Category Archives: Creativity

Ghost Stories

This “Ghost Stories” idea is in the same spirit of the “Pinewood Derby” post a few weeks back. The idea is this: to create a compelling piece of local radio content–on the cheap–that engages not only the parents of your community, but the kids as well. The theory is that if you can give kids a positive and nostalgic memory of your radio station at an early age that will follow them into adulthood. That, and it’s a very unique piece of content that any local business would love to sponsor. This program would be mostly suited for a local AM talker is a small town.

Here’s how easy it would be to do this…

1. Call To Action. Run a 30-second promo inviting members of your community to stop by your radio station to record a ghost story that they remember hearing as a kid. Something from camp, Boy/Girl Scouts, you get the idea. If nobody responds to the promo, then I would recommend taking a portable recorder down to the Old Folk’s Home and getting some of the geezers to tell you stories there. They would absolutely love it. Old people love to scare kids…

2. Production. Record each 5 or 10 minute “Ghost Story” in the prod room of your radio station. Produce it up with cool sound effects, or something as simple as a spooky music bed. Knock out an hours worth of these.

3. Execution. Promote the thing as a Friday or Saturday night special program that runs during the summer months. Make a big deal out of it by encouraging kids to camp out in their back yards with one of their dad’s old transistor radios. You know…after reading that last sentence, that may not be such a good idea! Just promote it as a show that kids should listen to with their parents.

This is a quick and easy program to slap together. It will be almost as easy to sell. Also, doesn’t this just sound like fun?

Smash The Wall

It finally happened. My trusty Mac finally died yesterday. It was the equilevant of a massive heart attack.

So here I sit in the middle of the night, attempting to hack out a legible post on my iPhone. This massive computer failure could not have happened at a more inconvient time, as I’m flying to Austin in 5 hours for the music side of SXSW. It’s a big deal for my new company; sort of our coming out party. We’re already starting to generate a small amount of buzz and press (scored a blurb in the Wired Magazine blog today!). Anyway, please bear with me this week as I attempt to blog from my phone and various hijacked computers. I do not plan on abandoning this little online crusade of mine because of a little technical difficulty.

Which brings me to my point: when someone throws up a wall in front of you, smash it. Smash it good. If you’re in local radio you’ve never seen more walls than right now. They come in many forms, from limited staffing, to out-of-touch owners and industry leaders (they’re not all bad, but many are).

If you remember from the video I posted here on Sunday, Edison failed with the light bulb 10,000 times before he got it to work. It took time, but he eventually got around the wall. If he had quit after 9,999 times the world would be a very dark place.

Another analogy: Professor Randy Pausch always believed that the “locked door” wasn’t there to keep him out, but rather to keep out the “other” guy who wasn’t daring enough to smash it down.

Identify what’s holding you or your station back, then eliminate it. This may sound overly-simple, but it’s surprising how many organizations can actually do it. Why? Because you have to cut the crap and be honest with yourself about what you have been doing all along. It’s always funny how often a problem can be solved with a little drive and a lot of honesty…

Smash the wall.

The Creative Environment

Ever since the first transmitter was fired up, radio has profited from creativity

  • The creativity of musical artists.
  • The creativity of talk show hosts.
  • The creativity of production.
  • The creativity of promotions.

If this is the case, then why is it that today’s local radio stations are –for the most part– horrible environments for creative people to actually work in? Why do the inner offices look more like banks than the sofa-and-video-game quarters of say, Pixar? Where’s the ping-pong table in the break room? The fish tank in the studio? Remember how crazy station’s were back in the 80s? Have we officially killed any remaining creative spirit in local radio? That’s not a rhetorical question, please leave a comment below and let me know.

If you are wondering where all of the truly creative radio folks have gone, then just take a look at the work environment your station has created (environment is key, because they started leaving long before consolidation). The really creative folks that I know wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of khakis and a polo shirt. If this is part of your company’s dress code, then you are limiting yourself.

Don’t just talk about creativity in a conference room. Open your office up to the weirdos. Make them feel welcome. They are almost always the ones who come up with “The Next Big Idea.” And that’s just what you need right now. A gool ol’ shot of weird