How Will You Capture the Moment When It Matters?

How Will You Capture the Moment When It Matters?

by Tracy Johnson

The October, 2015 Republican Presidential debate generated an audience 7 times higher than four years earlier. This happened despite being programmed at the same time as Game 2 of the World Series featuring a team from New York. This political event shows how personalities can capture the moment.

It was more than a year before the 2016 election. What is going on here?

Donald Trump Captures The Moment

As Don Anthony pointed out in the newsletter The Mouth, it’s all about personality. Specifically, the entertainment value of the outrageously bold Donald Trump.

Mediaite’s Joe Concha writes:

Trump lifts all boats regardless of the party featured on stage.

In other words, it has little to do with the topic, and everything to do with the personality delivering it. Trump is a polarizing personality. He generates passionate support, and just as passionate (or more) criticism.

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Howard Stern Gets It

Does this sound familiar? It’s the Howard Stern effect.

There’s a scene in Private Parts featuring a research presentation. The dialogue:

Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes a day. The average Howard Stern fan listens for – are you ready for this? – an hour and twenty minutes.

PD: How could this be?

Researcher: Answer most commonly given: “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

PD: All right, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?

Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.

PD: But… if they hate him, why do they listen?

Researcher: Most common answer: “I want to see what he’ll say next.”


There’s a lesson in all this. And it goes beyond longing for the good old days when a dominant show generated longer TSL from the average listener.

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Colorfully authentic personalities that don’t hold back generate response. The world is noisy. It’s hard to cut through.

If you want to make an impact, take a stand. Anything else will land you of the Zone of Mediocrity.

Author: Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.

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