Book Updates + Misc. Thoughts
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things in the book…I’ll enter the stuff I missed on this page, so check back often. I’ll also check in with completely new blogs and topics.
Do You WANT Half Your Audience to Hate You?
Didn’t Your Mom Teach You Not to Bring up Politics or Religion?
November 7th, 2020
(Editor’s note: It goes without saying that talk/political hosts are exempt from this article.)
I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time “shaking my head.” After scrolling through Facebook this afternoon, the day they called the 2020 presidential election, my neck is sore and I have a headache from my head going back and forth so much and so fast, in such a short period of time. #ShakingMyHead
Why do radio people think it’s a good idea to talk politics? Serious question. Why?
My soapbox rant will be brief. But consider these facts:
1. Number of people who’ve changed their political views because of a Facebook post = ZERO. You are not changing ANYONE’S mind, I assure you. I know that meme is “lit,” but trust me.
2. The country is literally split 50/50 on this last election. Is your clever “I got ’em!” post/meme/joke/insult/rant really worth having HALF of your audience dislike you?
3. Sadly, tolerance for others’ beliefs is at an all-time low. I can’t tell you how many posts I see basically saying, “If you’re on the ‘other’ side, unfriend me, delete me, I don’t want anything to do with you, etc.” I think that sucks, but it’s the world we live in. Knowing how polarizing politics are, why would you participate on social media?
4. You’ll never gain any new fans posting about politics. Not one! Literally no one will start listening to your show or decide to hire you because you posted something about politics. But the opposite absolutely is true: You will LOSE listeners and even job opportunities for spouting your political beliefs on Facebook…no matter what side you’re on, or how righteous you believe your points to be!
The Brand Bank
Think of everything you post on social media as either a “deposit” or a “withdrawal” from your “Brand Bank.”
I’ll use my own mistakes as an example…
I can recall, years back, I used to spend a lot of time on social media making fun of stupid things the masses would do. Whether it was dumb fashion trends or silly new slang, I would always goof on these things, all in fun…sort of a Dennis Leary or Bill Burr schtick. I was just trying to make people laugh, and they did.
Until one day, a good friend of mine told me, “Dude, you’re ‘Mr. Slow Jams.’ You’re supposed to be a lovable guy who plays sexy music and brings people together. You’re literally making fun of your own listeners – they are the ones doing all of the things you are making fun of. Also, you sound old and out of touch.”
Regardless of how clever I thought my ribs at people who wore Tom’s Shoes and did the Ice Bucket Challenge were, my friend was right. These were all brand “withdrawals.” I was, little by little, chipping away at the brand of “lovable Slow Jams guy.” I was not a stand-up comedian, shock jock or YouTube opinion blogger – if that were the case, all of these “poking fun” posts would’ve indeed been brand “deposits.” They would have all fortified by brand. But picking on people who follow Pop culture, no matter how great (or true) my jokes were, was simply not inline with my brand.
I’ve since changed my angle when it comes to posting on social media. Instead of being the “griper”–the old man yelling at clouds–I’ve purposely realigned and resigned my entire approach. Now, every time I’m about to post on social media, I ask myself: Will this post accentuate and help define my brand? Or does it go against what I’m doing on the radio every Sunday night? I’ve transitioned from making fun of Gen X’ers sloppy fashion trends and love of “mumble rap,” to things that make everyone feel good about the world. From highlighting my charitable efforts, to the beautiful photos of the people I meet on my world travels…from helpful life “hacks” and encouraging anecdotes…to awesome station promotions and Sunday Night Slow Jams “news” – I pretend that every post will be seen and judged by either a listener, current PD or potential new PD. It’s like they are my customer (or potential customer), and I’m an ad man designing the marketing messages they will see from me, about my product.
And this change of direction doesn’t make me “fake.” I am certainly not pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m simply focusing on the parts of my personality that match what I’m delivering over the air. I’m not on the radio on Sunday nights cracking jokes and goofing on the youngsters. That may be who I am when I’m hanging with friends at the bar, but that’s not my public persona – it’s not my on-air character.
It goes without saying, your political views are the very last thing you should be advertising, much less disclosing at all on social media. C’mon, you’re Chad B., the fun-loving afternoon guy on 107.3 The Beagle! You’re the nice young man playing the best variety with fewer commercials and hosting 2:20 Trivia on Schmeedle Falls’ Number Hit Music Station! People love you! Now why in the world would you want to make 50% of your audience now think you’re an asshole? Because that’s exactly what you do when you post about politics. What don’t you understand about America being split? Why not bring up abortion while you’re at it. Even if you do play the wise-ass on The Flim-Flam 104 Morning Zoo, leave the politics out!
Here’s a great litmus test. It’s what I do often. Ask yourself: “Would John Ivey or Tom Poleman post this?”
And finally, don’t think because your political rants are only on your “personal” page (as opposed to your “fan” page) that you’re in the clear. Word gets around. People talk. Listeners may find their way over to your page. Someone may grab a screen shot. In my case, it’s as much about industry peers than it is about fans. I’m connected with 200 affiliate PDs via Facebook. They all have differing opinions, and while some may see eye-to-eye with my political views, I’d bet there are some that would want nothing to do with me if they knew who I voted (or didn’t vote) for. And it’s not like a one-on-one conversation, where you can explain and defend your viewpoints. All someone has to see is you type, “I like Theodore Throckmorton for City Council,” and all of a sudden you’re a “bad guy.” It’s sad, but it’s what we’ve become. It’s the world we live in. Play the game, or the game will end up playing you.
Are we Facebook friends? Have you ever seen me post anything about politics at all? Ever? My hope is that (unless you are in my very close circle) you actually have zero idea on where I stand politically. I’ll admit, I get fired up about things, too. For me, it’s less about my desire to create a political post, and more about wanting to check someone when I see them post something so ridiculously asinine and ignorant – which I’ve seen a lot lately. Truth be told, these last few days have been really difficult, even for me, to keep my mouth shut on social media. There have been a few times I actually responded to a post, only to just completely close the app before I hit “submit.” I’m not changing anyone’s mind and sadly, reason and logic are rarely used these days. Someone could post the political equivalent that “five plus five equal 20,” and if I were to dare disagree, suddenly I’m just the worst person ever to someone who used to think I was “on their side.” Who needs that? I’ll stick to playing Slow Jams.
My advice may fall on deaf ears. You may feel that your page is fully locked down and hidden from listeners. Or you simply might not care. It’s certainly your prerogative, freedom of speech, and all that. But I implore you to remember that you are in a business. YOU are a business. Are you making a deposit or withdrawal? Don’t let your emotions, ego and desire to rant keep affect your pocketbook.
Credits: Jimmy Steal of Hubbard Broadcasting – Chicago for teaching me the brand “deposit/withdrawal” philosophy. One of many!
Book Update 1: Save ALL Contracts
September 1st, 2020
I’m super excited to submit my very first “Book Update,” a.k.a. “stuff I forgot to include in the book.” And here’s a good one – it’s all about affiliate contracts:
Well duh, seems simple, right? But as the years go on, it’s easy for contracts to get lost. Here’s a real-life example and something that happened to me just this week!
I needed to find two contracts: one contract, because an affiliate was asking for a copy of their deal (that’s usually never good)…and a second contract because I needed to see some pertinent details from another affiliate who was violating the deal. The problem was, neither contract was anywhere to be found.
The obvious question: Doesn’t your syndicator keep copies of all contracts? Well yes, of course. The problem is, I’ve had three or four different syndicators since both of the aforementioned deals were signed. It’s all too common for paperwork to get lost over the years: whether you’re switching networks, dealing with staff changes, and of course those inevitable computer crashes – I implore you, as the host/producer, to also keep your own copies of every contract! Ask your syndicator to send you copies of every deal, and keep them in a safe place – on a drive/computer and physically, on paper! Trust me on this – it’s so easy to do and can save a lot of potential headaches.
Book Update 2: Crucial Contacts Addition – Sticker Mule
September 13th, 2020
In the back of my book are pages and pages of contacts, included recommended vendors. Today I am really excited to share with you a company that makes awesome stickers and other promotional items: Sticker Mule. First, this is absolutely not a paid endorsement, I just recently found these guys and I love them, and here’s why:
1. Quality stickers (vinyl, not paper) + labels, magnets, buttons and more!
2. The ordering process is so simple and fool-proof.
3. Good prices (cheaper the more you order).
4. Quick turnaround, proofs and delivery.
5. They often have CRAZY sales and will email you promos with deals that are almost free.
6. The whole company, website, infrastructure and vibe is just fun. They even send you hot sauce with your order!
Check out Sticker Mule HERE.
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