Who You Gonna Call? Cliché Busters


(By Buzz Knight) The definition of a cliché is something that has become overly familiar or commonplace. It’s easy to get complacent and comfortable in your work, especially if ratings are good and corporate is happy. Why mess with things?

I’ve worked with great radio minds such as Lee Abrams, Fred Jacobs, Steve Goldstein, Rick Scott, and Phil Dowse who have all been major proponents of cliche busting, but I feel Lee might have been the first to proclaim this on one of his many pleas to his clients and the industry to get creative and stop recycling old ideas.

But cliché busting seems more in need than ever in most forms of media – including radio.

Think of cliché busting as the art of asking theoretical questions about existing practices with the thought of making them fresh, engaging and better. Freshening can lead to street talk, which can lead to viral and better results.

Some areas of cliché busting to consider:

  • Why does your voice over person for your station need to growl at you with an angry tone? (This is especially for Rock stations and “breaking news.”)
  • Why does a website have to be an excessive dumping ground of useless information with little in it for the end user?
  • Get your team together and do a deep dive into everything that might be part of your brand that might be somewhat of a cliché.
  • Benchmarks are incredibly valuable but when do they become a cliché?

A new coat of paint on something can go a long way towards brand improvement.

Cliché busting can extend even further to many areas of your operation. How about your proposal process for clients, vendors, or partners?

I remember when one of the biggest managers in the music business was soliciting proposals for ticket giveaways for one of his biggest acts and he told me how it infuriated him that 95% of the proposals were cut and paste jobs without any new and creative thoughts. All he was was pure laziness.

Take a step back from your busy schedule and look closely at any opportunities for cliché busting. I think you’ll be pleased with the results, as long as you take a thoughtful approach.

Buzz Knight can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]. Read Buzz’ Radio Ink archives here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here