The 5 Lessons of Don and Bernie

Not to be confused with Burt & Ernie


If you’re expecting a political rant, you’ll be disappointed. I hate politics.

This political season, in particular, is embarrassing to our reputation, and when friends overseas ask me to explain what is happening right now in America, I have to confess, “I don’t know.”

The presidential candidates drawing the biggest, most passionate crowds are an unlikely duo.

One, a narcissistic, misogynistic, racist blowhard and bully; the other, a stooped, rumpled, grumpy, self-described “socialist” from one of the least-populated states in America.

So there are lessons to be learned here, I think, for air talent.

First, the fact that neither of them is a “typical,” “normal” politician is refreshing. It’s part of their appeal. Neither is what we expect of our presidential candidates.

Second, they’re not following format. They’re saying things we’re not used to hearing, so we actually listen for a change.

Third, they feel authentic. People keep asking how Trump can keep winning when he says such outrageous things. They wonder at the passion Bernie evokes. It’s because they seem to believe what they’re saying They don’t feel rehearsed.

Fourth, each is dangerous in his own way. We’re not sure what will happen nor what they will say next, and that creates heightened anticipation and interest.

And last, but certainly not least, they appeal directly to our emotions rather than our logic. They make us feel strongly.

The less like a “typical DJ” you are, the better.

The more you do and say things that surprise me, that I’m not expecting, the more I will notice and pay attention to you.

The less scripted you sound (and yes, I mean liners) the greater your chances at sounding like a real person.

The occasional “dangerous” outburst or stunt goes a long way in keeping me coming back. I want to see and hear what you’ll do next.

If you make me feel strongly, I will remember you, and if I remember you, I’m more likely to listen again tomorrow.

No matter how this turns out, there are lessons here. We’d be foolish to ignore them.