How an air-conditioning mechanic in Sydney Australia became an award winning broadcaster in Britain; Part 88.

06Jul14

Radio is an intimate medium. It works best when the listener regards you as a friend.

To be a successful broadcaster, you need to get big ratings. To do this you need people to want to spend time with you. The people we chose to spend the most time with are people we know and like. Sometimes we don’t know why we like them, we just enjoy their company. It’s all about the way they make us feel.

I’ve read a lot of great stuff that was written about this by the radio consultant, the late Jay Trachman. In his monthly publication, One2One, he used to say that when you’re on the radio you should imagine you’re talking to just one person and you should picture someone you already have a close relationship with, maybe a friend, a partner or a parent. He made it clear that this should be a real person, not an abstract or a composite who was supposed to represent someone in the “target demographic”, a real person that YOU know and who likes you. That’s because you’ll find yourself naturally using words, phrases and inflections that you use when you talk to them. The listener’s subconscious will pick up on this and they will believe that THEY must have a close relationship with you, they’ll bond with you and become a loyal listener.

It works, I know because I’ve witnessed it working many times over the years. My favourite example is from when I first moved back to England in 1997 to present the Breakfast Show on 2CRFM on the South Coast. My car arrived by ship but was at a depot that was over a hundred miles away. The number plates had to be removed for it to be allowed to leave Australia. With no number plates it wasn’t legal for me to drive it from the depot in Barking, Essex to where we lived in Bournemouth.

I didn’t know what to do so out of shear desperation, I appealed on the air. A local car dealer called up and said as long as one of their employees drove my car, I could use their “dealer” plates that they use when transporting unregistered vehicles.

Straight after the show, I went to the dealership and was introduced to a bloke called Ron. He was semi-retired and worked there washing cars and helping out. The dealer loaned us a car and Ron & I drove to Barking and back, a round trip of more than 300 miles. Along the way, we got to know each other. Ron had led a really interesting life and he was fascinated to hear about my adventures in Australia and New Zealand.

The next day during the Breakfast Show, I took a call off the air from Ron. He was asking about a competition we were running and wanted to know exactly how it worked.  I didn’t have much time to talk because the song I was playing was running out but I quickly managed to tell him it was great to hear from him and explained how to play the game.

It turned out that this ‘Ron’ on the phone was NOT the Ron I’d spent the day with, it was a different Ron. This Ron was a first time caller to the radio station, in fact it was the first time he’d ever called a radio station.

This Ron became a regular contributor, one of our best callers, always ready to share a story and join in on any conversation we were having on the air that day.

That very first time this Ron and I spoke on the phone, he picked up that I was talking to him as if we already knew each other. He decided we were friends even thought to this day, we have never met.

Craic on!

Listen to the latest Mack Nuggets here; 

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