(By Loyd Ford) If you are an on-air personality today, you may be tempted to leave the challenges of keeping compassion and empathy front and center elevated in your content now that we are in 2021. New year = new hope, right? You might want to get back to “normal” just as badly as your listeners, but check yourself.
We are living through a 100 year sea change driven by technology over employment stability, the much lingering impact of a once in a lifetime pandemic and unusual political times that together create an edgy society. Knowing what your listeners are feeling and being able to meet them with companionship is more important than it has ever been in your career.
We know that the economy is more like two economies than just one. 2020 further expanded the difference between the economy that seems to be unhurt and the one that has been further devastated by the pandemic on top of technology shifts that are already creating significant downward pressure on a variety of types of employment. Great personalities have to invest in their value and focus on the things that will keep their brand and the brands they work on elevated in a complicated environment.
- Go back to school with your management and hyper focus on what is important to the audience of the brand or brands where you Understanding the audience your company most wants to attract is essential to your continuing success and you are unlikely to be able to learn your audience too well. Time spent understanding them and how they are impacted by the pandemic and the technology sea change is time well spent.
- Unless you work on a news talk station, you are most likely to be rewarded if you focus content on being an escape from all the things adults are wanting to avoid these days.
- Work to be a resource of how families can save, get ahead and avoid trouble.
- Be a voice that lifts listeners up and brings hope with you.
- Of course, avoid politics. Some people believe you can do no wrong by ‘representing,’ but in this environment you absolutely can get in a train wreck of trouble rapidly that is difficult to get out of. This is entertainment and we shouldn’t get to caught up in sending messages outside of our own mission to increase ratings and grow value for station owners.
- Make an extra effort to smile when you are on mic. Unless you are sharing deep emotion, you should be aware of elevating your positive energy on the air.
- If you haven’t selected a cause that you can personally get behind that matches at least a large part of the audience you are trying to attract, I highly recommend this to grow a tribe around you that is passionate and can propel you even further.
- Ask yourself, “What am I doing to build my personality brand beyond my time on the air?” If you don’t have an answer, start working on one. Being on the air today is a privilege and you shouldn’t take it for granted. It’s hard to build real fame and as an on-air talent, you need fame. Do something that is meaningful. For instance, don’t just do a podcast. Create a podcast that matters to people and serves a real purpose to add value for others. There are a lot of ways to contribute and use your platform. Find the way that works for you and check with your boss before you do it.
Things are changing. Things always change. But hear me: On-air personalities today must stay up-to-date with your audience. You should be focused on growing your in-market fame and adding value to your employer in ways that can be monetized. This starts with focusing on value. Spend some time thinking about the eight points above and see if you can’t grow your value, your family and your relevance in your local market.
The future is up to you. Don’t rest easy and don’t leave what you’ve learned behind. 2021 isn’t the magic answer to 2020. It’s the new year we have to build through hard work by being positive and applying ourselves to get ahead and help others.
Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio that propel ratings (and revenue) with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected]