Why you don’t want traditional radio to disappear.

I had a meeting with my professor yesterday and we were talking about a presentation that I have coming up. We were talking about radio and the points I wanted to get across, and she kept asking me how I’m going to make people care. What about my presentation is going to make people care about radio. That really got me thinking, why should people care about traditional radio? Let me tell you why.

  • Many radio stations are still live and local. The people talking to you on the airwaves are right there in your community, they know what’s going on, and they care. They support local businesses, organizations, and charities on air.
  • Most other places you can find music don’t have a personality aspect at all. If you’re listening to Pandora on your morning commute, I can guarantee it’s not going to make you crack up laughing to yourself like morning show personalities can on your local station. (This particular aspect is something I strive really hard for. I always want to make those sleepy commuters feel ridiculous for laughing by themselves. Laughter is great any time of the day though!)
  • Even if the station you typically tune into isn’t live or local (unfortunately a lot of radio is syndicated or recorded, a sad fact indeed. It happens because huge companies can afford to buy out small stations) it’s still FREE. It costs you nothing to tune into the radio. If that disappeared, all those free or trial services would have nothing to compete with and could jack up their prices. Think about it.
  • Whether you like it or not, you still find new music on radio. People like to complain that the same music gets played over and over on radio, but radio still makes the hits. They still debut songs and make them popular. You just think that the radio station is playing a certain song a lot because you heard it there first, and then started hearing it EVERYWHERE else after that, so it feels like every time you tune in you hear it.
  • From an advertising standpoint, traditional radio is one of the most targeted and effective mediums you can use. The variety of radio stations offers you a chance to pick and choose what demographics you want to hear your ad.

These are only a few points about why traditional radio matters, and will continue to matter, but they are points that I think are often looked over. Sometimes we take certain media for granted, yet if it ceased to exist, we would definitely notice its absence. The effects of it would be more widespread than you think!

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A poster of a benefit concert my station threw for Food For Lane County

Stay humble, but “own your sh*t”.

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I’m going to tell you right from the get-go that this post is inspired by Drake getting a little upset with Rolling Stone (didn’t want you to be thrown off guard by my title, but it just fit so perfectly with what I want to discuss). Let me give you the lowdown: Drake was slated to have the cover of Rolling Stone along with an interview/article in the last issue, but then Philip Seymour Hoffman tragically passed away. Rolling Stone bumped Drake from the cover and replaced it with one in memorium of Hoffman, which is totally understandable. Drake had a few choice words to say about it though, which he tweeted and then got rightfully criticized for. You can read all of that here, if you’d like. His comments were pretty disrespectful to the deceased and he then had to apologize and say that he didnt mean what he said. 

We can all learn a lesson from Drake in this situation. His ego got the best of him and he easily could’ve avoided all the drama if he had just not posted a bunch of stupid comments on Twitter. No matter how big you are, you can never let your ego takeover and make you think that you deserve things that were a privilege to you in the first place. Drake thought he had a RIGHT to that Rolling Stone cover, when really he should’ve been grateful a large magazine like that wanted to feature him at all. Entitlement is something that can easily take over your personality, because as soon as you adopt that quality, it skews the rest of your character. Whether you are Drake, any other celebrity, or anyone who is seeing success in their given field, you have to stay humble.

Staying humble is important, but unfortunately it still will not deflect people from criticizing your every move. Sometimes society expects the huge ego from people who are doing well and they see humbleness as being fake. Taylor Swift is one example. She is genuinely surprised and excited when she is up for awards against artists she’s admired her whole life and then wins, and yet somehow people still think her look of awe and amazement is insincere. A lot of society doesn’t understand being humble when you are successful, because we are so used to seeing the huge egos of the Drakes of the world. But it is still better to stay humble, because then you wont risk disrespecting someone who just died.

While Drake’s ego did shine through in the majority of the Rolling Stone article, he did make at least one good point. He was discussing the the Grammys and how Macklemore instagrammed a screenshot of a text he sent Kendrick Lamar, saying he “robbed” Kendrick of an award. A lot of people have accused Macklemore of having less than pure intentions for posting the screenshot, and Drake wasn’t too keen on it either. He said this: “I was like, ‘You won. Why are you posting your text message? Just chill. Take your W, and if you feel you didn’t deserve it, go get better — make better music. It felt cheap. It didn’t feel genuine. Why do that? Why feel guilt? You think those guys would pay homage to you if they won?”

I had read a handful of other articles that criticized Macklemore over this situation, but I hadn’t read any that point out WHY he shouldn’t have posted the text as well as Drake did. He laid it out perfectly. Why shut yourself down to give praise to someone else? You don’t have to brag about winning, but you also don’t have to diminish what you’ve just accomplished. He won 4 Grammys that night!! He killed it!! To make the focus about someone else NOT winning an award seems less than helpful to your own brand. Why not just be grateful for what you were awarded with? Or at least, if you really feel the need to apologize to another nominee, don’t post it for the world to see. Keep it private.

A lot of other controversaries surrounded the Macklemore wins, and I wont get into that now, but I want to end this post with one last Drake quote from that article which really highlights the mindset Macklemore should’ve left the Grammys with: “This is how the world works: He made a brand of music that appealed to more people than me, Hov, Kanye and Kendrick. Whether people wanna say it’s racial, or whether it’s just the fact that he tapped into something we can’t tap into. That’s just how the cards fall. Own your shit.

Own your shit. It’s not an extremely delicate way of putting it, but it’s straight forward ,and I respect it and I like it. Across the board, when you are putting your work out there for the world to see, be proud of it, and be humble about it. You don’t have to advertise your huge ego, but you also don’t have to talk yourself down. All you have to do is produce the best work you can, accept praise when you get it, and work harder when you aren’t where you wanna be. Own your shit. You’re the only one who can make it better, or worse.

Infographic survival guide

Amanda Burd #3 Infographic

These past few weeks in J452 we have been working on infographics and, if I’m being honest, it’s been less than fun. On the surface, making an infographic doesn’t sound too horrible: You put purposeful information onto a sheet in a visual way that easy for people to follow. But once you get into it, you run into many roadblocks. You have too much information, or not enough. The information you do have doesn’t fit together or tell a story. You can’t find visuals that represent the data. You can’t word the data in a concise way. You’re banging your head on the wall trying to think of how to put it all together. Ya know, problems like that.

But eventually, things will fall together and you will finish it. Once I finished mine it was a huge relief, and I want to help others get to that point when making an infographic, so here are a few of my favorite tips to help you skip all the roadblocks and get to the finish line.

  • Organize information on the infographic in a way that follows a person’s typical eye movement (top left corner is the first place people tend to look)
  • Additionally, make the first thing you want people to see the biggest font/image on the infographic
  • Have a color theme that works. It’ll be very overwhelming to your reader if it looks like a rainbow threw up on your graphic.
  • Make the info relatable. You are likely going to be trying to educate someone or convince someone of something with your infographic, but if they cant relate or connect with it in some way, they wont remember it.
  • Make it convincing. Have a call to action that leaves people persuaded by your message.

To compliment all those tips, you can check a bunch of really awesome infographics and get some inspiration. 

#doesthatreallyneedtobehashtagged? #no

Twitter, Instagram, now even Facebook: they all use hashtags. Hashtags are meant to be used as a way to search things that are about a topic, or use the same words or phrases. But a lot of people have played into an annoying trend of using hashtags that are a mile long and 100% useless. #ireallyliketoblogbutnooneevenreadsit. If I have to stare at your hashtag for 10+ seconds just to decipher what words are in it, you’re doing it wrong. These also totally defeat the purpose of hashtagging in the first place. But there is a ray of shining light left for hashtags that still make them purposeful and actually enjoyable: viral hashtags.

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What makes a hashtag gain insane popularity? My theory is that it’s one that helps people share stories, or open up a conversation. At any given moment, if you look at whats trending on Twitter you will most likely see at least one hashtag like #MyGirlfriendNotAllowedTo which opens up a treasure trove of clever and funny tweets. Hashtags like this even make it all the way to TV shows, like #ShitMyDadSays (even if that show didn’t go so well). You’ll also see trending hashtags for things that happening right that very second. For example, last Sunday you could have followed #Grammys and been up to date with all the opinionated things people had to say about the show. The Grammys killed it at social media interactions this year and hashtags opening up the conversation on Twitter was a big part of it.

The most genius hashtags are ones that happen every week. I’m talkin’ your #TBT/#FBF, #MCM/#WCW. I guarantee you if you open your Instagram on any Monday or Wednesday you will see multiple Man Crush Monday or Woman Crush Wednesday posts, either of a celebrity crush or that individual’s significant other (Every. Single. Week. We get it, you’re dating, so obviously your crushin’). Same thing for Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday. You will see so many baby and childhood pictures from the people you follow that you’ll feel like you were there for every awkward moment of their life (I’m really guilty of posting these hashtags too much, but I can’t help it that I was adorable as a child. You definitely wont see any of my horrifying middle school days though).

So my question is, why aren’t brands playing into some of the most popular hashtags? Here’s some ideas:

We are at a pivotal point in the hashtag time continuum. A fork in the hashtag road. One path continues to lead us down the #hashtaggingfornofrickenreason road, but other path! Ah the other path, it leads us down the functional, relevant, actually entertaining road, on which we could all benefit.

Connecting with your audience on Facebook: it’s not just about “likes”

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When companies and organizations are discussing their social media plan it seems like creating a Facebook page is always step 1. And while thats a great first step, it cannot be the only step. You can’t assume that once your page is there, people will just flock to it and “like” the crap out of it. And even if they do, what is the value of a “like”??? With the new way Facebook is organizing its user’s newsfeeds, a “like” doesn’t mean very much. A user has to be actively interacting with the page they’ve “liked” for that pages updates to show up in their feed. So what does that mean for brands? They’ve got to find a way to get their fans engaged (which is something they should have wanted to do before the change in Facebook’s content organization but maybe this is the push they needed!) The good news is that it’s not as hard as you might think to get people engaged. People like to be appreciated and recognized for the fact that they really do matter to your company. Here are the simple ways you can do that on Facebook:

  • Reward them for being a fan. Have contests and do giveaways!
  • Post things that have a call to action to comment or share the post. You’d be surprised how many fans will do something if you just ask them to in the post. 
  • Comment people back. Thank them for their comment, answer a question, just say SOMETHING back to them and they will feel like you really are paying attention to your fans.
  • Don’t delete negative feedback. Try to fix the problem the customer is having. People will think highly of you if they see that you are commenting back on negative posts in a receptive and understanding way and are trying to fix grievances.
  • Be funny!!! People don’t expect businesses and organizations to incorporate humor and its a very welcomed and effective surprise. Check out these unexpectedly funny companies.

Here’s examples of where the above tactics have worked splendidly: 1 2 3

There ya have it! Treat your fans like they matter and they will be receptive of that, and they will appreciate your brand for it. 

What are YOU smiling about?

 

After one of the very first times I spoke on air, my boss JJ gave me a piece of advice that I will never forget: always smile while you’re on-air. She explained that when you are smiling, you sound happier, brighter, and more energetic. She was 100% right and ever since then I am always beaming my best smile on-air. Of course no one but her and Chino can see it, but our 70k+ listeners can HEAR it, and that’s what’s important. But I have applied this advice to the rest of my life, and I try to smile as often as possible. I learned that if you smile more, you really feel happier.

I think that this simple idea of smiling more can be applied to any job, but especially one where you are speaking to  people on a regular basis. Public relations is a field where you are always talking to people. To the public, to a board, in a meeting, in a press conference, to your boss, to your co-workers, to a client… don’t you want them to see you as a joyful person to be around? And if they see you as a happy, go-lucky person, don’t you think they will be more persuaded by your message? I know I am always far more captivated by someone who smiles so much they seem like they are just plain happy to be alive.

Don’t get me wrong here, though, I don’t think you should force it. I want you to look happy, not possessed. But getting in the habit of flashing the world genuine smiles is not that hard. All you have to do is remember all the reasons you have to smile.

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If none of those reasons have convinced you to smile more, how about this…

  • Smiling is a great form of face yoga. Yep, that’s right. Face yoga. Smiling will keep your skin firmer and younger looking.

Smiling is universal. It’s a language everyone speaks. So whether you’re speaking to a crowd, your boss, your friends, or to thousands of people over the airwaves, smile big and wide and spread the happiness.

An Introduction…

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When I was growing up in small town Lebanon Oregon, there was only one radio station that I remember listening to: 104.7 KDUK. I remember listening to Val Steele and thinking that working in radio would be so cool, but I always thought that it was one of those careers that was too far-fetched to obtain. Fast forward about a decade… Val Steele is now my boss. And she is as cool as I always thought she would be. But something epic happened within that decade: I realized that I could be so cool too. I realized that no career or goal or dream is out of reach if you work hard enough and get in touch with the right people. So that’s what I did.

Now, I don’t want to make it seem like luck wasn’t a part of this equation too, because it definitely was. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and landed an internship at KDUK. From then on is when the real hard work started. I had zero radio experience. The first time I spoke on air, I totally choked. But we don’t need to recap that. After I got more comfortable, I fell in love with radio. I love using my quick wit on air, I love making people laugh, I love the fast paced environment. But I know what you’re thinking right now… “Radio is dying. Pandora, Spotify, those are the big players in music sources now!” You aren’t wrong. BUT (and this is a big but (I like big buts and I cannot lie)) there will ALWAYS be one thing that Pandora and Spotify can’t offer you. And that is live and local talent. It’s a connection to an actual person playing the music and talking to you on your morning commute. This is the biggest reason I love radio.

The posts made on this blog from here on out are going to focus how PR can be used in radio to regain listenership. PR at its core is relationship building between an organization and its publics through strategic communication. That’s what radio is all about! So it only makes sense that I delve into this issue deeper to help myself, and hopefully others, better understand how we can be part of radios comeback.