On Monday Radio Ink published a column from long-time respected radio consultant and former Cumulus executive Mike McVay. The column It’s Time For a Softer, Gentler Touch On The Air, detailed how hosts should look for positive news, rather than focus on the doom and gloom news of the day. That approach didn’t sit well with syndicated host Tom Kent.
Kent, who posted several comments on the McVay column, sent us the following letter about what McVay wrote…
“Recently an article was published in a trade publication by a well known consultant regarding “Speaking Softly” when it comes to music radio personalities engaging with their audiences. The idea was that we don’t want to do anything that would create controversy or God forbid ruffle someone’s feathers. Let’s bake some cookies, have some tea and play another song! PLEASE! This is nothing but sheer boredom and will not keep an audience engaged and thus build average quarter hour! This kind of thinking has systematically killed personality radio! I take great exception to this because if anything music radio should be passionately engaging with it’s audience and beating the drum louder rather than softer.
“We as an industry are getting our clocks collectively cleaned by the digital world aka podcasts, internet streaming, satellite radio and the rest. Your only rule as far as being a music personality is to stay away from politics because you’re not living in that space. If you’re an adult station and you just want to be “safe for the whole family” then by all means. get ready to be wall paper for the masses. Music personalities need to create forced listening. In other words, you’re so engaging and provocative, you’re audience will stay with you because of your unique content, creativity and ability to continue to paint the canvas quarter hour by quarter hour.
“Many music programmed stations have eliminated personalities between the hours of 6p to 6a. Radio is literally on it’s back just trying to survive and they want to pull the plug on the one thing that can bond the audience to the station. Come on get real! This isn’t rocket science. I know margins are tight but there are so many other options better than just being a jukebox! I could name some right in front of you but I fear that it might come off being self serving.
“We as an industry are losing the battle to digital and if you don’t see that you’re blind. Don’t just raise the white flag and give up for God’s sake. Stay in the game. Create forced listening with creative, engaging personalities and if you don’t have the budget for that….HIRE ME! It’ll cost you nothing! We have a cache’ of great 24/7 music personalities that can be customized to your music and your market. If it’s not me and our great staff of entertainers then by all means find something better either locally or through syndication but the latter is your best option in the budget squeeze category.
Know one thing. Stations that consistently win the Nielsen game almost always make the personality people connection that bonds their audience with their stations.”