Everyday for 23
years Ray told Rhonda that he loved her. “I love you Rhonda” he’d
say as he’d head out the back door. “Love you too, Ray” she’d say
back. That was Rhonda and Ray. 23 years. Love you. Love you
too. A good marriage, but kinda dull.
At the start of
year 24. Ray walked out the back door without saying I love you.
Rhonda, who was
upstairs noticed the silence. Something was amiss. As she walked
down the stairs she was startled to find something strange at the
front door. Her cell phone was laying there. Suddenly it beeped.
And it displayed a message. Four simple words:
“Open the front
Outside was a
sixty gallon clay pot full of flowers. Tied around each flower was
a satiny silver ribbon with red script. Ribbons exclaiming “I Love
You, Rhonda!” Standing a few feet behind was Ray, who got down on
one knee and read Rhonda a love letter. Not once did that letter
have the words “I Love You Rhonda” in it. Instead it described his
love for her and their relationship in terms of a lovely bouquet
that he needed to help grow.
Rhonda fell more
in love with Ray that day, (and, hey, it was a
Rhonda and Ray
show a picture of what messaging is like on many Christian radio
stations. Most stations after deciding on a promotion, make a
message that tells their listeners just the basics. It’s the “I love
you, Rhonda” approach. Sure, it’s an important message, but it’s
common, un-exceptional, and it’s not going to result in a deep
It’s missing the
When people ask
me what I do as a Production Director, one of the things I say is:
“I get you to fall in love with my station.” How do I do that?
It’s by taking the idea of a promotion, or event, or of something
were “selling,” (and that includes giving to the station) and tying
it into a way that connects to her heart.
the last step. It’s taking “I Love You, Rhonda” and wrapping it in
a sixty gallon clay pot full of flowers. It’s figuring out the
message from a promotion and connecting it to production.
production is just the flowers, it’s “prettifying” the message,
using audio tricks to bring attention to it, but only if you have a
memorable message first.
So, with that
long introduction here’s my main message: Every month I’m
going to write something here to showcase the last step. Hopefully
with the goal of helping you think of ways to do better, more
memorable messaging that causes listeners to fall even more in love
with your station.
This is a good
stopping place to go check your e-mails. Maybe come back tomorrow
and finish this article then, because, since this is the first one,
I had to take time to do a set up. When you come back later you can
start at the following piece of audio, and read from there. In the
meantime, try an experiment. See if the story of Rhonda and Ray
sticks with you, try at least to remember this...
“The Last Step
means you try to say... more than ‘I Love You Rhonda, I Love You
Part 2 - Why
it’s better to not come right out and say it.
listening to the spot above. Kind of a “groner” wasn’t it? I’ll
get back to that in a moment.
In the meantime,
can I just say “Halloween stinks”
of us would use a word other than “stinks”)
It’s because we
have to deal with coming up with an “alternative” and no matter WHAT
we do, we’ll still have complaint calls from listeners who would
NEVER wear a costume, but are still just as grumpy as a six-year-old
who’s had a too tight rubber band on their Spiderman mask snap them
on the cheek.
So I won’t come
right out and say “Halloween S***s”
Just like I
won’t come right out and write a Light the Night spot that just says
“89.3 KSBJ presents ‘Light the Night,’ a Halloween Alternative for
you and your family. It’s a great way to introduce KSBJ to others.
Our website has all kinds of funny sayings that you can print out
and wrap on your candy. As you see your neighbors out under the
Milky Way on October 31st, give them something that will make them
Talk about a “groner.”
Now going back
to the spot above - yes, it is kind of a “groner” too, but only
because you’re not a KSBJ listener. Our listeners have a strong
emotional connection to Susan O’Donnell, and when she talked about
giving out 3 foot Pixy Stix on October 31st one year, I knew I had
the angle of how to show the light the night concept.
The spot is
about not hiding on Halloween, but about showing God’s light, and it
was a winner when I could use Susan’s personality to sell that
message. Her personality has a much stronger connection in the mind
of the listener than silly little candy wrappers, so I used that
connection to highlight them.
are all about connections. There is a reason that Jesus spoke in
parables. They’re word pictures that connect you to spiritual
concepts. Our challenges in life connect us to finding out about
God’s love for us. Even the Holy Spirit is God’s ultimate
connection to our Savior. I found this thought from J.I. Packer
that illuminates how this is part of the character of the Holy
Spirit. Packer says: “The Spirit stands behind us, throwing light
over our shoulder onto Jesus, who stands facing us. The Spirit’s
message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get
to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at Him, and see His glory; listen to
Him and hear His word; go to Him and have life; get to know Him and
taste His gift of joy and peace.”
ultimate light in a dark night. The Holy Spirit gives us insight,
and through that God becomes more real to us when we work to figure
And even though
it may seem counter intuitive, our messages to our listeners become
stronger in their minds when we don’t come right out and say them.
They become stronger when instead we illuminate them, and let their
brains make the connections.
Sterling Tarrant, the Production Director at KSBJ never had a
Spiderman costume. He had a home-made Superman costume, and just to
let you know...tights are not very warm on Halloween.
Also, after the Light the Night song came out, his 8-year-old
daughter asked him if Susan O’Donnell lived in that place on the
Gulf freeway that had the big rotating spotlight on it. He said no,
and quickly changed the subject so he wouldn’t have to explain what
an “adult establishment” was.
You can reach
him at either
firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website