Your job – above all else – is to be a friend to your listener. Not a super jock, not a know-it-all…just a human being that your listener can relate to. (Would you make friends with a super jock or a know-it-all in real life? Well…not unless you were taking pity on them, right?)
If you want to be friendly and relevant, you need to live in the same world your target listener does. You need to know what the issues are. You need to know what people are buying, watching, downloading, drinking, playing….
Then, you’ll never run short of things to talk about!
But, I hear you ask, my personal convictions or my religious beliefs dictate that I should not live in their world.
Good point. However, your listener is not going to build a bridge to you. It’s your job to build a bridge to them. You can’t run away from it. Everything you say on air is going to be filtered through their cultural understanding. Modern culture is the connecting point. Use it to build that bridge, and then you can introduce a bit of reality.
Here’s a hint. Simply, take time to observe and learn. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, go to a bar with a friend, and sip an orange juice (if anyone asks, tell them there’s vodka in it). Observe what people do. Listen to what they are talking about.
Sit in a shopping mall or a park. Go window shopping. Get frustrated in peak hour traffic. Observe the cultural barometer of our times – the TV commercials! Read up on local issues. Take in the odd soap opera. Pick up a gossip magazine. Catch a movie. Listen in to talk radio. Keep up with technology. Read a best seller. Don’t be shy to chat with people you bump into. Listen, really listen.
But then, make sure you know which world you actually belong to. Take time to let yourself be refreshed, and remind yourself who you are.
So, just like Neo in The Matrix, you belong to one world, but you are living in the other.
Go build those bridges…and happy broadcasting.