The 11th Commandment: Know Thy Audience

Posted on January 17, 2012


God’s Show Prep

It seems like God had a pretty good idea who his audience was when he gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

He was addressing a group of people who were wandering the desert without much guidance; not a single smart phone in the bunch.

So a list of solid, easy to follow guidelines was probably the right message for his audience.

Fast forward to today and a post on the Boston Herald’s Media Biz Blog where writer Jessica Heslam  is critical of Entercom CEO David Field for a memo he sent to the company’s employees. In the note, Field talks about how his experiences on a recent African safari really galvanized him to work harder as we head into 2012.

Heslam feels that the note is inappropriate. She sees is as bragging to discuss an expensive trip considering the layoffs and pay cuts the company has gone through during the recent financial downturn.

I’m not going to comment on whether Field’s note was appropriate or not. I will assume that he knows his audience, Entercom employees, better than a Boston media writer.

Regardless, Heslam’s comments are a good reminder of an important commandment many airtalent break frequently: Know Thy Audience.

Too often I hear hosts who are familiar with the details of a particular subject fail to take into account that their audience doesn’t have the same knowledge base. Remember, they get paid to do other jobs while you get paid to study current events and prepare for your show.

So often these misguided hosts discuss the minute details of a topic without ever clearly explaining the situations or sharing enough information for listeners to be able to follow along.

Know thy Audience.

Worse yet I hear hosts bragging about hanging out with musicians and big stars instead of finding ways to share that experience with their listeners.

Hearing about the wonderful life you get to lead because of your particular job is not endearing to the majority of your listeners who, as opposed to you, actually work for a living.

I say again: Know thy Audience!

Now go forth and multiply your ratings.