Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Over Hype - The Core of Un-Authentic

In today's radio world we seem to gravitate to Hype almost naturally. Look at our positioning. There is hardly a station that can't avoid falling into- the BEST - The MOST or The Number 1 trap. The contesting is also filled with it - we can't just have the Winter Escape - it has to be The Ultimate Winter Escape. Then you look at the features, special programs and weekend themes and we've added another layer of hype. The air staff often falls into the 'sound' repeating the hyped up positioning with that 'extra' hype in their sell and fills the breaks even more fomatic hyped up billboards.

What really lies at the core of HYPE is making claims that you can't justify or that are subjective. Who is really 'the best?' Can you prove it with words? Rarely can you make claims like we do and expect the audience to ever really believe them. But, for years radio programming has followed the old marketing model. The reach and frequency game of repeat the same message so many times that it reaches the whole audience and then do it enough till it becomes drilled in. Hypnotize them and they will do anything or believe anything.

This game worked well when we only had a few media to work with and were not saturated with marketing. Now that we are swimming it in all the time and so much of it follows the reach and frequency hype model the audience is not believing it any more.

Getting rid of the HYPE in your station will be a tough task but one that you have to accomplish if you are going to stand up as a hip and credible brand with the under 40 year olds. Cleaning it out of your imaging, contesting, jock presentation and your marketing will take years. These habits run deep in our products and we won't get a lot of recognition for the efforts for a while. The audience expects hype from radio - it's become cliche.

OK so what happens if we commit to cleaning out out the hype - how do you sell the product to the audience? That's what we'll explore in the next segment building Authenticity Back Into Radio in a few days.

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