they're just in there waffling" to "I've done a few shows myself and it wasn't that hard".
I wanted to say - "So, why do you think three of your presenters have come to me in the past year for coaching"?
But I didn't!

I was reminded of this while reading about the RadioDays conference in Amsterdam this week.
Industry leaders from programming and presentation and marketing, all pitting their wits together, mingling and sharing and developing. Was that a waste of time or money? Did everyone come away from that conference thinking they learned nothing?
The very fact that people think and ponder on what we do for a living helps develop radio for us all. Someone will have had their career changed by one sentence uttered this week. That's worth any amount of time and/or money because that 'someone' will go and advance radio for all of us.

Radio presentation, in it's simplest form, is you filling the silence between two pieces of audio.
The art is in how you fill that silence. That's the debate, that's the discussion, that's the key.
There are endless ways and each one is unique to the individual presenter.
We can analyse and dissect every nuance and put each pixel under a magnifying glass, but the simple fact remains - you are filling silence as only you can.
As with anything in life, you need support and encouragement.
"Anyone could do that job" is the obvious opposite of that.
If your PD or CEO don't know how to help you advance and improve - find someone who will. A friend, a colleague, a peer, a PD in another market, yes...even a coach (any coach...they're all different).
Reach out and contact others. It's a small industry littered with people who think BIG. Find those people and engage with them and if your PD or CEO don't know how to do that, then don't wait for them to change. It will ultimately hold you back.
It's why people travel and attend conferences like RadioDays - to connect with and share ideas with like minded people.

I'd love to have airchecked that CEO's show !!