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The Midweek Motivator – Memory We Don’t Remember

Have you ever been at a social gathering where you’re clustered in a corner with a few colleagues? Ambient music is playing and several groups of friends are spaced around the room? Not “loud” really, just social noise with some music filling the spaces. Suddenly you hear your name filtering through. And, how many times have you stood in a lobby waiting for an event to start and the same process occurs? A low-level mention floats from several feet away whereby something someone said cuts through to your receptors.

Unmistakably, somehow you hear your name floating out over a room and the guests! There’s an explanation: the “Reticular Activating System” (RAS) refers to the brainstem’s reticular formation which plays a crucial role in our sensory arousal; awareness, consciousness, even motivation. It’s an amazing gift! Scientists even suggest you can “train” your RAS by taking your subconscious thoughts and marrying them to your conscious thinking.
What does this have to do with those of us performing in the media? A lot! Some of the best talents I’ve worked-with possess an especially keen sense of “Reticular Activation”.

Since learning about this concept while participating in a Lou Tice seminar several years ago, I thought about the very top-tier radio talent with whom I’ve worked, and how most of them mastered this discipline (whether or not they recognized the terminology).

While working in Dallas-Ft. Worth once riding to a meeting with a great local talent, I noticed a small note pad on his car’s console. He told me he kept it there in the event he drove by something worth saving for show content. Simply brilliant…brilliantly simple!

Worth noting that even in today’s frenetic performing environment the content that made those legendary superstars exceptional, never happened by accident! They say Ross Britton carried a stopwatch in his pocket. Guys like Danny Nevereth (Buffalo), Magic Christian, Bruce Buchannan and Bill Gardner (Texas) attacked show preparation with simple but relentless commitment. Why? Because they had learned taking note of people, places, and a wide-view of “life going by” afforded them an unfair performing edge over competitors who simply winged it.

In fact many never subscribed to a content prep-service if for no other reason than they didn’t need one. Later while doing mornings on a large Michigan regional contemporary FM, I borrowed everything those iconic people had taught me: “Work from your listeners-back, DON’T sound like the ‘disc jockeys’ portrayed in Movies, and above all, converse one-to-one, even though thousands are listening!”

If you’re a radio talent imbued with “The Crisis to Perform” you won’t find intimate one-to-one content in a prep-service. While there are some very good services that can top-off your tank, nothing can replace nor eclipse “eye contact” through visual content referencing of the people and places around you. 

A simple remark over a ramp such as, “The crew reporting-in this morning at the 3rd floor Nurses’ station over at North Collier, asked us to play some Ariana Grande, just to set the mood…” Once committed to it, exceptional content becomes real, high-touch, and it’s easy!