Radio Lessons #66 – Zen Buddhism

The Zen Monk spends a lot of time sweeping floors – not driven by the relentless desire for pristine surfaces under foot, but rather the act itself.

Sweeping is a daily ritual for a Zen Monk, through training it evokes a ‘perfect’ mental state where there are no other thoughts but the motion of the broom and the movement of the bristles on the ground. Sounds easy – but it’s far more difficult than you can imagine.

Think of the last time you were doing the cleaning of any sort; it is doubtful you were focused solely on the job at hand. You were likely replaying a conversation in your mind, remembering a moment from the last week or shifting gears to the future and planning your next activity, the meal you are dying for or that TV show you can’t wait to see.

The point is, as humans, we couldn’t be further from the mindset of the Zen Monk. We rarely live in the moment; we are consumed by past and future, and we all seem to fail when it comes to stopping to smell the roses.

As radio folk, we are guilty of this too.

Programmers spend their days pouring over ratings and research to fully understand what was, or feverishly planning the ‘next big thing’ to shape what will be.

Morning shows busily dissect the best breaks after they air and try not to talk over each other within the break, as they fight the urge to speak their mind rather than listen.

Solo announcers frantically edit calls and plan talk breaks to fit seamlessly over song intros. No one is smelling the roses.

Success doesn’t necessarily depend on it – but stations sound so much more in the moment and part of the fabric of the market when they live in the now.

Morning shows that talk about the big topics of the day, the ones that are already in listener’s minds, are so much easier to consume than the shows that demand unrealistic audience attention and take them on long complicated journeys.

Solo jocks who seek to connect – not just entertain, are the most compelling.

Stop. Grab a broom. Let the station breathe Bring the moment to life.

Know what makes today, today.

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Dave Smith
28 Jun 2017 - 11:47 am

Abso..bloody..lutely !
Couldn’t agree more Ronnie, Creating an emotional connection is critical in all aspects of content generation, especially one on one communication.
It doesn’t have to be a listener hanging on every word, laughing hysterically or even being incensed, something as simple as a nod or a wry smile is acknowledgement from a listener that they’re connecting in some way. Solo music jocks have it harder as they only have 15-30 seconds to make that connection but by constantly honing their craft and finding ways to make their content relatable and connecting via things like the weather (head to the beach, rug up for the footy real footy Ronnie, go for a run etc ) or the emotion a great song can bring and most importantly I believe in Valerie Geller’s principle of substituting “I” “for “You”, For instance instead of “I got absolutely drowned in that storm today” “Did you get caught in that huge storm today” ? Or instead of doing a live cross with “I’m down here at The Royal Show having a great time” try “If you get the chance grab the family and meet us here at the Royal Show. With practise an emotional connection can be made on so many levels and it works.


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