Reaching out your helping hand

I have been training all walks of life for around 17 years now, the same amount of time I have been a broadcaster working in the radio industry.  For the better part of 8 years I have been training and developing young talent that are on the rise in the industry, but also been a lecturer in Radio Broadcasting teaching tertiary studies of the craft to students who want to pursue the dream of being involved in one of the most exciting mediums in the world.

If you are in the fortunate position of building someone’s knowledge and passion for being on air, you will realise that it is quite something to have to reboot yourself in many ways to understand the process they are going through to overcome hurdles that all broadcasters must take on in becoming a professional.  It is difficult.  What seems to be commonplace and of a second nature to you after years and years of trusting your gut instinct in making radio magic, is really something you must be able to relay to a blank slate, and realise that you are imparting tools, techniques, mistakes, experiences and, well, talent to this blank slate.

So, you can’t just teach radio.  I did in the beginning.  I taught the mechanics, I taught the formatics, I taught the do’s, then I taught the don’ts – and I don’t think I made very much progress.

I have since learnt from my mistakes.  And as a result, my students have learnt from me. A lot.  First things first, is that they will NOT like you while you are teaching them in the right way.  You will receive praise for what you have done well after the fact, when they are working in the industry, and all the facts, truth and hard realities you applied in your teaching is all they are experiencing – and dealing with successfully.

So, stop the popularity contest. One, you’re not in it for that, and two, you won’t win it anyway.

When teaching a student radio broadcasting, remember to do, and keep in mind, a couple of things:

1. You are their first impression of the industry.  Try keep it honest, but not bitter. Your experiences are not theirs.  Anecdotes are great, because you are raising storytellers. And, we love to talk, you can’t help but talking about yourself.  Just remember, it’s their journey, not yours.

2. You must get them talking.  In any way you can.  Firstly, they need to loosen their lips.  As an exercise (as unorthodox as this may sound – especially, with students that have any kind of accent), I make them memorize and recite the words (and accents!) to Mary Poppins’ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (my spell check was on, so that was spelt correctly).  I do this for a couple of reasons.  First, and most importantly, students see this as an unconquerable task.  It is rather daunting.  Get everything correct. It is (after all) the title of a song, you will run into some tongue twisters for sure during your career.  Get the accents correct.  This puts you out your comfort zone.  Keep up.  The pace is fast.  And so are your shows.  There are many moving parts to getting a great show out there.  Keep up.  You can do it. And when you can (get the song right), you feel accomplished.  Small feats that you recognize in your career are accumulated to major leaps and bounds to being a great broadcaster.

3. So, get them talking.  About fruit, or tables, or friends, or music, or whatever.  Let their personalities find some ground in the waffling that will first take place.  But the stronger they become, the stronger what they’re talking about will be.

4. Give them the correct crit.  Listeners are brutally honest.  Managers are brutally honest.  Colleagues are brutally honest.  So, why aren’t you?  They will, again, thank you for it later.  If it’s “shit”, then a rose by any other name, is still a rose.

5. Make them understand that they can be only as good as how much or what they know.  This is not a bad statement.  If you are just starting out, you might only be at about 3% capable of being a professional broadcaster, but you can be 100% of that 3% that you know.  This is really important.  You cannot progress and grow to 50% or 80% if you haven’t respected the work you put in at 3%, 10% or 37%.  Don’t sell yourself short.

These are some start out off-the-top of my head points that really work for me and my students. Be great, in order to build greatness in others.

Chris

For the love of radio

For the love of radio

Welcome back to a new facelift to my blogging, now bannered under “Chris Jordan Media”.  It’s all very exciting.  Independently rising amongst your own ranks is something to behold.

Let me explain if you are new to the site.  For quite some time now, in fact just over 3 years now, I left the commercial space in radio.  A bit of a lost soul, and having been in this situation before (a jock without a home) way back in 2007, I knew better this time.  You see, flashback to the first time I was a wandering broadcaster, to tell you the truth, I swore off doing radio, and tried to go back into what I had academically prepared myself for – which was Information Technology and Software Development.  While I was studying my BSc, I “fell” into radio in my third year at Tuks FM, and was, like most will tell you, bitten by a radio bug you can’t quite understand until you have that fever for wanting to put it beyond and before anything else you want to do in life.

Back to me wanting to quit the mic.  Well, it didn’t last long. Despite all efforts.  I had very good friends who believed in the work I had put out for just over 6 years at that point. They tracked me down, and although I responded literally kicking and screaming, convinced me to join a new and ground breaking mobile venture in radio they were starting.  I must add, that they were the only ones that did believe in my talent (myself excluded).  And that’s all I needed.  A love for radio.  A love for the radio I made.  A love for the radio I wanted to make.

Fast forward to a sense of self-confidence in what it is that one can offer the industry in ways only you can discover, not in ways a manager or a slot in a line up could define.  Where was my love for radio?

As much as I know I am a great broadcaster, a well-rounded professional that knows and can apply myself to various roles in the industry, this is what was important as I navigated through my next (and the next, and next after that) chapter in my career.

Career. That was a word I never understood until I did leave commercial radio just 3 years back. It’s a decision that after a decade of being in the industry – could only process as something I DID indeed want to do, for the rest of my life.  A self-sustaining, service driven, satisfying professional contribution to the industry I loved so much.  So that’s what I did.

I realised my biggest strength ran a thread around training and development. In teaching. In aiding. In building. In expanding and attracting knowledge to this industry.  And I wanted, and did, make peace with that.  I wrote books, taught seminars, lectured classes, started consulting and trained professionals of all walks of life in all platforms within media.  And I loved it.  Correction. I love it.

For the love of radio.  Here I am. With a media company of my own, that I have plans for. As I do for myself, and the industry I love.

— Chris

Why ‘A Word on Radio’ is a must-read for aspiring radio broadcasters across the continent

Why ‘A Word on Radio’ is a must-read for aspiring radio broadcasters across the continent

Radio industry specialist Chris Jordan answers a few questions about his groundbreaking book ‘A Word on Radio’ , as well as touching on his extensive career in broadcasting and detailing his learnings over the last few decades in order to help the next generation of broadcasters across the African continent.

Why did you decide to write ‘A Word on Radio’?

By the time I had begun writing the book, I had been fortunate enough to work in the radio industry starting in the ranks as a campus/community presenter, all the way through to international work, and had around 10 years of broadcasting experience under my belt. I had also been a radio lecturer for about 3 years at that stage and felt it was time to test myself in a what I felt I knew about the industry. I had been teaching young broadcasters out of suggested material provided by the campus and was given free reign on how to and what to teach the students wanting to make a career choice in broadcasting. As I started to work on more and more case studies, I began to formalise a professional approach to our craft as broadcasters, and felt the book would be the best way to legitimise this notion. It was a pleasant discomfort to realize I would even learn a lot in the process considering there is so much existing literature on the subject out there, but I decided to focus more on the academic nature of broadcasting in conjunction with the practical application within the industry, and thus ‘A Word on Radio’ was born.

Who is the ideal reader for the book?

While it is an academic book on the programming nature of radio, I feel like a broad range of people could benefit from the content of the book.  Whether you are someone who has no prior radio experience, someone studying specifically in radio or a similar field, a relatively novice broadcaster broadcaster or someone in commercial radio with a thirst for more knowledge – this book is for you.

What is the one thing you hope people will take from reading the book?

How to be a better broadcaster.  There are many areas of interest in radio, but this book focuses on how to be a better one and help grow the radio industry in South Africa. I have not only covered a wide range of areas, from how to put your shows together, to how to write for news and even how to build your on air personality; I have also focused tried and tested tertiary institutions methodologies and models that assist in really refining the approach of broadcasting to the fine craft it is.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in the radio industry?

The short answer is that I don’t know! (laughs). I studied a BSC in IT and a BComm in Knowledge Systems at Varsity and nothing in particular pointed me in this direction. That was until applications to join for Tuks FM (Pretoria’s campus radio station) opened up to the public. I went for it with everything I had to give at that stage and subsequently truly fell in love with the medium. It was something I did on a volunteer basis at first, but with no complaints as the experience I gained there was invaluable to my career. There was no carrot dangling at the end of a stick and it came from a pure place of passion.16 years later, I’ve made a life and career out of radio and also made a decision to actively be someone who propels the industry forward as a professional and not just a contributor.

How hard is it to get a foot in the door in the radio industry?

It depends on what door, what foot you’re using and how hard you are pushing. All are factors that will play a role in the progression of your radio career. Even if you get a lucky break and an ‘in’ to the industry via campus radio in your early twenties, it is incredibly difficult to stay in the industry, and takes hard work to remain relevant and ahead of the talented pack in the South African industry. You have to have a hunger to succeed and the drive to put in the work it takes to advance your career.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a radio presenter, news reader or content producer?

Be honest with yourself in confronting your talent and potential to work in these areas. Not everyone can be a doctor, architect, performance artist, or musician. Similarly, not everyone can be a broadcaster. Know what you’re proficient in, have a passion for and pursue these areas with everything you’ve got.

What else are you busy with at the moment career-wise?

I have started Chris Jordan Media, which has been a very exciting experience for me and a natural next step in my career. ‘A Word on Radio’ and any future publications will fall under this company. I’ve also been providing consulting, training and development services to online and community stations in the South Africa. I collaborate with broadcasters from both television and radio with their development in a private capacity and this is a very rewarding experience for me personally.  As a next step and looking towards the latter half of 2017, CJM will release an eight week online broadcasting course in collaboration with some great professionals in the industry (who I can’t talk about just yet). Lastly, I’ve been invited to be a panelist at various radio conferences this year and am also assisting with RadioDays Africa 2017, so lots going on and lots to look forward to!

What do you make of the SABC decision from last year to broadcast 90% local music and how has it impacted the quality of radio?

The idea of promoting local talent is a first for anyone who is passionate about the arts in South Africa. I appreciate the sentiment, but stations work on formats that are methodically structured around  growing listenership year-on-year. In my opinion, the formats have suffered as a result of a ripple effect of not having enough (and by enough, I mean “90%” of a formats music policy) well produced and marketed locally bred and funded talent. South Africa’s music industry has an abundance of talent, but not enough of that talent is commercially consumable to make the 90% directive appealing across a days worth of radio programming.

What did you learn about yourself in the process of writing the book?

I learnt that I had a choice in making radio a career, not just a flight of fancy. To claim authority on subject matter, is to commit to a life’s work in it and all these years later I’m proud of myself for sticking to my guns and pursuing my passion with everything I have.

Do you plan on publishing another book in the future?

Yes! I am currently working on a book that will be a first for teaching radio in South Africa, a course for secondary schooling students that will academically aligned to the correct NQF levels in education, as well as a first year textbook for tertiary institutions.’A Word on Radio’ is currently being used in media campuses around South Africa at a second year level and has sold around 1600 copies, also having been renewed until 2018.

To purchase a physical or eBook copy of ‘A Word on Radio’, please check out this page or visit Amazon.com.

Chris Jordan Media launches for all the right reasons

Chris Jordan Media launches for all the right reasons

Learn more about the new collaborative independent company that focuses on the development of the radio broadcasting industry through consulting, e-Learning and more.

Author: CJM Editorial

Radio industry vet Chris Jordan has started a company to help shape and grow the radio broadcasting landscape through a variety of new ventures and projects. Chris Jordan Media, registered in 2017, focuses on creating opportunities for collaboration via key products and specialized services. The independent agency was started on the pillars of trust and integrity, with the hope that these values will filter through to each client and each project taken on board.

“I want to start pushing boundaries,” Managing Director Chris Jordan says. “Whether this is as part of consulting, training and development or in whichever venture we choose to tackle”. While largely focused on consulting, there is also a particular excitement about the growth of online learning in South Africa. e-Learning has in fact seen massive growth increases across the African continent, with Google recently revealing that they have been successful in educating one million young Africans as part of their 89 module online course promoting digital marketing skills development. Companies that are getting into the e-Learning space now are seen to be ahead of the curve and starting what looks to be an international shift in the global education model.

While still tight lipped on the subject, CJM has confirmed they will soon be launching a first series of online classes focused on radio training, in order to help shape a wide range of future and current broadcasters. Interested learners are encouraged to keep an eye on the Chris Jordan Media website and to subscribe to the company newsletter to learn more about when and where classes will be kicking off.

CJM hopes to eventually partner up with corporates in order to award bursaries to promising young people with big dreams across the broadcasting industry. This will be done in order to further develop radio skills and resources across the board. The company also wishes to provide existing and new products and services aligned with collaborators that share the same vision for awareness, development and exposure in the media industry.

“We’re taking things one day at a time,” Chris continues. “I’d like the company to grow steadily and organically into something that is sustainable in the long run. Being seen as a dependable industry leader with longevity five years from now would mean that we are on the right track and delivering on what we set out to do. It is and will always be a fluid process and I am looking forward to managing each obstacle along the way for the best possible outcome.”

Watch this space for big things from one of South Africa’s most promising new SME’s!