Friday, April 24, 2015

The Dawn of a New Generation - Gen Z!?

Demographers are just now starting to declare the dawn of a new Generation.  It looks like they will be called Generation Z and they join the 4 other active Generations:
  • Traditionalists - Born pre 1945 40 or so Million U.S. population current ages - 70+
  • Boomers - Born 1946 to 1964 76 Million U.S. population, current ages 51 to 69
  • Gen X - Born 1965 to 1979 55 Million U.S. population current ages 37 to 50
  • Gen Y (Millennials) Born 1980 to 1994 U.S population 66 million current ages 21 to 36
  • Gen Z Born 1995 to 2009 U.S. population 61+ million current ages 6 to 20
Of course the actual divisions for Gen X, Y and Z are a bit subjective and many demographers debate the actual division years.  But this gives you a picture of their presence in the population and the age ranges they are currently living in.   

We are just starting to see what drives Generation Z.  They clearly grew up in a completely digital age and can tour the world on their phones, tablets and laptops with ease.  Since the Boomers grew up in a world of Jet Travel, Mass Communication with both Audio and Video, a world wide telephone system and the evolution of the car - we have seen advances on all these key communication points with every generation since.  

Take a look at some of the early traits and facts about Generation Z that sets them apart (click image to expand): 

There is a lot to take in with this graphic, but you can see a generation that lives in a very digital world.  Yes, radio has it's work cut out for itself to keep this Generation listening.  

If you'd like to catch some more in depth views on Generation Z check out this recent NY Times Article.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Keeping A Two Way Conversation With The Audience

Is your presence "just a nice voice on the station that hits all the positioning, surveillance, billboards and station liners?"  Or are you a personality that cuts through right to the audience and engages them with you, and the station?  Obviously, we know that the latter option here is the one that pays off and brings a lot more listeners to the party.   But, making that leap from 'just a voice on the station' to an 'engaging personalty' is a big step and one that many people never pull off.

When you hear a team, or an on air performer, that's bringing it on this level there is one key that nearly always stands out.  The team or personality is really having a CONVERSATION with the audience.  It's not a speech or a presentation, it's an interactive conversation.  It may be a conversation with their on-air partner about a topic or event, but the ones who really execute this content well are the ones that are making it a real 3 way conversation with the audience included.  They refer to them as if they were there in the room.  They use them a lot on the phone to fully join in.  They plan the break to include an audience POV into the conversation.

Instead of thinking of you and your partner, or just you on the air, as talking into the mics with the meters jumping in the studio- think of something more like this picture.

A small group or people engaging in a conversation.  It may be a very simple idea and one that may also seem very obvious, but listen to all the breaks you hear that are just about announcing - not about having a conversation.

Even if you only have 20 seconds till the PPM meter time bomb goes off with the audience, you still have enough time for a well planned quick conversation.