Tag Archives: Alan Furst

“Tell Me A Story Daddy”

We love stories.

“Tell me a story daddy” is one of the first sentences a child says to the parent.

We want stories from the beginning and we never loose that desire as adults.

Radio is stories.

Bob Prince the longtime Pittsburgh Pirate broadcaster was a great story teller.

Prince would be in the middle of a story, you’d hear the crack of the bat, crowd roar, and Bob would finish his story and casually mention “Stargell hit a three run homer to right”.

The stories were often more interesting than the game.

Story telling has helped baseball survive on radio when every game is available on television.

All of the great radio baseball broadcasters are story tellers. Phil Rizzuto was one, Ernie Harwell, and the forever young Vin Scully are others.

Baseball broadcast teams are much like great morning teams. Two characters playing off each other’s stories and weaving the game commentary into the broadcast.

Take a hard look at the ratings in your market. My bet is NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered’ do extremely well. They are all about story telling.

Think about your morning show. What kind of stories are they telling?

When you interview for morning talent are you listening to how they tell a story? Do they engage your attention with the simplest things?

KDKA’s Jack Bogut featured his ‘Home Movies’ segment. He told simple five minute lifestyle stories, and had a great way of painting the picture.

Bogut would keep you in the car until he finished.

Is your morning show doing ‘driveway stories’, the kind that hold you in the car until the end?

Sometimes listeners are better story tellers than your talent. Find people who can contribute to the show and engage an audience with their tales.

Great stories turn into great ratings stories.

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Posted by on May 24, 2008 in Radio programming


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My Little Black Book

My little black book does not contain names of ‘special’ friends like a certain former New York Governor .

Mine is dull by comparison.

But for me, the ‘little black book’ is indispensable.

It can be a major help to the Program Director looking for ways to record and track ideas.

For years I carried a bulkly Franklin Planner. It was my depository for notes, ideas, appointments. You name it. The Franklin was always with me.

I’ve tried keeping notes and appointments in PDAs, a Treo and on my computer. Nothing works quite as well as paper at least for me.

Moleskine makes a variety of small bound notebooks that are perfect for keeping ideas. This is the legendary notebook used by writers like Hemingway.

The hard backed cover is a perfect writing surface.

An idea book is a great way to manage the ideas as you get them. I use a section in my Outlook software to index each entry for easy retrieval.

Sometimes the silliest entry turns into a great idea. But it would have been lost if I hadn’t entered it into my book.

You may be amazed at how many ideas you have in a week just by recording everything into your book.

Moleskine products are available at a variety of on-line retailers, Barnes & Noble, Borders and other booksellers.

No I don’t have stock in the company.


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Manage Self, Not Time

The first thing to know about time management is you can’t manage time.

(Well that kinda blows that apart.)

Time comes, it goes. It is a constant.

You can’t ‘save’ time either.

Time is the ultimate ‘use it, or lose it’.

We all have the same twenty-four hours everyday. Some people are just better at using their time than others.

Good time management is good self management. People who use their time well take time to set priorities, create a simple plan and then design an action list to achieve them.

Here is a simple system that I recommend to time crunched program directors.

First, think in terms of a week and do all your planning on a weekly basis.

Pick a regular time for your planning. Sunday morning works best for me.

Write down everything you have to achieve during the week. Include both work and personal items. Remember, your work and private life are connected.

Review the list and rank all of the items in order of priority.

Once you’ve outlined the priorities schedule time into your calender to work on each one. Again looking at the week as a whole.

Make sure you schedule important things into your calender like thinking, writing and LISTENING to your station. We are pulled in a dozen directions and don’t think of these things as priorities.

Managers don’t have to do all of the things on their list. Their job is to see the work gets done. Think about delegating tasks and projects to your staff.

Tony Robbins teaches that instead of having a long ‘to do’ list, you create a list of clearly defined ‘outcomes’ for the week. Under this system, you can often complete your objective without doing every task on your list.

He likes to chunk connected items to make one outcome. Robbins’ system is a very strategic approach. Changing from a long list of tasks, to outcome thinking can take you from having a hundred items to do, to ten that week. It is very powerful.

David Allen who wrote “Getting Things Done” uses a completely different system. He looks at anything with two or more tasks as project. Allen’s method is to keep you focused on the ‘next action’ in each one. It too is quite powerful.

Allen’s company offers an excellent add on to Outlook which helps you stay on track.

Achieve Planner is another excellent software. I like the power of creating full projects and it has a ‘next action’ feature. Rodger Constandse has included all kinds of great tips to help you with productivity. Their site is listed to the right of this page.

David Allen’s software and Achieve Planner offer free 30 day trial periods.

There are many other good systems. I used Franklin/Covey for years. They have paper and electronic planners.

Any system is better than no system. Many people combine the best of them to create their own personalized way of staying focused.

The best program directors take the time to focus on their priorities and set a plan to achieve them.

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Posted by on May 3, 2008 in Radio programming


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Think Beyond Just A Job

It’s been great hearing from people checking in on the blog this week. Emails and comments are always welcome. Don’t be shy.

Several people have mentioned they are between gigs. This is usually not by their choice of course.

I can relate since I’ve been asked to vacate the building on more than one occasion.

Remember being fired is part of the cultural ritual of radio. You must be fired periodically in order to renew your membership in the brother/sisterhood.

Now that you’re out, what do you do?

I recently came came across Dan Miller’s books. The first was ’48 Days To The Work You Love’ and next is “No More Mondays”.

Dan’s mission in life is helping people find their passion and put it to work for them. Perhaps it is in a business of your own or something you do on the side as free lance. He is all about helping you take control of your own destiny.

The Dan Miller 48 Day’s podcast is available through ITUNES. The link to Dan’s website is listed to the right of this page.

Use the time between gigs to really think about what you want to do.

Radio jobs are changing rapidly. You can’t rely on the old ways of finding jobs. Take time to think about your strengths and work on a path that really suits your interests and talents.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “Work harder on yourself, than you do on your job”.

In other words take the time to improve your skills, make contacts and work on things that will help more than just earn a paycheck.

View being fired as a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about yourself.

Most people tell me the new job is a better than the one that turned them out.

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Posted by on April 30, 2008 in Radio programming


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