What's It Going To Take...?

General Radio News and Comments, Satellite & Internet Radio and LPFM

Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:41 am

Doggie Poop – Part II

For continuity, I am including a slightly re-worked copy of the dog grooming spot provided in my most recent. The script provides a demonstration of using the sensory modalities in order to; more powerfully and influentially communicate a set of concepts and, to provide a more emotionally compelling spot for the benefit of the advertiser.

(Music up and Anncr,)
"Once there was a dog. This brindle-brown, terrier-sized mutt was sporting tightly matted fur and a worn and crumpled patch over one eye. While bouncing up and down on overgrown paw nails clicking on the pavement in an infectious and cheerful manner, he was happily barking an invitation for a petting,”

“However, the following couldn’t be avoided: This pooch was also sporting a 4-inch, steaming, yellow turd dangling from its butt. It was like another appendage – only this one would burn in, making my eyes water and traumatize and collapse my nostrils. The wretched stench was strong enough to pass through Kevlar.”

“In those moments, were I to foolishly take a bite of my burger, I would put me off meat for, like, forever. Doggie, meanwhile, seemed to want to lick my hand, but I knew where that tongue had been and I wasn’t getting anywhere near that.”

“Fortunately, the application of a few of Dr. Brown’s Pet Medicines and Fine Grooming Products would turn this hound from hell into a harmless and affectionate little critter-companion. Dr. Brown’s Transformational Pet Medicines and Fine Grooming Products are available at pet stores everywhere. Works great for cats, too. Camels – not so much.”
(Music out)

So. That guides a listener/reader to generate a very specific scenario and leads them to the transformative aspects of the products. The key is in that the spot introduces the sensory modalities – some in specific detail. The reader/listener is compelled to engage in generating internal, sensory responses, if for no other reason than to make sense and to understand what is being read/said.

The spot includes:
• Visuals – multiple images of the dog.
• Kinesthetics – the feelings of touching or avoiding touching the pooch.
• Different Kinesthetics – the emotions developed during a listen to the spot.
• Auditory – the dog barking and nails clicking.
• Olfactory (smelling) – getting a whiff of the dangling steamer.
• Gustatory (taste) – the idea of having a bite of a burger while everything else is going on. (Really sorry about that.)

Woven into the script were a few descriptions and commentaries, as well. Plus, the joining of two of the elements (taste and smell) as simultaneously-occurring elements was also introduced. That might have been a cruel, nasty and probably unwelcome piece of trickery, but it was there, so I applied it. Granted, I took some liberties with the non-PC components, but the gist of the spot was still well established. By all means, however, keep those critically abusive cards and letters coming. (Cheques are also welcome. Interac transfers are more convenient.)

I am satisfied that most readers would agree how an approach of this kind would be far more effective than featuring an oh-so-boring list of features and benefits. Not only would this be of value to a listener because of its entertainment and engagement value, it would be of a greater benefit to the advertiser by generating emotional connections with and about the products. Plus, an emotional connection can overrule many price points.

Of course, contemporary radio has made the production of such a spot a practical impossibility. I am unconvinced that radio’s owners and managers are even willing to concede the benefits of arranging for emotional tie-ins between listeners, products and services. Certainly, what makes this even a greater difficulty has been the systematic suppression and, in many cases, the complete elimination of those talented folks that would line up to participate in such productions.

Meanwhile, “these difficult times” will only serve as a convenient, and still painful but dwindling dodge to avoid taking on the responsibility and yes, the need for radio to unleash a portion of its full potential. To participate as a rejuvenated and powerful entertainment, informational and advertising medium has to, indeed, be taken on as radio’s new mandate.

I have considered the alternatives – maintaining the status quo and/or giving up altogether. Both are untenable and unacceptable.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:46 pm

The Diablo’s In The Details
In my most recent, I brought attention to a visual of a small, brindle-brown, short-haired terrier with a patch over one eye and a dangling hunk of poop hanging from its butt. Given such a charming visual, those relevant details, are still, in the mind of each individual listener or reader – relative and very much - subjective. The visual will be slightly or grossly different from others who are guided to generate a similar experience.

Now, for an even more exciting development. By that I mean that other, different distinctions can be made about those individual visual representations. Some of these distinctions are so powerful they can even support and maintain delusions and the long-term emotional impact of phobias and traumas. That, I realize, is no small claim, so let’s delve into some of those distinctions, most of which are maintained at levels just below consciousness.

Interviewing a person who is afraid of sharks will reveal a great deal about how, specifically, they represent sharks in their minds. This investigation will not only demonstrate their fear, but the level or intensity of their fear, as well.

A person could be indifferent to sharks; they might be somewhat leery of sharks; they could genuinely be afraid of sharks and they could be absolutely terrified of sharks, some to a point of being hard-wired to being gut-wrenching phobic of sharks – to such a degree as to lose their self control when presented even with the very idea of a shark. Phobias, after all, are overwhelming responses to questionable stimuli.

When quizzed about their discomfort with sharks, an individual might construct an internal, visual representation, perhaps of an aquarium featuring 3-5 foot long nurse sharks where the viewer’s position is on the other side of the glass. The image may also be a still – like a photograph. The fear they generate would be, essentially negligible. At the other end of the scale is the person that, in their mind’s eye, would be in the sea with dorsal fins cruising around them. Directly in front of them, a 16-foot Great White is only mere inches away with its vacant black eyes staring at them. Its jaws are agape and its razor sharp, serrated teeth are poised to viciously slash the swimmer into pieces of sushi. This image is also likely to be in motion – an ongoing video event. It’s fairly safe to say the person making the up-close-and-personal images will suffer the most.

The difference, then, is in the construct of the sub-modalities – the distinctions an individual makes in the generation of their internal, mental images.

If we, as communicators, would become aware of the distinctions people are making – all the time – we could better influence those distinctions and become more influential in the process. We have all the tools we require to do just that, even as we work in a purely auditory medium. We have words. We have music. We have sfx. We have tonality, emphasis and tempo along with all the other nuances of the spoken language.

It is important to realize that every one of these aspects of communicating on the radio do, indeed, influence how people are constructing their internal representations of what is being said and how it is being delivered. Consequently, it will also have an impact on their behaviours – subtly or otherwise overtly.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that banal, maudlin and minimalist on-air communications generate equally fatuous responses from our listeners. There is nothing particularly appealing about generic information and price/item/benefit/feature advertising in spots, either. Under such circumstances, listeners’ minds remain, generally, unengaged - practically, flat-lined. The listener's neuro-synaptic responses would be quite dull, to be sure.

One of the keys to effective broadcast communication is in the capacity of the communicator to influence a listener’s sub-modalities. Working without that knowledge and those practiced skills leaves a presenter or writer very much in the lame duck position. There appears to be no pressing need for this task to be undertaken either, as everyone’s peers are in the same, exact situation – firing blanks. At least, this way, there are fewer injuries to report. Or, so it seems.

By taking a little more care and spending a little more time in constructing our communications, we can magnificently enhance the experience of our listeners and further, influence those listeners in more productive ways – for ourselves and for the benefit of our advertisers.

Indeed, the devil is in the details – especially when it comes to sinister, evil and callously indifferent monster sharks or, for that matter, innocuous guppies in a fish bowl.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).

Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:57 pm

Yearning To Learn

(Music and fireplace sfx up)
(Anncr)
Miriam’s Hearth and Patio reminds us: There is something especially satisfying about being close to a crackling fireplace. The hearth or the campfire has been stirring the imaginations of humans for untold millennia. So long as there was a fire, there was a sense of comfort, certainty and continuity. Shadows from the flickering flames are constantly in motion while the smoke scoots up a chimney or meanders into the sky – sometimes tickling our nostrils.

Gathering around a community fire often triggers memories of other times during our lives when a fireplace marked so many special occasions. Voices from the past can return in those moments, triggering further memories that can lead us to times of comforting reverie. Sometimes the recollections are not particularly pleasant, but they, too, become part of a continuing chain that can take us back through times that make up parts of our lives – our experiences – and are uniquely our own. There might be memories of long sticks and marshmallows, as well.

The fireplace experience is available now, with units to match any budget, at Miriam’s Hearth and Patio. Here then, is an invitation to drop by to enjoy the fireplace experience from a multiple of varied applications of the traditional and modern hearths.”
(Music up and out)

The point of the preceding copy is to emphasize the value of sensory language predicates. Sights, sounds, feelings, tastes and aromas have all been included. These are provided because those make up the primary functions of our understanding, appreciating and describing the environments in which we find ourselves.

In terms of audience appeal, straight content/price/item advertising takes a chair at the very back of the room. And yet, that’s the almost exclusive approach we are applying and on which we rely to make our livings.

It really is a shame as our medium (radio) is so unlimited in the practices we can utilize through the use of only words, music and sfx. Production costs can be kept to a minimum and time spent in the creative process can be significantly reduced – compared to other media.

Only two elements stop us from exploiting our own resources.
1. A willingness to accept that such an approach would benefit all concerned – audiences, advertisers and the stations. And,
2. A yearning to learn the applications of sensory-language basics.

There is nothing about the (supplied) script that is particularly unique, unfamiliar or weird in any way. Every reader understood the structure of the language and the subjective meanings that were implied.

But, the fact remains: Most presenters and radio writers forego the niceties of sensory language because doing so infringes, through time constraints, on the delivery of pure content.

The delivery of pure content, particularly through a medium that generates more emotional appeal than print or the print equivalents online, is a waste of potential effectiveness than are either practical or cost-effective in other media.

The neurological impact of radio, I remind, is primarily of an emotional appeal rather than one of intellectual properties. As an aside: How else could Rush Limbaugh be so compelling was it not for the emotion-generating properties of radio. His intellectual appeal, after all, is nebulous.

Still, it takes a yearning for learning before these advantages of radio can be exploited. The results of taking on such knowledge and applying the skills of the more proper use of the language can be quite significant.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
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pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:45 am

Less To Do – Fewer To Do It

With every passing week, it seems that some station or other is gassing another presenter and eliminating any potential for meaningful communications to take place. The owners and management slobber through the standard-issue litany of excuses and justifications while claiming the high road of fiscal responsibilities.

What is spectacularly ironic is they keep shooting the talent in the hooves while still expecting to deliver their horses to the starting gates. That they bring their nags to the track in veterinary ambulances doesn’t seem to register.

Back in the day when “talkin’ dirty an’ playin’ the hits” was, not only in vogue, but standard operating procedure, I never thought the times would come when radio would become an anemic shadow of its former self. What is more significant is that ownership trots out a position of righteous indignation when their moves are questioned or challenged.

When I throw out “talkin’ dirty an’ playin’ the hits”, I do so with the understanding that readers will appreciate that as no more than a euphemism or a loose paraphrasing for: more talent on the air, more often and for longer periods of time.

Working this particular methodology was a natural as breathing. Presenters were required to have a modicum of talent in order to respond to the essential mandate to be “on” most of the time. Anybody who was found to be mailing in their shows would be shown the door – in due course.

To be fair, not every presenter was a killer talent, but they were working harder and more often than most of today’s on-air folk. We were chained to our boards and getting out to go for a whiz required a bout of serious pre-planning. Compare that to today where talent can step out of the control room for day surgery without being missed.

But, this is about more than long-gone traditions that have little reference or value to contemporary radio. This is about the essential elements required by modern radio audiences. Those being: The communicative values of modern radio.

Elders and wise ones have always warned about the downsides of wiggling around when one is up to the shoulders in quicksand. Since radio is in quicksand, it would behoove it to stop wiggling. And so it does. It is also tossing off so-called dead weight in the hope of keeping its head above the goo. However, unless somebody tosses them a rope, these folks are going down, and will disappear below the muck. Search parties will be told to stand down.

Meanwhile, as the sophistication of every other electronic media increases, radio insists on dumbing down – and it shows. Banal presenters are on-the-air less frequently and providing less than appealing content while platoons of banal and equally uninteresting commercials are foisted on the rubes – our audiences.

Advertisers may or may not be starting to catch on that their investments are being treated with scorn while the least possible efforts to engage and attract customers on their behalf are being casually applied.

Some stations are flipping formats as if that would generate increases in listenership and advertising income. If they can’t execute the format they had, what, I wonder, convinces them that they will fare any better with the all-new version of The Greatest Hits Of All Time. The real-time result of such a poorly executed machination is: They flip – they flop. And everybody is confused and shocked.

If ownership and management can keep their wits about them long enough, they might realize that the spoken word – its construction and delivery – make up the only option available to an industry that is flailing around in quicksand of it own making.

Dynamic improvements in the generation of language are, practically, the rope mentioned earlier. Instead, they treat it like an Anaconda slithering up to make of them a quick and easy meal. It’s no snake. It’s a rope, fer cryin’ out loud. Might want to grab it and hold on for dear life.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:44 am

Radio: Where Innovators Dare Not Tread

Nary a week goes by where one station owner or other jumps on the bandwagon of paltry performances. This is accomplished by:
• Syndicating another daypart and putting more local talent on the street.
• Voice-tracking another daypart with more unengaged talents that, literally, are mailing it in.
• Continuing to jeopardize the fortunes of advertisers by foisting even more banal copy and stereotypically over-produced spots on the people who actually pay the bills.
• The continuous phusterclucking of spotus interminablus that challenges the patience of listeners while befuddling the advertisers is still being applied.
• Watering down the music playlists to the degree where regular tuners-in become frustrated by the extraordinary limitation in music selection.
• The dumbing down of what live presenters remain with required station promos and house cleaning formatics while ignoring the satisfaction of potentially more interested audience members leaves much to be desired. And most importantly,
• The reluctance and/or refusal to take into account the linguistic principles that would aid presenters and writers in better influencing listeners is a demonstration that the industry has ground to a screeching halt.

Now, there’s nothing new about these plaintiff wails. In fact, they have been ongoing and rising in volume for a couple of decades. Of course, to no avail. It is truly an untenable situation – one that only an innovator can address.

This leaves radio wallowing in an environment that is anathema to parties that think of themselves as any kind of innovators. Station owners and managers treat those like-minded individuals as worthy of no less than excommunication – with a severe, public thrashing just prior to the official ceremony.

To be sure, I would like to give those in authority the benefit of some doubt. But our collective experiences clearly demonstrate that these folks deserve no such thing. To the contrary, they need to be called out, criticized, denounced and run out of town on a rail – right after the necessary tarring, feathering and photo-op.

The latest American election has already demonstrated that if almost half of the population can vote for Trump, then almost half of the population can be presumed to be credulous, gullible, uniformed and are also certified members of the Cloth Head Clan. These are the modern day rubes of the society.

Their hierarchy of values, ethics and beliefs are so misaligned and so completely distorted as to render them, not only of any practical use to the society, but, more importantly, a danger to the society.

Are radio stations on a per capita basis being run by individuals who are any better positioned to respond to the needs of audiences and advertisers?
The callous conclusion is a resounding: Not a freakin’ chance.

Owners and managers, having been hiding out in their offices, failing to even make inquiries into what some innovators are suggesting are only aware of a dull din beyond their walls. And, so far, it is a strategy that seems to be working.

But, a stronger wind is about to blow. This is inevitable. There are no ways around it. Like other herds, radio stations are only closing themselves off into such small groups that picking them off at will becomes child’s play.

They have no alternatives but to cower and hope the bad spirits will pass and that will be able to retain their Mojo. If they maintain a low enough profile, some might be able to sneak through. But, they are so incredibly without a defense, and they have no offense on the table or in the planning process. This hardly bodes well for a robust future.

Meanwhile, innovators are to be reviled. They are toxic troublemakers, uncooperative and strange individuals that are unwilling to go along with the program. And they have smelly breath. Just ask anyone who, at some time, might have got into a momentary but still close proximity to them. Indeed, be assured: Innovators are – unclean.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:09 pm

Wonderful Radio: Doing “Good Works”

When a station has little else about which to boast, beat its chest and otherwise crow about, it will always cop to the default position: Brag about the good works it is doing. Now, while the Widows and Orphan’s Fund does benefit, it is on the backs of listeners that, possibly, already gave at the office.

Radio has never run into a promo with which it hasn’t been willing to drench an audience with overwhelming coverage and hype. Even when they attempt to hide the not-so-hidden agenda, they go into a mode where a scorched earth policy is put into the shade. If there is even a rumour of a hole in the format where another promo can be launched, they will stuff that hole with another bleating reminder of the value of coughing up for the poor widows and orphans.

But make no mistake - the whole premise is based on one mandate: “This is us digging ourselves and you should, too. Ain’t we just the mostest kind and honourable? We are so dreamy, we are dripping with spectacular goodness in each, rich and creamy mouthful.” (That’s a bit of copy genius from the mind of writer extraordinaire, Mike Brennan.)

I will allow that most listeners will be tolerating the onslaught of self aggrandizement without having triggering their innate gag reflexes, but I would also venture to suggest some of them get real close.

To be fair, radio did not invent this process. Religious denominations of all stripes have the method down to a disturbing science. Whenever the basic premises or, more importantly, the dogma of the sect gets challenged and when their explanations and alibis don’t pass the smell test, they will drag out the ever handy and effervescent good works Mantra.

Be assured: When religions pull this hat out of their magic rabbits, the faithful will have their fuzzy functions engaged and they will wander off in a somewhat confused state, but almost completely assuaged. I am reminded of the kiddie’s TV host who, after a particularly innocuous bit of business, was unaware his microphone was still open and said, “That oughta hold the little bastards.”

Meanwhile, back to the original premise: I prefer to avoid being tagged as a grinchly Ebenezer-type character. I mean, by all means put me down as one who is in favour of sweetness and light. Hell, I’m still diggin’ bells, beads, black lights, doves, peace, love and guilt-free but slightly naughty sex – so long as nobody gets caught.

And so it is, as well, with stations putting on their “good works” hats and trotting out their reaches to accomplish something of value to their communities. Bravos and waytobe’s are in order.

It’s the incessant overkill and the maudlin approaches that get in my craw, and, I suspect, in the craws of otherwise tolerant listeners. I have, indeed, always been a combination of suspicious and credulous, but still surprised about the tolerance of listeners – at least those that don’t just chuck the whole experience.

And another thing: There has to be irony lurking around here somewhere.
The productions themselves are often shining examples of the writer and producer combinations that clearly demonstrate the potential of radio’s capacity to have tremendous emotional impact. It’s amazing what a little time, effort and imagination can accomplish.

Part of the stations’ mandate really does have to be about reducing listeners’ ears and their psyches to smoking cinders. This is another station default position. They can’t help themselves. After decades of unworthy and toxic presentations, except for the promos, the stations revert back to the standard issue, “With two convenient locations to serve you better and for all your dining needs, eat at Joe’s. Visit us online at http://www.eatatjoes.ca.”

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:34 pm

Radio’s Unrepentant Ebenezers

While the rambling and inconsequential “live & local” discussion continues, station owners and managers are reluctant to pay the premises any more than a mumbled lip service. They look at the relative costs of both syndication and voice tracking. Comparing those to the costs of “live & local” presenters and the discussion immediately falls flat on its butt.

But the costs of the re-introduction of more live talent has another, more important factor that curtails the application of such talent: The quality of the available talent that is being thrown on the air is very much in question. The truly skilled folks have been tossed out on their ears a long time ago and those that still remain have had their input and influence relegated to the basement. They have become anemic shadows of their former selves.

To be sure, I further suspect that owners and managers do have, at least, an intuitive appreciation of the “live & local” concept. When they look about, however, they find some alien forms of vegetables having already or are eager to hit the air and start cracking microphones. Throwing an old turnip or a well-intentioned rutabaga into the control room would only have disastrous consequences – another intuitive, widely-held notion.

From my perch as an authoritarian, authoritative linguistic authority and self-acclaimed authoritative expert on these matters, I cringe and shiver while freezing in the dark while my ears are being wracked by the most innocuous and banal communications ever foisted on an otherwise unsuspecting radio audience.

Regular readers and would-be trolls already have an appreciation that my premises are based on the adage: We gotta talk a lot more better. That is, if we are to participate and compete with all the other electronic media.

I propose that those audiences are undernourished and emaciated by radio and are otherwise famished - hungry for enticing communications. The rise in the popularity of podcasts and audio books should serve quite nicely as prime examples of the concept that audiences really do crave something of substance from their audio resources.

Meanwhile, for me to have any impact or influence at all, a number of ducks will have to be lined up, within extremely close proximity and static or, certainly, moving fairly slowly for me to have any chance at getting even a fleeting crack at them.

The fact is, I am far more likely to be called to glory before station ownership owns up to the necessity of hiring more on-air talents and copywriters, and then – appreciating these folks must be trained in both the basics and the nuances of communicating more effectively to a broadcast audience.

I mean, what are my chances? My chances are slim and my prognosis is grim. Besides, I would expect to be paid, as well. This factor, alone, would be a hindrance to my being engaged. Besides, we all know the proclivity of the well-worn line being trotted out: “We could get a monkey to do that. Why would we pay for that?” This position is not being bandied about in an attempt to be cute or clever. These guys are serious.They mean it.

We have got to face it: Every automotive mechanic operating out of every service shop in every market is better educated and trained than anybody burbling nonsense on the radio. We have no business in calling what we do a “profession”. At best, being on the air is a justification to avoid going out and endeavouring to find a real job.

As it is, the Radio West forum is regularly noting the demise of ever more talent as they get the boots put to their careers, are soundly thrashed personally and unceremoniously heaved into the street with a memo pinned to their shirts that wishes them “all the best in their future endeavours”.

Are the owners more or less likely to have their epiphanies and, like Ebenezer, enjoy the “aha” moment and change their wicked ways. Well, no, they are not. They will, instead, write it off to ingesting an underdone potato. Everybody else gets a watery bowl of gruel.

The ghosts of Christmas past and Christmas present have already had their visitation with radio’s Ebenezers – and to no avail. They are not yet moved. Whether the ghost of Christmas future shows up at all is very much in doubt.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:38 pm

Radio’s Warm Pool

From an unknown source deep in the forest, the stream meandered down to the road, through a culvert, past the large sand dunes and out to the shore of Lake Huron at Sauble Beach.

Before joining the lake, it was slowed down by a slight rise in the shoreline. There, it backed up to the degree where a small pool about 20’ x 20’ was formed and the overflow of the pond breached the shoreline, flowing back into the lake.

The pond was only about 10 inches deep and, being enterprising kids and amateur civil engineers, we determined that, to make the pond deeper – a dam of sorts would be just the ticket. So, we started beach combing and given there were half a dozen of us, we amassed a fairly substantial stash of rocks, branches, a busted up bike, some pop cases and a torn up no-longer-inflatable plastic beach mattress.

Some kid came by with a couple of seagull corpses. These were summarily discarded, but he did come up with a couple of ratty old and soggy blankets. We considered our available supplies and decided we had ourselves a job-site - and a noble project.

We worked well into the evening and before quitting with sunlight still streaming low on the horizon of the lake, we declared our enterprise a success. Meanwhile, as soon as we had constructed the main portion of the dam, the water started backing up, spread out a few more yards and slowly began increasing in depth.

The whole purpose of the project was to create a Warm Pool that was deep enough that we could immerse ourselves completely. While the lake could be quite cool on most days, the warm pool was akin to a bathtub temperature as it was heated by the sun and retained its temperature. This was our home-built spa – and it was spectacular. We didn’t mind that every kid that lay down in the pool also had a sweet and gloriously comfortable pee that wasn’t about to empty into the lake anytime soon. It never occurred to us that, during a day, over a hundred kids dropped in and marked their territory.

Radio, meanwhile, has gone out of its way to construct a warm pool of its own. The relative comfort of the environment has taken its mind off where the real action is – in the lake. Deeper waters are to be found there along with more exciting and refreshing activities. It’s also where the grownups frolic.

Radio, it seems, is quite content to participate in warm, shallow, pee-filled waters without acknowledging the ultimate pollution and sewer-like properties the warm pool is gradually, but definitely taking on.

This situation, while somewhat comforting, is transitory at best. Radio is, by comparison, operating in a relatively closed environment that will not allow for flushing or cleansing. Whatever nutrients are introduced are stopped, and drop to the muddy bottom.

Remember, the warm pool is strictly for lounging – in already warm wizz. No vigorous activities are taking place in the warm pool. Those goings on are strictly for the lake.

As a result, radio has lost the bodily functions that support swimming, diving, exercising and general cavorting about. Plus, radio has become jealous of the warm pool – not welcoming strangers to enter. Passers by and other observers have already taken note that the pool is behaving more like a sewer than a spa. It has outlived its best before date and has become a petri dish for any number of unidentified cooties.

It is well past time to rip up the dam and allow radio’s waters to, once again, mingle with the bigger body and to get on with its mandates – those of better serving both audiences and advertisers.

The thing is: If we are to experience an even remotely prosperous future, we are going to have to get out of our familiar and comfortable surroundings – the shallow warm pool - and get back into the lake. Once again, we need to start playing with the big kids. Unfortunately, since it’s been so long since we’ve been taking part in the activities, a spate of remedial swimming lessons is also in order.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:39 am

Electronic Media’s Innate And Extraordinary Power

Fed and bled by electronic media. The world is being split into many divisive factions. Almost all of this influence can be traced back to the insidious or sincere use of electronic media platforms to manipulate the minds of consumers.

Consumers are being obscenely exploited and treated like so many fish-in-the-barrel, particularly when it comes to the machinations of organizations that have a series of social and political agenda. Some of these groups are participating on an unknowing premise while others are operating with sinister, chosen designs.

With the exception of radio’s participation through so-called conservative talk radio presenters; our medium has been ostensibly left in the dust of the more sophisticated and seditious players.

To wit: “Donald Trump was the best president this country has ever had.” And, “The Democrats stole the election.”

Now, reasonable people would take note and suggest that these extraordinary claims require equally extraordinary evidence. Yet, the more extreme purveyors of electronic media feel no compunction to supply such evidence. This is because no such verifiable evidence exists, and they find themselves getting all tangled up when trying to participate in the exercise. Besides, evidence is hardly required for those who are already besotted by the contentions.

The greatest majority of these premises are being delivered through electronic media, and it is that fact alone wherein lies the rub. This is a ubiquitous phenomenon and besides, it’s everywhere. The promulgation and acceptance of false information and counter-productive content can be explained by the neurological impact of all electronic media – and this includes, to a lesser degree, the influence of radio.

As has been offered in this space on a number of occasions, electronic media, by-passes a consumer’s capacity for rational, critical thinking and, instead, triggers those components of our minds that engage, primarily, in emotional responses. I mean, how easy has it been for practitioners availing themselves of electronic media to crank up an extraordinary number of the population and drive them into froth-spitting frenzies – ready to be exploited and manipulated?

This basic premise added to exceptionally sophisticated linguistic techniques and methodologies has cleared a path for even greater influences perpetrated on the unsuspecting masses. Learned purveyors of the advertising and marketing arts and sciences have, for years, been secretly applying these magnificent techniques.

There is no dancing around this. The ability to manipulate the beliefs and values of those of us that make up the unwashed cadre knows few bounds. Essentially, all we have are the good intentions of those participants whose beliefs and values are such that a somewhat reasonable and verifiable discourse can be taking place. My guess is that this is an even split.

Again, with the exception of conservative talk shows – the basis of which are primarily emotional and fraught with lies and pre-determined, but still bogus positions, radio has not been participating in any of the linguistic techniques that have been available to other, more strident practitioners.

Advertisers still using radio are still, pretty much, stuck with the age-old examples of “For all your dining needs, eat at Joes.” And yet, to the degree that it still works, it still works! And that is a direct attachment to the premise that radio, like the other electronic media, still has that emotional influence.

Radio is still made up of the rubes of broadcasting. But, what the hell, we still manage to cling to the residual benefits of being part of the electronic media. We are The Fortunate.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:56 pm

Inept and Indifferent

Frivolous nattering. That’s what I am hearing from too many radio presenters, especially when they are live & local. Their managers have locked them into time constraints and content restraints – always pursuing the holy grail of “light, tight and bright.”

Should an announcer wander outside of these parameters, more than their knuckles will be getting wrapped. Chances are they will be lashed to the yardarm, flogged mercilessly and ultimately thrown over the side as a gift to the sharks. No evidence remains intact.

Owners and managers are running on fears of their own, including the debilitating fear of pissing off some or other listener and having that assured, eventual phenomenon develop into a cascade - a roiling avalanche of rejection.

Meanwhile, bosses continue to parrot the old adage about “good or bad press – it still gets us coverage.” This is a foolish admonition, particularly since something else altogether is occurring. That would be the growing indifference being generated by much of the audience.

Radio has gone so far out of its way to avoid challenging the listener base at any level, intellectually, emotionally or communicatively. Indifference would, indeed, become the default position.

Now, I have come to understand that I am asking for more than a greater eloquence from presenters. I am asking that presenters be trained in the more nuanced applications of communicative techniques and strategies that have been out here for decades. I also appreciate that I ask too much.

Be that as it may, some high-fallutin’ ad agencies have been applying these same techniques to their projects - and for decades. The have also, wisely, kept these methodologies very close to their vests as they represent tremendous advantages over their competition and for their advertising clients.

The techniques I have been promoting are beyond clandestine. They are guerilla tactics that are having such extraordinary impacts on audiences as to be considered by some as blatant manipulation. But maybe not so blatant after all. These techniques apply, almost exclusively, to the unconscious mind processing of listeners and viewers. As such, they are applied outside of consciousness where they have their greatest influence.

It could be argued that these techniques are subversive because of their impact outside of awareness. But consumers have already provided tacit permissions to the purveyors of these manipulations just by allowing themselves to be exposed to the messaging. It’s a weak position, but there it is. Nobody’s squawking, either.

Indifference is not purely an audience-produced product. Indifference is being practiced within the industry as well – and spectacularly so. Programmers spend more time and effort in adjusting the manacles on their talent than they ever do in providing training for their presenters to become superior communicators.

I fear such an undertaking on radio’s part is not in the cards or in the stars. Although there may be withering, niggly fears amongst the management as a result of them having no alternatives to overcome audience indifference, the default position is at least familiar if not comforting. It certainly, however, is not rewarding.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments to be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:13 pm

Smash The Pinata – And Win

Banging around in a darkened room and slapping the walls, feeling for any opening. Similar to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, this would still be a children’s party-game. Meanwhile, radio is engaged in another, more difficult game – the one where a blindfolded participant is spun around, given a stick and invited to bash in the dangling, just out of reach pinata. There will be valuable prizes for the lucky few

Radio has also been mistreating its staffs, its audiences and its advertisers with cruelty and with callousness. These behaviours, I suspect, are more a result of ignorance rather than pure malice. I could be mistaken.

Pundits in the Excited States are falling all over themselves while in rapt and severe discussions about transforming and splitting music formats. This, they project, is a road to expanding ratings and revenues. This would be method to crush the illusive pinata. It never has been and doesn’t seem to be now no more than a mug’s game. If one station starts to make headway with subtle shifts in a format, it doesn’t take more than rushed meeting over pizza and beers for another station to catch on and make reciprocating moves. Net – zero.

Now, if a station were to undertake a serious study and transformations of its methods or models of communication, the skies would open up. Given the numbers of basic premises and the multiples of nuances involved in making these changes, the competition would be well and truly left in the lurch.

Making such changes would entail a re-learning and skill-practicing form of training for all on-air and writing staff and would be near impossible for any competition to replicate – even though the evidence would all be there – right on the radio.

When I was first learning and applying the techniques and methodologies on the air (66-CFR) none of the staff and certainly no one in management ever questioned what I was doing. I was stunned, but relieved, as well. Although I had, for a number of years, been clandestinely applying the techniques in my copywriting efforts, I had a suspicion that management in particular, were I to reveal what I was up to, would start freaking out as their feelings of necessary control were slipping away. With but one exception, these guys were the poster-kids for control freaks. So, I kept my yap shut. It was the right thing to do.

The owners paraded themselves as “broadcasters”, but they were none of that. Instead, they were businessmen who owned radio stations. Come to think of it, all these years later, that is a fairly apt description for almost all of radio’s ownership today. They have little background and no interest in the arts and sciences of broadcast communications.

That all radio stations are failing in the same and sundry ways might come as a bit of a shock to a disinterested observer. But it’s hard to find a disinterested observer and get them to be interested. So, little chance of that being in the cards.

With that, radio staggers around with more suppressed on-air talent, less engaging commercials, more vacuous voice tracking and more out-of-market syndication. Nobody in the Great Unwashed (the audience) is supposed to notice – consciously or unconsciously. But no. Radio seems to be content in the frame where it blindfolds itself, gets spun around almost to the point of puking, and goes hard charging, swinging for the pinata. There might be valuable prizes.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments to be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby Just sayin' » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:49 pm

Ron, listening to local Vancouver radio, I'm struck by the obvious: very few presenters appear to have a formal education. Throw in a mediocre-at-best broadcast education, you end up with what you write about in your columns.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:58 am

Please note: Re-posted so as to avoid disruption in the flow.

Smash The Pinata – And Win

Banging around in a darkened room and slapping the walls, feeling for any opening. Similar to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, this would still be a children’s party-game. Meanwhile, radio is engaged in another, more difficult game – the one where a blindfolded participant is spun around, given a stick and invited to bash in the dangling, just out of reach pinata. There will be valuable prizes for the lucky few

Radio has also been mistreating its staffs, its audiences and its advertisers with cruelty and with callousness. These behaviours, I suspect, are more a result of ignorance rather than pure malice. I could be mistaken.

Pundits in the Excited States are falling all over themselves while in rapt and severe discussions about transforming and splitting music formats. This, they project, is a road to expanding ratings and revenues. This would be method to crush the illusive pinata. It never has been and doesn’t seem to be now no more than a mug’s game. If one station starts to make headway with subtle shifts in a format, it doesn’t take more than rushed meeting over pizza and beers for another station to catch on and make reciprocating moves. Net – zero.

Now, if a station were to undertake a serious study and transformations of its methods or models of communication, the skies would open up. Given the numbers of basic premises and the multiples of nuances involved in making these changes, the competition would be well and truly left in the lurch.

Making such changes would entail a re-learning and skill-practicing form of training for all on-air and writing staff and would be near impossible for any competition to replicate – even though the evidence would all be there – right on the radio.

When I was first learning and applying the techniques and methodologies on the air (66-CFR) none of the staff and certainly no one in management ever questioned what I was doing. I was stunned, but relieved, as well. Although I had, for a number of years, been clandestinely applying the techniques in my copywriting efforts, I had a suspicion that management in particular, were I to reveal what I was up to, would start freaking out as their feelings of necessary control were slipping away. With but one exception, these guys were the poster-kids for control freaks. So, I kept my yap shut. It was the right thing to do.

The owners paraded themselves as “broadcasters”, but they were none of that. Instead, they were businessmen who owned radio stations. Come to think of it, all these years later, that is a fairly apt description for almost all of radio’s ownership today. They have little background and no interest in the arts and sciences of broadcast communications.

That all radio stations are failing in the same and sundry ways might come as a bit of a shock to a disinterested observer. But it’s hard to find a disinterested observer and get them to be interested. So, little chance of that being in the cards.

With that, radio staggers around with more suppressed on-air talent, less engaging commercials, more vacuous voice tracking and more out-of-market syndication. Nobody in the Great Unwashed (the audience) is supposed to notice – consciously or unconsciously. But no. Radio seems to be content in the frame where it blindfolds itself, gets spun around almost to the point of puking, and goes hard charging, swinging for the pinata. There might be valuable prizes.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments to be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
Advanced Member
 
Posts: 1586
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 12:22 pm

Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:39 am

Relating To The Listener’s World

One of America’s better-known radio pundits decided to get on a high horse to remind presenters of the errors of their ways and also provided admonitions of what to do better. A litany of the more mundane pronouncements was trotted out. These included:

• Constant reinforcements of the Calls/Brand, especially for diarized markets. (Ya think?)
• Failure to sell the unique benefits of the station. (This assumes everybody on the air already knows what the benefits are and communicates them often.)
• Teasing without an incentive to listen. (Given the presenter has no idea what is motivating this or that listener, providing any incentive will not be necessarily relatable. Listeners are not fish in a barrel.)
• Narcissism – a warning that the show not be the ME show, but the YOU show. Content about one’s self should be relatable to the listener. (Unless the listeners are from another planet or speak a different language, any story shared by a presenter will be relatable – if not directly, then vicariously.)
• Knowing your target. The pundit requires that presenters know who the station is targeting. (Good luck with that one. Every station’s audience is diverse enough as to render the exercise of finding out what each one is experiencing as no more than an anemic exercise in frustration. The most a presenter can hope for is that the majority of their listeners have a pulse and a paycheque.)
• Live in the listeners world. (Which listener, at what time and how are we to determine that information?)
• Be prepared. (Again, ya think?)
• Forgetting we are in the business of Entertainment. (Given the suppression of the talent and the lack of airtime provided to “entertain”, it could be argued quite stridently that most of radio pulled away from that aspect of the business some time ago.)

Of all those edicts, the ones that rankle me the most are those that presume a presenter can, not only know who is listening, but has access to their ongoing, current experiences and their thoughts, as well.

As on-air talent operating in ”live”, real time, we have no clue whether a listener is a mom baking cookies, leaving for a board meeting or waiting for her dealer to drop by. Nor would we know that some guy is taking his kitty to the vets to be euthanized. We are supposed to be able to relate to that?

Meanwhile, I shouldn’t be expecting the pundit to be offering anything new as all that’s available are re-runs and re-treads of the same ol’ same ol’.

The idea that a whole new (to radio) body of work for generating much more powerful and effective on-air communications has been available for decades has had no impact on the owners, managers, or pundits. Their heads have been inserted in that most famous of orifices for just as long.

It seems to be a natural and somewhat comfortable fit. That somebody would pop out and consider the environment might just be too much of a stretch. All that are readily available are the tired, worn out platitudes.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments to be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Tue Mar 23, 2021 7:12 am

Make It So
A pundit of ill-repute, Mike McVay, the former (in)famous grand poobah of Cumulus in the States was waxing phonetic the other day. He was slathering on about radio’s need to generate FOMO in its audiences. Bringing on and introducing the Fear Of Missing Out in those audiences, according to Mike, is accomplished by providing loads of ginger-peachy content for the listeners.

Not only is this not a revelation, there is a strange irony included in his missive. This is the guy whose hands are still bloody from the outright slaughter of content and the wacking of (allegedly) talented presenters during his tenure at Cumulus.

Whatever talent wasn’t being jettisoned on a regular basis and being replaced by voice-tracking bots were otherwise being strangled by Draconian programming rules. That plus the closing of windows-of-opportunity to actually perform this whizzy, newly-manifested content was all taking place during his watch at the company.

Nevertheless, Mike prattles on about the need to produce more unique content and materials that are “specifically interesting to your audience”. This pronouncement continues to be the chicken bone that is liable to get stuck in my craw at any time, and facilitate an emergency 911 call. How that call could be placed might prove interesting:

(911 operator) 911. What is the nature of your emergency?
(Me) Accckkk!
(911 operator) Could you be more specific?
(Me) Gacck! Wheeze. Gaacckk!
(911 operator) Unless you can tell me what is wrong, I can’t direct your call.
(Me) Accckkk!
(911 operator) Please hold.

This assumption that anybody can determine what is interesting to any radio audience takes on the cloak of, if not a prayer request, then an extremely dangerous and murky form of voodoo. What part of what audience is included in these mysterious proclamations? Can this information be poofed into existence? Does it cover the psychographics and demographics of the station in general?

After a determination of some very generalized targets in a station’s audience, the concept of providing materials that are “specifically interesting to (your) audience” is a mug’s game – doomed to a very unsatisfying set of results. To be successful at this requires that the programmer be blessed with the capacity to read minds – lots of minds. Let’s just kill that idea before it takes root and mutates into something even more viral and dangerous. Nobody in radio has that skill. The really good mind readers are already ensconced in – no place else but Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Mike encourages talent to work with “the hottest story of the day”. Well, okay. “Hot” according to whom? The talent? The audience members” The programmer? Does this hot story travel through all dayparts? What about taking this tack qualifies as “unique and interesting materials”?

Plus, there is the assumption - or hope - that providing this exemplary content will produce a FOMO experience in the audience, Sorry. Preparing pablum results in the skills to whip up pancake batter. Audiences, I suggest, are far more adept at getting all their FOMO needs met by sources other than commercial radio.

I get it. Producing multiple experiences of FOMO would be a boon to any talent or station. But, c’mon, man. What are the chances? Plus, what could be more terrifying to a talent than receiving the memo demanding that FOMO materials be produced right now? A Jean Luc Picardian “Make it so” is hardly going to cut it.

I fear Mike is working in an alternate reality that does not scue with the generalized reality that exists for most radio environments today.

Please note: I am inviting reader comments to be sent to my email address (below).
Ronald T. Robinson
info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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