You can't please them all

You can’t please them all. Here’s a way to stop trying

You can’t please them all. You’ve poured your heart into creating something. The response is pretty good but one negative comment has popped up and now it’s all you can focus on. You start to question your work, you ask “Why don’t they like it?” and completely ignore the positive reaction to what you have achieved. Sound familiar? It’s a common problem for content creators and something that I used to constantly struggle with. Trying to please everyone. That was until I heard the story of how tv viewers reacted to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969.

I’ve blogged before of my love for the James Altucher podcast. It’s a great show with a really solid mix of conversations ranging from marketing to meditation. One of his most recent guests was the author Ryan Holiday who was on publicising his wonderful new book Perennial Seller, a book on the art of making and marketing work that lasts. During the conversation Holiday revealed an absolute gem when it comes to creating something new and coming to terms with the fact that you will never, ever please everyone.

“When the moon landing happened,” Ryan told James, “It had 93% market share. That’s incredible. “But think about it. That means 7% of the audience turned on the TV, saw Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon and said, ‘oh, this is boring. I’m going to change the channel.”

Not everyone is going to like what you do. In fact there will always be someone who HATES what you do. Unfortunately it’s human nature to focus on the negative. You might get 50 kind social comments but it’s the one negative post that you will pour all your energy into.


No really, don’t.

Next time, pause, take a deep breath and remember that image of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. A man walking on the moon in 1969. Then think about the 7% who couldn’t have cared less.

Smile. Move on. You will never please everyone, even if you are walking on the moon.


Empathy. Who are you creating content for?

When you’re creating content one of the most important skills you can have is empathy.

Can you put yourself if the shoes of your listener, customer, consumer?

World renowned, Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer does for every project he works on. In a recent Rolling Stone interview he revealed who he writes for. Guess what? It’s not everyone.

“And I realized that,” he says with a pause. “I have a fictitious person I write for. And she’s called Doris, and she’s from Bradford and she wears a raincoat and she has two horrible little kids that are giving her nothing but grief. And you know, the man left her a while back. And she just, in the rain, everyday, trudges to work and she works hard. … And so if she puts her hard-earned money down, we better give her an experience. And we better put everything in just like she put everything in to get there. … When I finish writing a piece. Sometimes my music editor says to me, ‘What do you think? Do you think Doris will like this one?'”

So next time ask yourself who are you creating for? Who is your Doris?

How to interview a Rock ‘n’ Roll star, Howard Stern style

In my opinion Howard Stern is one of the world’s great interviewers.

In the clip below listen to his recent conversation with Liam Gallagher. Stern is fully prepped, puts his interviewee at ease and then hits his guest with an incredibly personal queston about his father. Gallagher opens up completely and it’s by no accident. Stern is a master of his craft.

This is how you interview a notoriously difficult Rock ‘n’ Roll star.

2fm Rising – New Irish Music

One of our new Irish music initiatives on 2fm is called ‘2fm Rising’. Each week we choose a number of tracks that receive daytime airplay and depending on listener reaction make it to our regular 2fm playlist. The quality this year so far has been nothing short of outstanding.

Here’s 5 of the current batch that we are really excited about.

Glory – Dermot Kennedy

Nobody Like U – Siights

Give it Up – Cities

Miss You in the Dark – Rews

All Or Nothing – Wild Youth

RTÉ2fm Music Highlights

Well what an unbelievable weekend of music content on RTÉ2fm! Friday saw arguably the world’s biggest music star Ed Sheeran co-present our drive show in a one hour special with Eoghan McDermott. On Sunday U2, in a world exclusive premiered their 2017 version of “Red Hill Mining Town” on the Dave Fanning show to commemorate The Joshua Tree’s 30th anniversary.

Bank Holiday Monday saw 2fm broadcast a new batch of music documentaries, one on Irish singer/songwriter Gavin James and another on “Cork Rocks”, looking back on the Cork music showcases of the 90’s. Finally 2fm as part of Cruinniú na Cásca, a Creative Ireland initiative presented by RTÉ broadcast live from Smithfield Square in Dublin with live performances from a whole host of new Irish acts including The Academic, Soulé, Aine Cahill & many more.

The excitement continues this week with 2fm Live – Jenny Greene & RTÉ Concert Orchestra performing this Friday night at Dublin’s 3 Arena!!

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.


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.