Get the Most From Your Best
by Tracy Johnson
One of the basic pillars of performance is relating to an audience on their terms. It’s a sort of audio handshake to add warmth and depth to every break. I call it ize-ing content.
The four Ize-s are: Personal-ize, Local-ize, Energ-ize and Commercial-ize. They;re explained in more detail here. But I’m going to show you how it works in the real world by explaining how it applies to the goal of every radio personality.
Personalities that are friendly, warm and involved in the listener’s world become friends. But you can’t become friends unless you add personality to every break. Otherwise, you’re just a voice on the radio.
Ize-ing content is simple, but it takes a commitment to do it well and deliver it consistently. And, alarmingly, this seems to be a declining art. Air talent sounds increasingly robotic, detached and as a whole seems to be losing the warmth that goes beyond content, topics or material.
Perhaps it’s a by-product of our obsession with the PPM-centric programming philosophy of eliminating all “useless” talk, keeping it tight and trying to win more occasions of listening. The actual words may not be needed, so they’re eliminated.
Or perhaps we’ve inadvertently raised a generation of air talent that doesn’t understand the importance of being authentic, natural, relatable talent.
Sean Ross described the condition as personalities who “talk a lot but have nothing to say.”
Maybe the problem is that personalities really are disconnected from the audience because they’re voice-tracking multiple stations in other cities they know nothing about. And since they can deliver content quickly and easily, they do, without preparation or thought into how the break can be special.
What’s missing is content additives, relatable comments, phrases, mentions and observations that let them know we are real, live, living and breathing human beings getting through life the same way they are.
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