Attention! It’s all about attention

A recent piece from Fast Company highlighted the work of US public radio station WNYC and how they are finding innovative ways to push the medium forward. It’s a great read.

For me though it reinforced the challenge facing radio, with one word jumping off the page.

“ATTENTION”

As audience behaviour changes and becomes more fragmented, you as a broadcaster are now in the attention game, not the radio game. Listeners don’t have time for you unless you bring some value to their lives. You’re background noise.

According to Dean Cappello, WNYC’s executive vice president and chief content officer “You have to fight every moment of the day for somebody’s attention,” Cappello said. “And if you’re not doing that, they’re going to move on to something else.”

He’s right. If you don’t stand out, grab attention and be memorable, it’s over. Forget your closest FM competitor. That doesn’t matter anymore.  You’re up against Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, You Tube, World of Warcraft & thousands of other outlets fighting for attention.

The positives? In a world of distraction you can be the curator that pulls the best from all the noise. You can be the broadcaster or podcaster that illicit those ‘Me too’ moments that really strengthen that bond between you and the listener. Look at Snapchats biggest stars, they are playing the oldest radio tricks in the book. Storytelling, entertainment and authenticity on a one to one basis. They are grabbing a big % of that attention through building a traditional relationship with the viewer.

So when preparing for your next show, think ‘Attention’. Forget the long rambling links, add some structure and get to the point. Spend that extra hour working on your prep, finding those features that will make you famous for doing. Call a random listener after your show and ask them what they thought, build those relationships. Go deep with your data, use your analytics, what streams worked best, what podcasts got the most downloads, what tested well, you’ll see pretty quickly what’s working and what’s not. How responsive are you? Can you put unique spin on a breaking story? Put aside a day for planning for your next quarter, spending those hours ripping your show apart, amplifying the really great bits and coming up with the ideas that will get you your slice of the attention. I assure you that if you do even a quarter of those things, your show will be instantly better for it.

Now, have I got your attention?

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ. 

Photo: Attention! by msmornington

For a radio duo who know how to grab attention, read my recent post on Hamish & Andy

 

Episode 15 ‘The Outerview’ – Rick O’Shea

“The Outerview” is a podcast on the art of media interviewing. Each episode I look to explore what it takes to conduct the perfect interview from dissecting classic interviews to discussing techniques with some of the worlds leading broadcasters, podcasters and journalists. This week my guest is Rick O’Shea.

Rick has been a radio presenter with RTÉ since 2001His 2fm weekend show has twice won Bronze PPI Radio Awards. He’s also the presenter of The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1.

He regularly introduces movie premières and has conducted public interviews at the Dublin International Film Festival for the last few years with the likes of Richard Dreyfus, Danny DeVito, Michael Madsen and Harry Shearer.

He also hosted author interviews in recent times with guests as diverse as playwright Simon Stephens, authors Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer and Chris Cleave, journalist  Johann Hari at Dublin’s International Literature Festival and Graham Norton at Listowel Writers Week.

To listen back to past episodes, you can find our archive here

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.

 

A free content creation masterclass from Hamish & Andy

If you’re a broadcaster or a producer, actually if you’re any type of content creator the 47 minute talk below is essential viewing. It’s a masterclass in content creation and broadcasting from Australian duo Hamish & Andy recorded by Commercial Radio Australia, the national industry body representing Australia’s commercial radio broadcasters.

Hamish & Andy are an Australian comedy duo formed in 2003 by Hamish Blake and Andy Lee. They currently host the radio program ‘Hamish and Andy for The Drive Home’ which airs in Australia nationally on the Hit Network. Masters of grabbing attention and creating a unique connection between them and their listeners, the duo mix traditional radio techniques with sometimes off the walls ideas. When it comes to content creation nothing is impossible.

Grab your favourite beverage of choice, a notebook and take an hour out today to watch this. It’s that good.

2 key takeaways for me. I love their thoughts on being authentic.

“Really the number one critical thing that we always try and make sure we hit and are in check with is that level of authenticity. If, this is just yesterday, sure it’s not the greatest example of all time. I have a chicken suit built that I was very passionate about, but I really wanted that first moment when Andy saw it to be authentic because he … That’s the real reaction. What we’re trying to give, what we try and do in our show in every afternoon is to try and hit that level of authenticity so we’re all enjoying the same moment as the listeners at the same time”

Hamish adds.

“I think, again that the trap to just make sure that nothing goes wrong with it you can fall into is over preparing something and then having to fake or reenact a genuine reaction when it comes around to 4:00 in the afternoon. Trying to keep that authenticity and that realness as a present really that you’re giving the other guy on the show because they’re the funnest moments. When something happens for real, we take that really seriously. I know when I get kicked out of the meeting for half an hour it’s a good thing because I’ll be given some sort of present that afternoon. There can usually be a highly embarrassing situation, but that’s the fun. We know that when 4:00pm happens, we’re not just trying to recreate something funny that happened in the meeting. We’ve saved the fireworks for the afternoon”

According to Andy when it comes to being prepared you have to have balance.

“It’s about finding that magic balance between prep and leaving enough spontaneity in the show. For us, we’ve found there’s sort of 2 ends of the spectrum, over-prepared and not prepared at all. Not prepared at all is also …”

Hamish “Dangerous.”

“Just sailing the ship. It’s about going, and so for our show, and this is different for every show, but for our show, as Sammy would know, you know every mic break, we’ll just have one word or one line of what we want to do in that slot. For us, that works, about 1 sentence to describe 5 minutes of content seems to be about the right ratio for us, but it took a fair bit of trial and error to figure that out”

One of the most inspiring teams in the radio world, I can’t wait to hear what they create in 2017.

Episode 14 ‘The Outerview’ – Lynn Barber

“The Outerview” is a podcast on the art of media interviewing. Each episode I look to explore what it takes to conduct the perfect interview from dissecting classic interviews to discussing techniques with some of the worlds leading broadcasters, podcasters and journalists. This week my guest is Lynn Barber.

Lynn Barber is widely regarded as one of Britain’s best celebrity interviewers. Her interviews have won five British Press Awards and a ‘What the Papers Say’ award. A memoir of Barber’s career as a celebrity interviewer, A Curious Career, was published in May 2014. She has written for Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer. She now writes for the Sunday Times.

An Education, a 2009 coming-of-age drama film is based on the memoir of her life. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards in 2010, including Best Picture.

Show notes: During our conversation we discussed her interview with Jimmy Savile.

To listen back to past episodes, you can find our archive here

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.

Episode 13 ‘The Outerview’ – Craig Bruce

“The Outerview” is a podcast on the art of media interviewing. Each episode I look to explore what it takes to conduct the perfect interview from dissecting classic interviews to discussing techniques with some of the worlds leading broadcasters, podcasters and journalists. This week my guest is Craig Bruce.

Craig is the former ‘Head of Content’ at Southern Cross Austereo in Australia. His true passion has always been the development and mentoring of young talent. He now works as a talent coach and radio consultant. His podcast ‘Game Changers‘ features intimate conversations with the men and women who have known success and failure in their radio careers. The podcast is the end result of an idea formed after working for more than 20 years in Australian radio. You can hear the latest series here

To listen back to past episodes, you can find our archive here

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.

A creative lesson from my wonderful 2 year old daughter

Finding it hard to be creative? Stuck in a rut?

Yesterday I spent the afternoon blowing bubbles with my daughter. It still is one of the simplest ways of keeping my little one amused, she loves it. After much running around my daughter reached for the bottle of soapy water and proceeded to put tiny pebbles from the driveway into it. I immediately scolded her, “Serena, please don’t put pebbles in the water, you’re not meant to put stones in there”. Her face dropped and instantly I regretted telling her off. It was in that moment that I asked myself “Who was I to say whether it was right or wrong to put pebbles in the bottle?”. So I called her back and let her work away. She stayed putting pebbles in the bottle for almost 20 minutes straight, shaking the bottle furiously and laughing away. To her it made complete sense. To her it was the most natural thing in the world.

It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a 2 year old. At that age nothing is right or wrong. You experiment and it’s in those moments you discover new fun possibilities. When we get older you worry about what people think, you fear it mightn’t work out, you sometimes get stuck in tried and trusted ways. You stop being creative.

Today why not drive to work a different route? Why not read the news from a different website than your usual source. Why not have chocolate for breakfast? The list of things you could do differently are endless, you just have to let yourself go and have some fun. These different experiences often end up helping to reignite your creative fire.

So today why not put some pebbles in a bottle. As Serena will tell you, it’s great fun.

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.