Years ago people laughed when they said “music will only be heard on the FM dial.”  Look what happened.  We, as the radio industry, are our own worst enemy.  You can’t fool the listener.  You can’t TELL the listener what they want.  So why not ASK the listener what they want.  I did that recently on my facebook page.  If interested the comment line is HERE

Morning radio USED to be the way people would start their day.  What happened?  Some stations cut back on talent and added more music.  Some stations got greedy and loaded up on commercials.   Technology has made it possible for the listeners to super serve themselves.  Most everyone has a smart phone.  That means they have access to Pandora and their own iPod.   If the aforementioned can provide the best music without commercial interruption MORE music is not the answer for morning radio.  More music in the morning will only accelerate the demise of that station.

The good news is there is a way to SAVE radio. Content will save radio.  Content cannot be duplicated.  Content is what the listener wants.  It HAS to be good content.  It HAS to be compelling content otherwise it’s just boring talk and the result will be the same;  “people shutting off the radio.”  I truly believe that in five years FM radio will be mostly content.  When I turn on the radio I’ve always want one of three things:  to laugh, to learn something or to be engaged in the conversation.  What listener is going to sit through five minutes of commercials to hear a Lady GaGa song they already have on their iPod.  Ask me to wait five minutes and I’ll learn how to drop ten pounds without exercising and I’ll excuse the commercials.  Getting people to LISTEN to the radio is not that difficult.   We better start listening to the listener or there won’t be any listeners left!

My black lab is twelve years old.  I’ve spent just about every day with him since the end of January as I look for my next morning radio job.  This has allowed me to observe him and I’ve realised he is much smarter than I thought.  Based on my observations I can share with you these three life lessons:

1)  PICK YOUR PRIORITIES:  My dog really only cares about the following  a)  eating, b) going outside and c) who the hell is at the door?.  I used to run to answer the phone and my dog looked at me like I was an idiot.  I pay for voice mail.  He has a good point.

2)  IF YOU ARE LOOKING AHEAD YOU WILL MISS WHAT IS IN FRONT OF YOU:  We all need to slow down.  I worry about tomorrow.  I plan for next month.  I never have taken the time to stop and look around.  If my dog did this he would miss all the Doritos crumbs I drop on the floor.

3)  SOMETIMES YA JUST GOTTA EAT SH@T!:  I caught him doing this the other day.  I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t like it one bit.  I don’t think anyone does but it’s just part of life.  He handles it a lot better than most of us do.  He just comes in the house, gets a drink of water, then looks for a bone to get that taste out of his mouth.  Instead of all of us complaining about the taste we need to DO something to refresh our breath.  Once again…..brilliant.

So what do ya say we ALL let the phone ring, relax and brush our teeth.  It will make for a much better day!

I really miss being on the radio but it has been an invaluable learning experience for me.  I have had the opportunity to listen to a LOT of morning radio across the country.  Some good but most of it wasn’t good at all.  As someone who has “listened” to a ton of radio recently I’d like to point out three things that make me bail on a morning show (commercials are a given but a good tease will get ya through the break as long as it’s not a six-minute stop set).

1)  LAUGHING WHEN IT’S NOT FUNNY:  I love to laugh but some of these shows seem like  there’s a gas leak in the studio.  Imagine being out with your friends and laughing at EVERYTHING they say:  Friend:  “I think I’ll have the eggplant”  YOU:  AHHHHHH…you said eggplant.  It doesn’t have a shell so how can it be an egg?AHHHHHHHHHHH!”  Awkward.  Not real.

2)  NOT ENGAGING ME:  Entertain or inform me.  If you are talking to just hear yourself talk you are wasting the listener’s time.  I can get that without commercial interruption at the DMV.  Let’s take a simple topic like traffic tickets.  If you got one on the way to work I don’t care.  If you got OUT of one I’m a bit interested HOW that happened.  If you got out of it by telling the cop you are a producer for gay porn and you think his mustache is a turn on, I’m engaged AND entertained.  “I’ll tell ya why I’m walking funny, next!” is the tease into the break.

3)  DOES IT INVOLVE THE “BIG THREE:”  There are three categories that will grab someone’s interest:  a)  their home, b)  their heart and c)  their bank account.  If you start talking about any of these three,  people will show some interest.  Get them involved, make them laugh and/or  learn something then they will STAY interested.

Those are my three.  What makes YOU shut off morning radio?  In the meantime I’ll be on a busy street corner making a banana split in my pants hoping to get some TV coverage.