3 Secrets Radio Personalities Don't Want You to Know

The Public Speaker talks with popular radio personality, Jeff Brown, host of the Read to Lead podcast, to learn secrets successful broadcasters won’t tell you.  

Lisa B. Marshall,
October 10, 2013
Episode #223

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Recently I caught up with Jeff Brown.  He’s an ex-radio guy with years of industry experience. These days, Jeff shares his love of reading with the world in his new and very successful podcast, Read to Lead.  

I invited Jeff to join me on this week's Public Speaker podcast to share with you the 3 secrets radio personalities don’t want you to know.   


In the past, getting into just about any creative field meant finding your way into the good graces of the powers that be.  Even if you eventually managed that, you still had to slowly and ploddingly work your way up the ladder. You had to prove yourself worthy first. In Jeff’s case, it took 8 years of working part-time, mostly overnights and weekends, before he landed his first full-time on-air gig and eventually Jeff went on to co-host a nationally-syndicated morning show for the last 6 years of his on-air career.

As you know, the internet has leveled the playing field for a number of industries, and broadcasting is no exception. Today, the only thing standing in your way of hosting your own show is you! Virtually anyone can launch a podcast and have the potential to be heard by tens of thousands, or even millions, of people.

But wait! I know what you're thinking. "If anyone can do it, doesn't this mean that a lot of marginally talented people are producing subpar content?" I can assure you that, yes, this is indeed true.

The way I look at that however, is that it just makes it easier for your awesome content to stand out!  As Seth Godin would say, "Instead of waiting to be picked. Pick yourself."

So let’s get started with Jeff’s top 3 secrets!  

Secret #1: Stop Trying to Please Everyone

Jeff: Early in my radio career, I worked for a station whose mission included reaching and impacting teens with positive music. Some felt we weren't doing a good job of serving this demographic, so we added specific songs, promotions and events to what we were already doing in hopes of better serving teenagers, while continuing to try and successfully serve our target demographic - the 28-year-old, married female). 

Unfortunately, not long after doing so, we noticed our overall listenership began to decline. This included continued struggles with attracting teenagers. 

After a while, we convinced the powers that be to reverse course. In doing so, we found that as we super served our target demographic - the largest piece of the market pie - with a laser-like focus, we enjoyed higher ratings in all demographics. In other words, by filtering everything we did with a specific individual in mind, we reached more people in all demographics, including teenagers. It sounds counter-intuitive, but by narrowly tailoring your content, you actually broaden your potential audience.

The wonderful thing about podcasting is no matter what your passion, you can probably build a podcast around it. If you do, approach your podcast with laser-like focus. Write down who your target listener is or who you desire them to be, even down to specifics traits or proclivities you think he or she might possess. Cut out an image from a magazine or newspaper that represents, as closely as possible, your target demographic. Then, tape that image to your computer screen or on the wall next to you. You're going to need it for the next secret.

Public Speaker: Great tip Jeff! Focus on your target demographic. What’s your next secret?   


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