Let’s Stop Putting Listeners To Sleep


(By Loyd Ford) My mentor often makes a great point. People don’t hate change. They hate being told to change or being told what innovation is. Curiosity and innovation play major roles in moving people to action. In fact, those two things drive high passions for most people. This includes a passion hardwired in almost all of us for discovery. You don’t believe me? How many people complained when we went from phone booths on every corner to smartphones in everyone’s hands? Approximately zero?

Your Career Is Going Nowhere?
How many people have tried and failed at talk shows since the 1980s? A bunch. And then there is Ellen DeGeneres. You’ve probably never been at the crossroads she was with her career before her daytime talk show. She decided to be herself and that caused some people to think her career was over (even she questioned that at some point). However, she got an opportunity to do a daytime TV show and brought her A-game of fun, escape and innovation to a platform where everyone thought they had seen everything new.

Ellen challenged this by developing new ways to look at doing a talk show on TV. She understood visuals, emotion, authenticity, positivity and use of humor. And she even reinvented TV game shows in the process.

How did Ellen do all of this? By being herself and allowing creativity to innovate.

All careers have highs and lows. It’s what you do that counts. How you react. Not what others think. Not the noise you hear about ‘the business.’

It’s so hard to get people’s attention today. They have a lot of choices and people are inventing new choices every day.

I want you to consider how competitive ‘daytime talk show host’ is. Consider how competitive the world of celebrity is. Consider how much impression management everyone does on social media and even in person today. You see largely people in the way they want you to see them. There’s so much that goes into the world other than authenticity. There’s so much negativity. That’s why this article is appearing right now for you.

Here you are in the radio business. There’s pressure. Fewer people doing more jobs. No one knows the future, but that doesn’t stop people from speculating about the negative things that could happen. The future seems challenging, doesn’t it?

Do you think that Ellen DeGeneres knew the future when she got an opportunity to do daytime TV? Of course not.

What If You Focused On The Positive + Being Yourself?
In an atmosphere where things are ‘playing darker,’ the positive person gets the green light more often. We can’t control everything in life. However, we can control how we react to things and how we manage our careers.

  • People crave authenticity now more than at any time on record
  • People like to smile and laugh
  • People respond to positive energy
  • The path forward in a competitive environment isn’t ‘business as usual’ – it’s innovation

Learn how to bring your authentic self to your work life. Don’t forget to smile and laugh and make others do the same. Put your positive energy in how you address people and how you engage everywhere where you work and everyone you come in contact with. Become known for kindness.

A Few Pieces Of Advice If You Want Them

  • When people stop petting you on the head, move along and look for someone who will (I stole this from my dog, but it works better than human thinking)
  • Don’t wish for a specific job – work to discover the right job for you with an organization who will appreciate your efforts
  • Don’t allow negative people to drag you down – just because someone says something negative about you doesn’t mean it’s true
  • If you find yourself in a job search, stay active and non-judgmental (people are busy – work on standing out for positive reasons)

People Look For Something New – When Is The Last Time Your Radio Station Gave Listeners That?

Finally, a message for everyone in the business of radio. The path forward isn’t and cannot be ‘business as usual.’ We must innovate. We must look for unique solutions to current problems. In short, we must ‘Ellen’ the radio business to reinstate the expectation of what makes local radio special. Think you can’t do it? Of course you can. People don’t hate change. They go right for it when it’s right.

Seek opportunities where you are allowed to be yourself. Manage your career (your company isn’t interested in that job). Look for ways to stand out as a powerful and positive resource to help grow value. I promise your boss needs help.

This is the radio of the future and the top-flight radio pro will advance if he or she refuses to stop, always learns, stays positive and brings energy to anything they do with passion. Always reinventing, always bringing what is real and vulnerable with them and always focused on the positive energy people respond to in any generation.

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. If you’re on the Clubhouse app, you can join Loyd’s radio pro encouragement group “The Encouragers.” Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].


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