On the day I’m writing this tip, I just heard from my buddy Mancow Muller in Chicago. He’s not just an outstanding talent, but he also lives a very interesting life, seemingly knows everyone, and always has great stories to tell.
Tonight he’s having dinner with The Moody Blues (I love them), and radio genius Lee Abrams.
Lee and I go back to 1973 in Chicago, later worked in Cleveland together, and have stayed friends all this time. If you’re not familiar with Lee, just Google him. His accomplishments are amazing, but the things I remember most about being around Lee are (1) he was encouraging, but still mindful of what a talent needed to do to get to a higher level, and (2) he always, always, always, worded everything in positive language.
“Don’t miss this one” became “Make sure to see this one,” for instance. Our weather forecasts didn’t say “partly cloudy.” We said “partly sunny” or (even better) “some sunshine,” etc.
This carried forward into the hallways, too. There were no negative thoughts in a coaching session with Lee – ever.
For example, once, in Chicago, Lee wrote a post-aircheck session recap to the wonderful Gary Gears. Lee assured him that he was going to be the most popular afternoon drive jock in the country, praised all the gifts that Gary brought to the table, etc. Then at the bottom, Lee added:
P. S. Of course, learning to run the board is a prerequisite.
I miss that time with Lee, and wonder how many stations now even THINK about things like whether something is worded as a positive or a negative, and whether board work even MATTERS.
The radio is full of sloppy, uncaring, slamming-things-on-top-of-one-another board work everywhere now. It’s tempting to fall back on the easiest excuse: “It’s because the computer runs everything.” But remember, your listeners hear this, too.
So let me channel Lee Abrams now and put it this way: We can CHANGE that.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.