Walk in to any radio conference and you’ll inevitably hear someone say “Content is king.” Around them several people will nod their head sagely in agreement. The crowd will murmur support and half a dozen people will tweet the quote. #radioforever.
Yet today as I glanced across Facebook I noticed another content creator has left the airwaves. I’ve never been a fan of his show but I respect the daylights out of this guy for not being a run of the mill jock on the radio. He’s smart, funny and can tell a great story. So good at storytelling, that is indeed the title of his new job. Story Teller.
I don’t know the background as to why he left his former employer. I know one person who works there and we talk once every 3 years for about 6 minutes. I don’t know why he left and I don’t care.
I care that the industry lost another unique voice. I worry that unique voice will be replaced with another voice that inevitably ends up sounding just like any number of the voices on any number of stations. I worry that formatics have overtaken content. Meanwhile, talent continues to take their skills to other industries and mediums.
If a jock is reading weather or traffic reports they aren’t telling stories. They aren’t creating content. They aren’t connecting. They are giving information you can get from any Smartphone.
I listened to a competitor today for 45 minutes. I heard 5 weather reports and a traffic report. The only things I know about those jocks are their names. I quickly forgot those names 10 minutes after I stopped listening. It’s that kind of experience that is all too common.
There is a growing list of story tellers who now create content in other industries and mediums. We need less traffic and weather and more story tellers. For without story tellers all we are offering is tight playlists and station liners. We need story tellers more than ever. We need content more than ever!
But that takes ownership investing in PD’s. It takes PD’s with vision and leadership. It takes talent who is willing to change and risk and be creative. This isn’t a station problem. It’s not a format problem. This is an industry wide problem.
Maybe it’s time to sit down with talent who walked away and ask what we can change to make them want to use our medium to tell their stories. Maybe we sit down with the talent that’s left and ask them how we can enable them to tell stories. Maybe it’s time we changed.