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Self Inflicted Injuries…

 

Valentine in the Morning

MYfm, Los Angeles

Our thoughts on the MYfm morning show.

Bob Christy:

I listened like a listener this morning at 6:20. I poured my third cup of coffee, turned on the radio and the first thing I heard was Valentine having a long conversation with a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. Valentine let her talk, she got into what a nice and good man her husband is, but she just isn’t in love with him. Valentine got too close to being an amateur psychologist, but he didn’t push it. He didn’t make fun of her predicament. Valentine ended it nicely, and I came away thinking “Wow, he isn’t an asshole!” Good start.

George Johns:

I agree, Bob, he’s warm, friendly, and very female-oriented. The problem I had with Valentine’s topics when I listened, was none of them had a killer close. Nothing he did stuck, so there was no way I could go to work and say, “Hey did you hear what Valentine said this morning?”

Bob Christy

From that nice, first class start, MYfm went to a massive bunch of commercials. The third or 4th spot was very low. Almost, inaudible. Traffic was read at high speed, it sounded like one long sentence without punctuation. Brutal. If you’re going to do traffic, why throw it away? I’d bet even the most hardcore Valentine listeners tune in KNX or somewhere else for traffic, what they get from MYfm is useless.

George Johns:

The thing about the morning show, is  true of the rest of MYfm, they’re not balanced. They clump all the talk together and then cluster the music too. If I was doing it, I would put the topic, the spots and a tune all together in a segment and then continue around the clock the same way.

Bob Christy:

After a few tunes, more calls on relationship problems. One woman sounded like she was making shit up. Valentine handled her well. I found myself thinking this guy is good. Valentine is the always hard to find ” nice guy on the radio”. Too many morning guys sound like the kind of person, who if they sat next to you at a bar, you’d move.

Geo Johns:

“Nice guy sounding” is Valentine’s gift, he need not work on that, but what he does need to work on, is making me see what he says. Seeing, as 85% of communication is done with the eyes,  broadcasters and authors have to paint pictures. Valentine doesn’t do that at all, so no radio hall of fame for him.

Bob Christy:

Cakes came out on the porch just as one of the calls ended. Valentine’s sidekick Jill was doing the ever present “woman/girl on the radio laugh”. Cakes said “Why do they always do that stupid laugh?” I don’t know, Honey.

George Johns:

I think the giggle chick sidekick era is over, Bob. Valentine needs to use his staff as more than his in studio audience. He should be interviewing things out of them, asking them the things he can’t say because of his image. He’s the one wearing the white hat the rest don’t have to.

Bob Christy:

Valentine’s show could be so much better. He needs to be in a better environment.   You don’t need to do music sweeps in AM drive. Let Valentine be Valentine. That’s on the PD or Brand Manager, not Valentine. Here’s another thing. The Dodgers won the NL West for the 6th straight year. Never mentioned! Rain in the forecast for the first time in months and months. Never mentioned! And sweet sleeping Jesus, slow the traffic woman down!

 

George Johns:

The only thing local on the morning show Bob is the traffic, but it goes by so fast that you don’t really hear it. The show is pleasant enough, but great morning shows are only understood by the listeners who live in that town. You could drop Valentines show into any town.

Bob Christy:

We we talking the other day about the great radio CEO and innovator George Wilson. When George went to rehab at Hazelden outside of Minneapolis, he said he was excited to be able to listen to WCCO. CCO had been dominate in the Twin Cities since the station signed on in 1921. Wilson said he turned it on one morning and he didn’t understand what Boone and Erickson were talking about. WCCO was all about Minneapolis and St. Paul. The only thing George recognized on the station were the sportscasts, because he knew the names of the teams. When he got out of rehab he beat his Bartel GMS and PDS into  making their stations local, local, local and then more local. Wilson got dry at Hazelden and got religion about being all about your market. HIs “Q” stations all had the same format, but they all sounded different because they were targeted right at their market.

George Johns:

Too bad Wilson had to learn how radio worked by going to rehab. You and I learned how radio worked from what caused George to go there. All that counts is being local. In fact, when I first moved to San Diego, I didn’t understand the jargon. They referred to areas as PB, TJ, the Strand, OB, the Murph, the Gaslamp District, Etc. You had to live there to understand what it meant. If you didn’t use those terms you were from out of town. Most of the LA stations got into San Diego loud and clear but nobody listened to them They didn’t talk about San Diego.

Bob Christy:

George, we’ve both been around morning shows running as many as 21 units in an hour, we somehow figured how to make the show sound uncluttered. MYfm needs to decide whether they are going to be a personality driven show from 6 to 9 or keep trying to split the baby. It’s schizophrenic.

Geo:

Yeah, it doesn’t really matter what the unit count is Bob, you have to figure out how to balance it. In fact all you need is the formula that movies, TV sitcoms,  broadway plays and all the guys I was lucky enough to work with who are in the radio hall of fame use. Attention getting opening, a little drama and a killer close. All Valentine has is a little drama which is the least important part.

The way I’ve always taught it Bobby, break by break is;

1. What’s it like outside.

2. What’s going on in the area.

3. What’s the station or one of it’s staff members doing.

4. Your own topic

5. Start over at #1

Bob Christy:

I’d love to hear Valentine working on a show formatted for his strengths. You and I have discussed many times how you can you use the various elements to punctuate, bits, phone calls. He could set up a call from Jody in North Hollywood this way:

“I’ve got Jody on the phone, she lives in North Hollywood, Jody what’s going on?”

“My neighbor’s cat jumps across to my balcony to poop.”

“What?” Jill says (no laughing, btw)

“Have you talked to your neighbor about it?” Valentine asks.

“She doesn’t believe me.”

“Probably doesn’t want to. (Jill could say, “I wouldn’t want to know either.”) Have you got her number?”

“Sure do.”

“Give it to me while we check traffic, I’ll call her for you, Okay?”

“Great. It’s a nice cat named Fritzie and I love cats, but….”

“We’ll make that call for you Jody, it’s 7:18, sunny with a high of 78 today in the valleys, cooler on the beaches. Air quality is supposed to be good. It’s Valentine in the Morning on MYfm, we’ll be back to solve Jody’s kitty troubles after a check on traffic.”

It would be really nice if the traffic person could mention Jody’s cat problem, too.

The perfect way to get rid of a few spots and the traffic and get the listener to hang on.

How would you handle it, George?

Geo Johns:

That works for me Bobby. All the morning folks I ever worked with, use the spots as a rim shot for a good punch line. It can even save some very bad, corny ones.

Bob Christy:

The PD or Brand Manager or who ever needs to sit down with Valentine every day and go through, at least one thing, good or bad. I remember when you got your hands on a script from the Letterman Show, all of the seemingly ad libbed material was scripted word for word.

George Johns:

Great morning shows can’t just wing it 20 hours a week. Valentine is good, with the right direction, he could be a great morning talent.

23 thoughts on “Self Inflicted Injuries…”

  1. A one time Indy 500 Radio Network announcer once told me covering racing was all about, “Who won, how fast, was anybody hurt.” Anything further was fleshing out the coverage. Your four points are good reminder of what really matters. I do sports talk radio in the morning and have been looking for a good way to seem to focus and freshen my act. Tnx.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, now get back to arguing about analytics in baseball! BB analytics (research) and the reliance on analytics in radio is a good comparison because when everyone is using analytics who wins? Comes down to individual performance right? In last years World Series, Darvish pitched well below his numbers and Janson threw one bad pitch.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That said, I’d be up for a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series. The last time they played each other in the World Series in 1916, the Dodger were named the Brooklyn Robins and they lost to the Sox 4 games to 1. There’s some dusty stats for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will use that, if it happens. In the meantime, MLB is finished here when the Cubs are done playing, according qualitative research. With no NFL or NBA teams in Iowa, we devote 3 minutes every half hour to national sports. The rest, outside of relatively short newscasts, focuses on local teams. The station has overtaken the News-Talk station in the market and is closing in on a couple of the FM music stations with men 35-54, which is our primary target demo.

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  3. George knows me, I am a record guy but love radio. The one thing that jumped out at me was your comment on the speed and “one long sentence” of the traffic reports. To me almost every station has that problem and it confuses me that the one major thing that concerns your in car listener is the road report. Why do it all if you leave the listener without the information they need, it only makes them angry at the reporter and station? Most traffic reports I hear are jumbled and I have difficulty processing what they have said. This is a major tune out factor for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Doug, Traffic sucks, people who commute daily knows it sucks and where it sucks because it never changes. What commuters need to know is the unusual situation like a truck on fire that has the 405 backed up from LAX to Long Beach.
      No sense in rattling all of the same old shit, report after report.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. When I first met you in Toronto Doug, all the stations had choppers in the sky and the reporters in them were stars because they were characters. None of them motor-mouthed it but I bet they do now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t get me started on traffic reports! The worst one I’ve heard was in Miami last week… British accent with rapid delivery? I didn’t understand a single word she said. Nor did I find out why I was stopped on I-95 for almost 15 minutes. My only clue to an accident up ahead was the sign on the ‘express lanes’ that suddenly went from $1.50 to 7 Bucks! 10 second report with 20 seconds for the 10 second spot! AHHHHHHGGGGGG!!!

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  5. Bobby, maybe we should listen to Boston next week and see how the music stations are handling the red-hot Sox, the, looks like they’re back again Patriots, not to mention the Bruins and Celtics who both look like contenders this year. What a town for sports talk huh, but even the folks who don’t give a shit, give a shit.

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  6. I worked cor Hefrel/HBC/Univision Radio here in Dallas, then LA for ten (13) years. During that time KLVE a:nd KSCA toggled the #1 spot 12+ for a reason: guidance from David F. Gleason, Bill Tanner, Pio Ferro, Maria Nava, and visits from Valerie Gellar. “Cucuy” and “Piolín” on KSCA “La Nueva 101.9” had traffic girls. They were an integral part of the show, often being the butt of their jokes. Unlike other morning shows they were not a laugh-track. KLVE is the biggest secret in LA: it’s been AC in English then Spanish since the it was KPSA in the early 70’s. 98% of the “gringos” here have never heard of them. Along with Classical KUSC, they have both had the same calls and basic formats for *decades*. No one else can say that.

    Also a note to Bruce.B. (formerly Jim E. in another life) re: audio processing…in my 13+ years in Hispanic radio, we spent maybe 5 minutes discussing audio processing with Dr. Gleason & Bill Tanner in our shop in Dallas the day our new Orban Optimod 8200 arrived. “You know what you’re doing. Make us sound good so it isn’t fatiguing and won’t run off our cume and AQH listeners”. I put these boxes on several stations, set them up, and walked away. Unlike DFW radio with illegal overmodulation and all the stations squashed like an armadillo on a farm road, LA historically has sounded very good, yet competitive, and never fatiguing. All are FCC-legal. There were always way too many more important things we’d discuss, fight over, or obsess about, but audio proceasing was never one of them. Now in general market radio here, a certain mid-dial FM might go back and corth for days arguing, and achieve no discernable result other than waste valuable time.

    GO DODGERS!!!!

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    1. Hoping for a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series!

      My Spanish sucks, (I read it better than speak it) What I have noticed about the stations you mentioned here in LA is they sound like they are having fun on the radio and they are laser focused on their audience. Hmm, is there a lesson there?

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