11 New Year Resolutions Every Radio Personality Should Keep
by Tracy Johnson
For most of you, New Year resolutions feel like a forced, trite way to make a change. In fact, you may have already given up on the whole process. After all, if you really wanted to change, why wait around for January 1?
Sometimes we need a benchmark as a trigger point to get us to take action. It’s way too easy to push aside those adjustments and goals that are important, but not really time-sensitive.
To seriously make lasting changes, it’s important to create specific goals with a timeline. Doing it at the beginning of a new year is a natural time to refresh, adapt and make those changes that will lead to greater success in your future.
If you’re looking to set resolutions for next year, but are struggling for achievable ideas, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are resolutions that are worth considering:
New Year Resolutions: Preparation
Plan Your Show 2-3 Days In Advance
You know the current routine. The show is over, and we start prepping for tomorrow. That’s fine, but it’s short-sighted. Make it a priority to constantly prepare the show at least two days in advance, adjusting as needed in your daily planning sessions. This is detailed in the webinar on demand Turn Daily Life Into Daily Content.
Getting into this habit allows you to develop story arcs that carry over from day to day and provides a structure that helps you see the bigger picture, rather than getting caught in the weeds each day. It makes the prep process more productive and more fun.
It also helps you with our next resolution suggestion:
New Year Resolutions: Promote
Promote Tomorrow’s Show
If most of tomorrow’s show is already laid out in a schedule, you can easily promote the best content today! One of the most effective methods of teasing upcoming segments is promoting “tomorrow at this time“.
Why? Most of the audience tuned in at any given time is available to listen the next day at the same time. That’s an opportunity you should use with specific promos and teases to capitalize on the existing audience!
Knowing what’s happening tomorrow can also provide content for forward momentum at the end of your show, with quick hooks that build anticipation for the next day. And, it makes far better copy for your recorded morning show promo than the tired “If you missed today’s show, here’s what you missed” promo.
Brush up on all of your teasing skills here.
Identify Your Best Feature-And Get More Out Of It
The New Year is a great time to look back at your best-performing quarter hours. Dig into the ratings software and track performance over the entire year. Why do those quarter hours perform well? Which quarter hours drag you down? Why? If you have research available, use it to seek further insight!
The goal is to identify the content that causes the greatest listener response and become famous for it. Perhaps it’s one of your benchmarked features. Or an appointment tune-in moment for a contest or game. Or maybe you don’t have anything that stands out. This is the time to find your One Thing that can make you #1.
Then, figure out how you can squeeze more juice from it.Can you create a greater online presence for it? Should it be a podcast? Should there be bonus content available by download? Can you air the feature more often? How can you add a new twist to reinvent and freshen the concept?
Next, apply your findings on the air. Drop the features that don’t perform well and repeat your most popular one more often.
It’s also a good time to identify features that are “second tier” — the ones that are decently successful, but could be even more so if you optimized them. And, if you can’t find a way to improve them, it may be time to dump them entirely.
Want to become a better performer? You must stay fresh, motivated and just a little bit anxious. If you become bored your audience will soon be bored as well. And being boring is one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Radio Personalities. That means challenging yourself to constantly innovate. This will keep you from falling into ruts.
It doesn’t have to be anything major, but change things up each day. Introduce a segment with a different tactic. Change the production elements for a long-time feature. Get into a segment with a different technique for hooking your audience. Or just work on the techniques of executing content additives consistently.
You’ve probably heard that you have to win in the halls before you win on the air, and it’s true. Your co-workers can help make your show or hold it back. And it’s up to you to turn them into an asset that takes you higher.
The promotions director should be one of your closest allies. Make yourself available to help them do their job more effectively by volunteering to host events and appearances even if you’re not being paid. In the process, you’ll be amazed at how many paid opportunities come your way.
Make it your mission to meet more station advertisers and get to know them personally. The account executives will love you for it, because it makes their job easier, and you’ll probably increase your endorsement fees and live commercial opportunities.
This is the year to make a greater effort to be more immersed into the fabric of the station outside of your studio doors.
Start a Podcast
Podcasting is a growing mini-industry, but think about what it really is: Specific audio packaged for listening on demand. That’s it.
It’s easy to start a podcast, but difficult to promote it. You have the power to promote on the air! So start a podcast. Not sure what to do? Easy. Just do a podcast about your show. But make it a unique content experience.
But please, a podcast is more than just a recording of your entire show from this morning. That’s not a service to the listener. It’s an ordeal. Identify specific topics that interest you and build a community around it. Or create a podcast around one of your most popular features.
As your podcast builds an audience, you’ll find ways to recycle your online audience into appointment tune-in moments on the air.
Update Your Website Daily
The number of static radio websites is sad. Make a commitment that this is the year you’ll make your site come alive with living, breathing content.
Replace that tired bio of each personality with highlights from this morning’s show (make it shareable), previews for tomorrow and content that takes the audience into a deeper, interactive relationship with your brand.
There are many ways to do it. For a great example, check out The Bert Show site.
And use video! It’s easy and inexpensive to set up a high quality video studio. Videos are a great way for listeners to get to know you in new ways and extend your personality in new ways.
Updating your site is like working out: You’ve got to do it consistently to see great results. You can’t just update it once a month and expect to rack up the results.
The most successful people never stop learning. One of the best ways to keep up with trends in personality radio is to learn from those who are great at it. This can get the creative juices flowing, and help you become a more inspired personality.
Find shows you admire or have heard about and start a relationship. Listen to them regularly, borrowing (or stealing) the ideas and techniques that apply to your show.
The tough thing is, there’s so much content out there, you have to be discerning to find the really good stuff.
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How many times have you launched a bit, expecting the phones to light up and….crickets? Many times, a slight tweak or a different angle makes all the difference in the world. Now you can pre-test your content, for free!
With Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to run small tests — throw a topic out with a question or hook, and engage your audience to see how they respond. Then, introduce the same topic a couple of hours later with a different angle, a different hook.
You can also try your hooks on friends, family and co-workers. Pay attention to how they respond. Do they ignore you or engage in the conversation? Use that information when crafting your on-air content.
See how that performs. If it strikes an emotional chord on social media, it’s likely to resonate on the air too. By A/B testing content, you can launch that break with confidence, know which direction to steer it and have insight in how to promote it.
In marketing, advertisers track their ROI. How are their commercials growing their business? In radio, it’s a little trickier. Ratings may not be the best measure of progress.
On-air growth is one of the most notoriously difficult things to measure, but also the key to unlocking career growth. So why not make it your New Year’s resolution?
Set up a system to save a show every week. Don’t pick just the best show, or the worst. Make it random. Archive it, save it as an Mp3 and label it clearly. Then, at least once a quarter, listen to how you sounded three months ago. Or six months ago. Or a year ago. or two years ago. How have you grown? Are you reaching your goals? Have you progressed? What were you doing well then that isn’t as sharp now?
Archiving and reviewing content regularly is a great way to chronicle your history and help you see the forest for the trees. I’m constantly amazed at how far shows I work with grow when reaching into the past to compare. And that’s reason to celebrate!
Growth should be continuous, but the beginning of a new year is a great excuse to make new plans and establish goals. What are your New Year Resolutions?
Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.