Radio 1 on 1 Preview: But I don’t know where my broadcasting career is going?

Firstly, let me calm you by saying, this is very normal.  To get to a point, or a few points, in your on-air career where your doubts about the future are reigning supreme, this happens to every broadcaster.  But those points need to be positive and constructive.  This is called a broadcasting career, for the same reason you would call working in any other profession a career too, it’s got to last.

Very few on-air presenters have a growing and illustrious career by being on air exclusively.  You have to think of the long run.  Somewhere you can retire happily, having contributed both to your passion, but to the industry too.  Look at exploring different avenues of broadcasting that interest you, and also fill a contribution to what is happening in the industry throughout your career.  Land up in a senior role or in management.  Teach.  Educate people about where the craft is, and where it’s heading too.  Lead teams in new media where broadcasting plays its important role in prospering the growth of communication as eras to continue to dynamically change.

Most of all, have a plan.  Even if you change it along the way.  Just always have it.

Listen to weekly updates of my new audio book in radio broadcasting here, and don’t forget subscribe

About

Radio 1 on 1 : 25 of the Most Asked Questions in Radio Broadcasting

Radio 1 on 1 audio series by Chris Jordan, Part 1 available for free at this link

Welcome to the official page of my audiobook “Radio 1 on 1 : 25 of the Most Asked Questions in Radio Broadcasting”

This marks another milestone in my passion for both radio broadcasting, and for educating the next generation of broadcasters.

Here, in PART 1, we will explore the beginning of your journey in this industry, and your career as a media practitioner.

My aim, and hope, is to interact with as many aspiring, and seasonal broadcasters out there.  You are invited to comment and interact with any questions and comments on this page, and look forward to some monthly Masterclasses right here.

Bookmark this page, and subscribe to download the full 13 episodes of PART 1 for FREE.

Let’s start your journey together.  DARE TO BE GREAT.

Introduction


What is Radio?


How do we define personality?


A Word on Control


The Gen-Necessary of Radio


How to look for the right content


What role does my voice play?


What can I expect from my first time on air?


What is my role as a broadcaster?


What does it mean to have a career in Radio?


How do I break into this industry?


Is Radio for you?


What should be on a demo?


PART 2 coming soon.


Edited by Jason Rademeyer

Contact No: 072 724 3308

Email: jasonrademeyer8@gmail.com

Radio: You don’t care about your listeners

I see this write up not going down to well with you already.  

But give me a chance to extend on the title of this blog post, and hopefully come to see the highlights of asking ourselves this important question:  does your radio station care about me?

“Care” about you.  This a free public service that has one job.  To keep you happy. For the 20 or so minutes you might have to yourself in the morning, before your day goes full throttle. Maybe it’s as your daily passive companion while you kill time at the gym or while you’re in public transport. Perhaps it’s your provider of information and insight on current affairs and diverse conversations around thoughts and opinions, that is your day’s private indulgence?

That sounds wonderful, right? The perfect fit for the perfect medium.

But.  This means you ACTUALLY work for them.  The listener. You should be working for them.  An obvious statement. But do you?

Are stations around the world keeping the listener in mind?  All the time? That’s actually very difficult for any station to answer.  Even for the best of the best, of the best.

I watched the conference that hosted Coleman Insights last year in Hollywood, where they highlighted  “Outside Thinking: Flip The Script On How You Think About Your Radio Station”.  The insight of their presentation was around how much we overestimate the loyalty we get from listeners.  Just because we are here doing great radio, we assume we have an actively involved audience that is ready to do quite a lot for their radio station.  This isn’t true though.

We are, however in fact, still important.  To the listeners lifestyle, that is.  Coleman Insights stand by the statement that radio stations are forgetting about modern age technological living and mass diverse changes in people’s lives.  And even still. How we manage, construct, create and converse radio today – is still very important. So what do we do?

Let me repeat.  To their lifestyle.  Not to their lives. We have to adjust to their incredibly dynamic lifestyles.

It’s a big deal.  With massive duty.

We are in a very “trial, test, doom, and unknown” phase in radio.  We are starting to only get a real grasp on what fits where, how much it is of what needs to be out there and where it should be, where the onslaught of social media has REALLY robbed us of a market’s attention, and of course, the constantly changing ways we have to accommodate listeners lives in a consistently changing lifestyle landscape.

I know stations out there are trying their best.  In South Africa, some have opened “off air” channels that supply you with a 12-24 hour music service, some podcasts and even some prerecorded presenter links to personalise the experience.  It’s cool in theory. But I can’t expect that this is a reason why your numbers will be going up. It sounds like a costly, and ineffective way to remain relevant. Here in South Africa, we are definitely not close to that type of devotion yet.  Does it mean we don’t have to start somewhere? Absolutely not. We need to, however, not risk losing focus on what needs to happen right now, and stop chasing ten different goals like chickens without heads.

We had 702 currently release digital transmission with the Amazon Alexa.  This is again, very impressive and pretty bad-ass – but no one cares.  They really don’t. There are stations that are jumping several guns here, while the rest of the industry is struggling to stay on air, period.

Then there are some stations that are doing great things by keeping their focus on core fundamentals, and expanding opportunities to strengthen listener loyalty.

East Coast Radio did well with their 24-hour user playlist promotion, giving the listeners free reign over their music choice for a full day.  Simple. But the listeners are there and they love it. Reaching the “Top 10 most listened to” stations in South Africa comes with giving your listener what they need, which conveniently turns into what they want.

Kaya FM’s remodelled approach to how they objectively offer current affairs and diversity in their listeners lives has definitely grown their listenership loyalty.  And their YouTube views and podcast plays are proof of that. Being a necessary choice to what their listener wants to be a part of in a lifestyle decision.

iKwekwezi FM’s Pastor Maria Jacobs chose to visit inmates in Witbank for a revival ceremony recently (which you might be rolling your eyes over) – but they are a PBS station that is committing to servicing their public on a “touch, feel and see” basis.  Which station can say that their listeners are tuned in for an average of 3 and a half hours? iKwekwezi can.

So what are you doing wrong when all the TSL you can hone in for is an average of 15 – 25 min?

We are quick to judge the simpler approaches to regaining and regrowing a listenership in basic and “nonintellectual” ways.  But it works. Give people what they need, and it will be what they want.

Talk Radio Vitals

Ah, the exciting world of talk radio.  How exciting?  Well, in a world dominated by fake news and social media, it should get anyone’s goose going by knowing that you can tune into a show where factual information reigns supreme.  As much as music radio is the “end-goal” of fame and popularity to most radio presenters – talk radio has longevity.  Longevity when it comes to the everyday lifestyle of your listener.   This doesn’t take away any importance to what music radio offers their listeners.  It would be a cardinal sin to compare the two, so let’s not.

Back to talk radio.

We want to listen to talk shows and a host that is deeply infatuated by conversation.   Conversation that is relevant, informative, provocative and dynamic.  Current affairs will always be the first in your content choice, but make sure you don’t lose touch with what is happening around your listener’s street corner.  What are they worried about or aspiring for today?  Where are they spending their spare time and what are they doing?  What is happening in their world that the platform of radio can do to let them be heard?  Look at everything, from their personal lives to their shopping carts – and always develop content and shows that elevate what is, and what they want their lives to concede to.

Find out what is making their world tick and keep it going.

Here are some closing thoughts.

      • Being well-prepared.  In fact, borderline a case of being over-prepared.  Talk show hosts have to be ready for a number of things to go wrong – and rarely have no music break to save them.
      • Be sure that you have all your guests confirmed. Have a backup guest list just in case.
      • Be a conversation starter.  Let your links help the listener think on the topic at hand.  Give them a lot to think about. This can come from facts or opinions, what is trending or what might be unusual, but new thoughts on a subject matter.
      • Be inviting.  Listeners need to know that this is a welcomed platform for them to take part in, message and chat about with the show host and guests.
      • You can still be confident without being condescending.  Don’t alienate guests and listeners with an attitude that is poor.
      • Be respectful.  Yes. People will have different opinions than yours. Welcome them, and immerse the conversation further.

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic Podcast Series

A while ago I decided to test out recording my first podcast series.  Knowing that producing a passion project is the easiest when you have an actual passion for the subject material – I chose looking into different facets and people within the South African comic book industry.

Rules for podcasting is something we can definitely talk about in future posts, but I wanted to put out a spot of my first journey into series podcasting.  If I had to advise you on one thing, it would be to keep it simple and safe for your first go –  kinda like this 5 part series.  I sourced different people in the industry that would allow me some really interesting conversations around what fanboys and girls would love to hear.

As you advance, you should implement the core principles of storytelling, and take your time in a mass load of pre and post production.  But again.  This will be a conversation for a soon-to-be-published later date.

I just want to encourage everyone out there to tell their story.  Your life is important and interesting, and it should be shared with the world.  Find the pearls and make almanacs of your journey, in whatever you want to delve into.

This series has five parts.  And my guests were really cool.  An artist, and influencer, a comic store owner, a horror fiction author – and myself as a panelist at the 2018 ICON Comic and Games Convention.

Please feel free to ask ANY questions about podcasting in the comments section and I will be glad to help out.

But in the meantime.  Enjoy.

 

Black, White And Everything In Between –  A South African Comic – Jason Masters (Marvel/DC)

 

Go find out more about Jason Masters here

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – Zaid Motola (Influencer and all out Awesome Fanboy)

 

Go watch Zaid’s YouTube Channel here

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – The Rise of Central City Comics

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – Jason Hes (Our Immaculate)

 

You can get your copy of “Our Immaculate” from Amazon here

 

Black, White and Everything In Between – A South African Comic – Chris Jordan (The Art of Conversation, ICON CGC 2018)

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

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.