Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brainstorm Session

65° - mostly clear at 11:00am

Driving into downtown Lansing this morning, I was tuned to NPR's Morning Edition. On the air was Reporter David Greene with one installment of a series titled "Take Me To Your Leader"; interviewing andspeaking with leaders (who are not neccessarily politicians).

In this morning's installment, he spoke to a small town fire chief and the challenges of his job. Listen here.

It was great storytelling and terrific radio. What came to mind as I was listening was how a classic rock station could do something similar. And not with just "leaders", but with everyday listeners.

I feel there's lots of interesting stories you can share it about their job, hobbies and activities - including sports and volunteer work...even great concerts they've attended.

Of course the common denominator is that they listen to your radio station!

Thought for use: 60 to 90sec stopset fill for your internet feeds. Beats the crap out of Smokey Bear or another McGruff PSA. Make them available as podcasts/downloads on your website. Plug them on the air using the names of the listeners. Make your listener "stars". Everybody has their 15-minutes...why not with your station?

All a great way to bond and make them love you for life. The kind of word-of-mouth that no ad budget can buy. Some stations have been doing this visually on their websites (example above right and here) for some time now - and thats wonderful too. Perhaps these audio pieces could tie in with a like campaign.

Thought for production: Edit the bits well so they don't get too slow. Background music is likely appropriate; but watch licensing issues if you'll be podcasting.

Thought for recruitment: Don't make this a "sign up" feature on your website. Its not a contest.

Interviews could be part of a Listener Advisory Board meeting; or you could do what has been suggested on this blog before and have your airstaff call listeners in your database to thank them for listening; perhaps do a little informal perceptual research on their feelings about the station; and then probe them a little for what they do for work, their off-time hobbies and interests and the so forth.

With this "screening" process, you then can suggest that you'd like to talk further with either an invitation to the station or go out in the field with a recorder. Sometimes natural sound in the background can add lots. Bring some swag to show thanks.

You and your staff you could take this, refine, improve and take to the next level.

Radio needs more storytellers. Why not have some of those stories come from your listeners and make them part of the product? Think "ownership".

I'm reminded of something Dave Martin contributed to this blog a month of so ago. In a comment on this blog, Dave shared a "trade secret" he gives his TV clients:

"One of our best practices is called "Names make news." We are in the hunt for local folks doing things right,locals celebrating (new job, promotion on the job, anniversary, wedding, birth, achievements by their children), locals coming together for good (church bake sale to benefit a family, charity auctions)."

"When people get together they talk about PEOPLE. Our clients are never challenged on this because the competition thinks it's goofy. It is goofy only to those in the business."

This idea certainly similar in nature.

Just a little brainstorming this morning....have a great Wednesday.

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