Charlie Cook On Air: I Wanna Talk About Me

Charlie Cook

Charlie Cook

The start of the college football season. The new NFL season. The ending of great TV shows like Breaking Bad. The start of the network TV season, filled with new shows and the return of favorites like Big Bang Theory and Scandal. The baseball playoffs and The World Series. The NHL season is just a couple of weeks away. High school football every Friday night. Add 40+ hour work weeks and homework every day with the kids. The holiday season is not far off and your listeners are starting to go online to do some shopping. As I write this The United States is still involved with the politics of a new conflict in the Middle East so that dominates the news every day.

Where is your radio station, or your recording career, in all of this? Are you relevant? Are you relatable? Are you a diversion?

It is a lot easier for radio stations to become involved in the listeners’ day. All of the topics mentioned in the first few paragraphs can be subjects for bits or phone conversations. No matter your format, your market is touched by some or all of this. Talking about these subjects makes you local and gets you between the listener and their lives. It connects you to the listener without them even realizing you have done so.

As the new television season kicks off, how about soliciting your listeners to view some of the new shows and review them for your audience? Assign a half dozen listeners and schedule them throughout the first week of the season. How about having contests on the air with listeners Friday morning to pick High School football winners or have each of the morning show’s participants compete with each other?

I know good morning shows already do all of this every morning, but my point is the 15 or so events that are all happening around the same time can cause your staff to sound overwhelmed and lose the listener’s “little things” that mean more to them than to us.

I mentioned that it is easier for radio to pull this off than an individual artist. Performers don’t really have the forum, but I suggest you schedule some time with radio stations around the country in the next month and come prepared to talk, not about your new CD, which will get the needed promotion, but about these local issues.

Spend a minute learning about what is important to the local audience. Is there a high school rivalry the coming weekend? Become aware of the situation and weigh in on it. Do you think the audience would appreciate that you know what’s happening in their lives?

This is the time of the year when you’re setting up fourth quarter CD sales. Building a connection with the local listeners will pay off. I know “doing prep” takes time. For the announcers and the performers, the effort will pay off both short-term and long-term.

Many major market PDs are skittish about putting the artists on air. Too much talk? Baloney. I believe fun, entertaining content in fact will cause longer listening. But an interview that revolves around either the host (you know who you are) or just about the artist is, “been there done that.” As Toby Keith said, “ I Wanna Talk About Me.”

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)

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