What's It Going To Take...?

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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:20 am

I Don’t Much Care For Radio
This may not come as a bolt from the blue to regular readers. For years, my position has been that radio has consistently and with suspicious vigour, been throwing itself into the bramble bushes. Actually, that’s not completely accurate. What is closer to the truth is that radio heaves its on-air and creative department staffs into the briar patch.

At some point in the distant past, an executive who used to run a fleet of dry cleaning outfits, while nursing a severe hangover, wandered into the head office of a well-known radio conglomerate, foisted himself off as an “efficiency expert, got hired and commenced to ruining an industry. Other snoozing CEO’s noticed how costs were being substantially chopped down the street, made their own talent say, “Baaa” and moved them into the fleecing shed.

I’m not bitter. My distress about radio has no psychological causes. Besides, my angst can be treated with pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, scotch and deep massages. This is exceptionally good news as, because of Canada’s health care system, they’re all free!

I listen to radio with the same concern with which cattle ranchers monitor their herds – just to make sure some of those cows aren’t forming groups and concocting sinister plots. But, it’s safe to say radio staffs, long ago, have been “cowed”, so to speak, and are now rendered as completely passive and obedient.

As has been mentioned often, my threshold for what constitutes effective and listenable radio has never been met. There were times, to be sure, when radio was much more creative and interesting, but I wouldn’t expect the majority of contemporary radio’s participants to have any experience or recall of those references.

Radio’s ownership and management are suffering from ideological delusions. Most don’t know what radio has been; they don’t know what radio could be and the status quo, although not particularly satisfying, is acceptable – the default position of an entire industry. Most importantly, when it comes to discussing strategies to make massive improvements – they come out empty - and in ill humour.

Whenever I go up and down the dial, I am almost always met with banality. Whether someone is “live & local”, voice-tracked or delivering a milquetoast syndication, the chances of being intrigued, entertained or intellectually or emotionally challenged are extremely low. Asking any listener to tolerate such a vacuous environment is beyond goofy. Radio’s continued reach would be startling if it weren’t for the fact of the default, unconscious, neurological processes that listens experience.

Special prosecutors may have to be summoned in order to investigate the state of radio commercial presentations and the abuse of the people who are forced to write and produce them. Having to listen through multiple clusters of these nasty, speedily produced and insulting productions counts as audience torturing, as well.

Actually, it is not a mystery – not to me and not to people who have done their homework. The neurological processes that are automatically and unconsciously engaged by an audience, bypasses much of the intellectual and rational components of their experience. If those elements were really being engaged, audiences would be showing up at the station’s doors with rotten vegetables.

In the meantime, let’s be clear of commercial radio’s mandate: To attract and maintain as many listeners as we can for as long as we can for the purpose of exposing them to commercials that are designed to influence and yes, manipulate those listeners to make purchases they would not ordinarily make without being exposed to those commercials.

Radio not only fails miserably at carrying out those mandates, it doesn’t seem to care all that much and, in fact, goes out of its way to reject any such responsibility. I am also willing to opine that radio has yet to go so far as to accept any of those mandates as being important, useful or worthy of much serious consideration.

Meanwhile, my wife is lighting a floating candle in a carved-out piece of rock from a shoreline close by. The candle, she tells me, is releasing the spirits of Lake Superior. I should be feeling much better in a short while.

And so, I regret I am compelled to retain the position. Given the exceptions of a number of spectacular talents, I don’t much care for radio – as it is today.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:15 am

Before And Beyond Creative
With the passing of the extraordinary, but still suspiciously suspicious “Chickenman”, aka Dick Orkin, Miss Helfinger can now lead a life of her own. Meanwhile, many generations of radio executives who have been exposed to the productions from the Radio Ranch have said, "That's the kind of stuff we should be doing - someday." We abuse and waste our own medium, systematically and with spectacularly self-defeating efficiencies.

Further, radio dogma persists, and there are extreme, painful penalties meted out to those poor devils that suggest otherwise or challenges them. Dogma #1: Actual Radio Creative is time consuming, expensive, difficult to write and produce, and, oh yeah – it doesn’t work!

For those stations that are incapable of producing anything more than noxious, cookie cutter “direct response” ads, clinging to those edicts would be the necessary, go-to position. The only portion that does reside in the category of “myth” is the “it doesn’t work” part. That part is pure myth. The rest of them, while true, are still a cover for incompetence and a spectacular lack of motivation. Please appreciate: I am not suggesting replacing direct response ads with pure creative. That is an impossibility. But those DR ads can certainly be spruced up to be more effective - and listenable.

Throwing “creative” into this discussion is like spreading a pail of red herrings all over the deck and declaring, “Here! Argue about these, instead!” Many would jump at the invitation, and days of fruitless blithering would ensue. But, be assured: Very few in radio’s leadership are paying much attention, anyway.

Let’s be clear: Radio Creative is occasionally applied to generate the retention of interest in listening to the ads, and to generate emotions in an audience. This is in order to influence them for the benefit of the station and its advertisers. This approach, this process, is far more powerful than simply delivering content information.

Reasonable, educated and experienced radio personnel would immediately agree, and suggest it would be a good time to break for lunch - moving on to other, more pressing matters on the agenda later.

Copy writers, from their station gulags, are constantly having messages smuggled out that decry their plight of having to scribble toxic, noxious drivel that is delivered to sales reps and, in turn, foisted off to advertisers as “actual advertising”. What, to my mind, is even more spectacular is how the advertisers themselves have not only come to expect this (alleged) bilge, they insist on it! To the degree that these lowest common denominator messages still work has always been the fallback justification – and amazement to many.

Copy writers jumped into the business because of a desire to create advertising art that would be appealing and motivating. Instead, they have been given blunt tools and told to produce smaller rocks from bigger rocks - all the while being chafed by their manacles.

Meanwhile, I am obliged to confess my own failure at getting through to those who could take the necessary steps to make massive improvements to their own organizations.

All the (above), however, has certainly not been the only or the main crux of my position or my messaging. Otherwise erstwhile, smart, intelligent, well-meaning and professional broadcasters, I submit, have yet to key in on the more important elements of radio communications. “Creative” works better. Yes, we all get that. At least, I would hope so. It is more expensive and more difficult to produce. We all get that, too.

The most important aspects of communicating to a radio audience have yet to be addressed. Fortunately, there are a few extremely credible and professional radio practitioners who are beginning to lean in another, worthwhile direction, mostly based on the following, new appreciations of how, specifically, this medium works.

- Radio, despite the acceptance of all traditions, is not as effective as a direct, authoritarian, conscious-accessing or organic medium.
- Radio, instead, is more effective when it is understood as an INdirect, non-authoritarian, UNconscious accessing, and electronic medium.

What all this means is: A completely new (to radio) system of language communications must be added to the linguistic mix in order to take advantage of and exploit the new paradigm.

By “proven” I mean: proven in countless neurological studies at the cost of thousands of cruelly martyred lab-rats, and supported by numerous anecdotal demonstrations. It would take the hubris of a science-denier to mount any counter arguments. These would become examples of delusional meanderings.

We really can/could move past any philosophical arguments here as the strategies, techniques and methodologies to exploit the new paradigm already exist and are ready for implementation. They apply equally to on-air talent presentations, as well.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counselor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:15 am

Playing A Request
Because of a single, but still urgent request for more than I provided in my last piece, I feel obliged to continue.
The main premises of the previous article were:
- Radio, despite the acceptance of all traditions, is not as effective when delivered as a direct, authoritarian, conscious-accessing medium.
- Radio, instead, is more effective when it is presented as an INdirect, non-authoritarian, UNconscious-accessing, electronic medium.

People in general, and radio’s leadership in particular, have no idea whatsoever of how audiences are accessing every electronic medium. A simplified explanation of this circumstance would be: While content is a factor, the power lies in the process!
Electronic media scrambles audience brains extraordinarily well – turns our cranial innards into mushy, pliable putty.

I emphasize pliable because listeners to, and viewers of, electronic media become much more easily influenced and, indeed, more easily manipulated without their knowledge! There are truckloads of verifying neurological research and as many anecdotal examples available to anyone who might be paying attention. (Note: This is not a conspiracy theory – not yet. But, it does have a vast range of sinister potentials – for those who might find this kind of thing intriguing.)

Over these last decades, when presenting portions of the communicative alternatives, I have been unceremoniously thrown out of more radio GMs’ offices than I care to recount. I would leave the building muttering to myself, “This is like trying to explain to a vegetable it really is a functional eagle.” And even when I was partially, semi-convincing, I reminded myself I was still talking to an individual presenting as a vegetable.

Exploiting the reality of the unique and powerful influence of radio comes with some responsibilities for action - before anyone is going to cash in at any substantially more rewarding and satisfying levels.

Radio, or rather, definitely/maybe, some portion of the industry, will be required to learn and apply a separate, unique and stand-alone set of fundamental communicative strategies and methodologies that are consistent with the always-presenting but not yet acknowledged “scrambled brain” scenario.

A terrifying example of how electronic media turns the minds of semi-regular people into soiled curb-slush is the rate at which drivers are killing themselves and others while they are using their cell phones. The rate of carnage has overcome that of drunk driving. And, in this culture, that’s saying a lot.

Besides the distraction of looking at a keypad surface, talking to someone on the cell phone use sucks the mind capacities of both the dominant and sub-dominant brain hemispheres – leaving very little left over to watch the road for squirrels – or to change stations. This is a behavior that requires a driver to be, at least in those minutes, temporarily engaged elsewhere and rendered stupid and/or insane. The last report I read demonstrates that, at some time, 88% of all drivers fall in to this category.

We are the same folks who have, for decades, been overwhelmed by mass, electronic media; we own car keys, weapons and – we have the vote. And still, we become temporarily stupid and insane. Can’t get around it. The situation still makes for happy days for sophisticated advertisers and for astute, political campaign managers.

Just in case readers haven’t considered it: This information has tentacles; it reaches out with serious social ramifications. The neurological impact - the influence of electronic media is so incredibly pervasive, it really is unfortunate that radio refuses to learn enough to exploit that which is already available. The buffet is still open - it never closes.

Many radio managers already understand their businesses are stagnant – mired in the goo. To be sure, some efforts are being made in attempts to make the sales process more effective – a good thing. But Sales is only half of the package. The other half consists of everything that goes out on the air. That part of the package is severely broken.

So long as radio continues to believe and behave as if it is a direct, authoritarian, conscious-accessing medium, it will be unable to compete with other electronic media - squabbling over the entrails left over, essentially, for print. The change-making distinctions are many, as are the communicative interventions to reinvigorate radio’s appeal and its effectiveness. Arguing for the status quo is a futile exercise. Better information has been provided. Radio remains deaf, dumb and blind.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
pave
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 11:22 am

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