Covid-19 Emotional Touchstones

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(By Randy Lane) Being authentic and relating to your audience has never been more important than today. That means being highly aware of what you, your cohosts and listeners are feeling and going through emotionally. At the heart of this pandemic is loss.

The death of a loved one is not the only thing causing grief. We have at least temporarily lost a way of life which is causing widespread grief. We are losing jobs, businesses, clients, income, and socializing in-person with family, friends and public gatherings.

Loss and grief:

Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first identified the five stages of grief in her internationally best-selling book, On Death and Dying. These stages have different emotional responses that people go through while experiencing loss.

The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 

We don’t necessarily go through these stages sequentially. We may arrive at the acceptance stage, then suddenly an event, situation or feeling triggers the depression stage again. Be aware that your team and your listeners are running the spectrum of these stages of grief at different times.

Many of your listeners are glued to coronavirus news and many others are avoiding the news altogether because it makes them nervous and anxious.

Even before the pandemic, shows on music stations had a hard time addressing current events and politics. While your audience is coming to you for entertainment, this is too big to ignore. How do you keep listeners entertained and still be relevant?

Strike a Balance:

As a show, your mission is to strike a balance and appeal to listeners who want to hear about the virus 24-7 and those who want to escape it. The key to connecting with the most listeners is to plan your show/podcast for flow.

Segment 1: Connect emotionally with the audience by being vulnerable with your feelings and conversing with callers and guests about their experiences. Focus on stories over information.

Segment 2: Dispense updated and relevant news, especially local information. This would also be an ideal time to deliver a good news feature.

Segment 3: Allow listeners to escape with fun and humorous content. Interactive games and topics give the audience a chance to experience the lighter side of the world and the quarantine.

Randy Lane can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at [email protected].

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