One question every on-air personality should consistently ask themselves is this, ‘What is everyone within our market, and our station’s demo, talking about today?’ There are days where answering that question is hard and then there are days like today where that question is pretty easy to answer. The big story for the next two weeks, provided a world war doesn’t break out, is Taylor Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce going back to the Super Bowl. We all know that. It’s obvious tuning into any show on TV regardless of their demo or opening up any social feed regardless of our friend group. Yet, lots of radio on-air personalities refuse to talk about it. Here are a few of the reasons why talent fall into that trap and why it’s a huge mistake.
“We’re not a sports talk station so we don’t talk about sports.” This one should be obvious. A) Even non-sports fans watch the Super Bowl and nobody’s asking personalities on music stations to break down the ins and outs of the game, but they should certainly talk about the major storylines associated with a game upwards of 60% of the American population watches. B) This is not a sports story, it’s a love story and everyone (even men) like love stories whether they admit it or not.
“We don’t even play Taylor Swift’s music so it doesn’t fit our format.” This isn’t a music story about a new single or a new album. It’s a story about arguably the most famous person in the world right now, if she’s not number one she’s certainly in the top 5. Plus, Travis was already a pretty famous person himself, future hall of fame tight end with two Super Bowl rings already and he and his brother Jason have the most popular sports podcast in the world right now. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that he’s dating the aforementioned biggest star in the world, but it’s also a very well-done podcast featuring two personable, funny people that play off each other well. It also helps that they talk about a lot more than just football.
“Sure that’s what the young people are talking about but our demo is older, they don’t care about this.” As a married man in his mid-forties now I can assure you that middle aged people and above absolutely live vicariously through the adventures of the young. Hence why Saltburn is so popular right now. Plus, regardless of our age we can all relate to a story of two people falling in love.
“Nobody around here cares about the Super Bowl unless the (insert local or regional team name here) are in it.” If we were talking about a midseason matchup between a couple of out-of-town teams then I would get that argument. When we’re talking about the Super Bowl this is simply not true. It’s the standard excuse talent make when they don’t want to talk about something.
“Everybody’s talking about that so people are tired of hearing about it.” This is an incredibly dangerous way of thinking for on-air personalities. But, unfortunately that’s the contrarian view a lot of on-air talent naturally share. This business attracts people, myself included if I’m not careful, who tend to avoid the movies, shows, music, books, comedians, etc. that everyone else likes because it’s not cool to like the same things everyone else does, it’s lame. That approach often leads talent to only choose topics they are personality interested in, making for a show only people very similar to them listen to (giving them a passionate but small cult following). I’ve been at this since birth and I’ve never seen a personality win by consistently avoiding the big thing everyone is talking about that day.
Winning personalities instead develop their own unique angle to approach that big topic from to create content only they can do that targets their specific audience. Without putting too much thought into it, here’s an engagement angle for this topic. Travis Kelce called Taylor ‘sweetie’ during the post-game celebration Sunday after the Chiefs defeated the Ravens, causing a buzz online and a debate about whether that’s romantic or cheesy, where does ‘Sweetie’ rank and what’s your least favorite pet name a partner has ever had for you?
What do you think? Did you talk about Swift and Kelce this week and if so what was your angle? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.
Photo credit: Universal Music Group