What They Hear Is All That Matters

What They Hear Is All That Matters

by Tracy Johnson

What we think we are communicating, and what is actually communicated, are two different things. That’s true in real life exchanges, and when radio personalities interact with listeners. When we assume the audience gets our messages, we miss an opportunity to communicate. What they hear is all that matters.

We assume they are paying close attention, that our breaks are important to them, and that they’re active listeners, greatly valuing every single thing we say.

They’re not. What we have to say doesn’t really matter. Not to them. What matters to them is only what is relevant and relatable in their world.

Check out this cartoon, substituting the word “dogs” for “listeners”

What We Say To Dogs - What They Hear




What We Say To Dogs - What They Hear


What We Say vs. What They Hear

How the audience hears us has little to do with how many times you repeat yourself. It has nothing to do with being excited or playing an uptempo music bed behind you. And it has nothing to do with length of the break.

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Believe it or not, they’re not hanging on every word to hear that big concert announcement at 7:30 this morning, or staying in their car to find out how to be the 100th caller to win tickets. It doesn’t matter what your key song of the day is, or that you have details on that new restaurant you discovered over the weekend.

It has everything to do with how you make it personal. How you can connect it to the listener’s interest. How it relates to their world. Right now. Today.


There’s really only one agenda. And it’s theirs. We must find a way to be in synch with it. That’s the art of personality radio. It’s tricky. It’s nuanced. And it’s what we do. We can help you find your voice and make it important for your audience in their world.

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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