Wednesday, 29 April 2015

7 ingredients for talent

I have been reading a great blog by radio consultant Larry Gifford who has set himself the almost impossible task of defining talent - and in particular radio talent.  He is also the host of the American Radio Stuff Podcast

He has narrowed the magic formula for radio talent down to 7 ingredients.  The first ingredient is to actually 'have something to say.'  It really does not require any talent at all to say "that was and this is."  It takes someone who cares and has passion, thinks and has a point of view, to make it as a broadcaster.

His second ingredient he calls 'make eye contact with the listener' what he means by this, I think in the UK, we would call 'stay grounded,'  live the lives of your listener, travel on the bus, shop in the supermarket.

Third is 'be hungry' that's about loving the business of radio and this works for Podcasting too.  It is also a little about the obsessiveness and attention to detail that verges on o.c.d. that you find in a lot of successful talented people.

Fourth is 'be now' a horribly American saying -  but very true in an age of instant media gratification.  So - what's going on right now?  Always forward looking rather than backward sounding.  Be tomorrow's headlines rather than yesterday's news.

Number five brings something called  'social currency' - he says arm your listener with shareable content.  In talk format we have been doing this for years.  That is looking for content that is so compelling a core listener will say to a friend 'have you heard about this amazing thing on XYZ radio? You really need to give them a listen?'

Number six involves the station management.  They can sometimes be the weakest link, particularly if you, as a presenter, do not actually know what they want from you?  Gifford suggests you ask the following questions:

What do you expect of me?
What is the target audience?
Where are we trying to go with this radio station?
Who are our competitors on either side?
Who am I trying to take listeners from?

You could easily apply all of those questions if you are producing a Podcast.

Ingredient seven is the ability to tell stories.  Stories that are personal and engaging and emotionally compelling engage more with the brain.  He has a good reason for this that you can read about on his blog. I also have to say I think Gifford has borrowed this idea from Radio Mentor Valerie Geller who has been saying the same for many years.  To find out more search Larry Gifford with two f's on Google. 

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