Listen To The Music

What a concept!

I’m not sure whether it’s because of multi-tasking, or voice-tracking, or the pure boredom of computerized boards, but I rarely hear air talent endorse their own music, even new music, and regardless of format.

There was a time when the jock’s personal endorsement of a song added to your own enjoyment of hearing it. Knowing that John “Records” Landecker loved a song that you loved too conferred a sort of acceptance or status somehow.

It’s the same principle Apple has used to become the most valuable brand in the world, known as the theory of social identity — and I’ll go into it in more depth in next Tuesday’s post.

Air talent was coached to always introduce and endorse new music, to make it more acceptable, to smooth its entry onto the playlist.

Now it’s rare to hear any sort of personal passion for any song played on any station. In fact, I can listen to some stations for hours without hearing one comment about any of the songs — beyond the usual generic boasts about “best” and “most.”

It’s almost as if the air talent isn’t actually listening to any of the songs s/he is playing, the very songs that attract listeners to their station.

How can this be a good thing?

When you reach the point where you can’t stand to listen to your own station, it’s time to move on.

When you have to turn down the speakers in the studio so you can watch TV, or lay down voice-tracks for another market, or read a book, or whatever the heck it is you’re doing, it’s limiting the possibility of making an emotional connection with a listener.

Why? Because lots of listeners feel a personal connection to the lyrics, the message of a song, and when you do too, it signifies that you are like them.

It’s a signal that you’re part of their group.

I’m not suggesting you fake it. It has to be authentic, and if it can’t be, you’re in the wrong business, or at least on the wrong station.

Listeners love your station partly because they love lots of the songs you play.

Tap into that passion now and then. Turn off the studio TV. Shut the laptop and ignore Facebook and Twitter for 4 minutes, and turn up the speakers and listen to the song you’re playing.

Listen to the music. Share the love you feel for the songs you love.

How can that be a bad thing?