Radio Is All About Relationships

I must be the happiest, passionate and most peaceful person in radio today. And I don’t even work inside a radio station. “That’s why she’s so content,” I can almost hear you say; “she doesn’t live with the daily pressure that most of us broadcasters experience.” But I do understand your stress and angst. Before becoming a licensed psychotherapist in 2013, I spent more than 30 years in radio, including 20 years operating family-owned radio stations. Radio is in my blood, which is why I specialize in working closely with those in the industry, helping to provide them a much needed attitude adjustment.

I realize that you may be navigating budget and staff cuts, adapting to format changes, waging leadership battles, and dealing with regulations and even bankruptcies. But solutions to those significant challenges involve the need for productive relationships. For mutually beneficial relationships to occur, you’ve got to have a positive mindset and seek personal growth. When our attitudes are negative, building upon relationships will be fruitless.

Relationships matter.

For most broadcasters, attending conferences, conventions and trade shows has a great deal to do with their relationships with other broadcasters, attorneys, vendors and suppliers, as well as their own team. It’s an opportunity to learn, explore new innovations and ideas, hear from thought leaders, and network. Activities like these promote professional development, and oftentimes personal growth.

I attended the NAB Show again this year, this time with one message and one purpose ‒ to share the attitude adjustment that our industry needs. My philosophy is that “Radio is BadAss”! Yes, we face battles, but we are fit for the fight! The response I had was 100% positive and conversations were delightful and lively. Positive affirmations are helpful in changing our internal dialogue, for example, “I am strong; I am confident; I am successful; I am worthy.” The word “badass” is an affirmation that incorporates all these affirmations. For those I encountered at the NAB Show, it provided an instant attitude adjustment. As I worked my way through meetings, receptions and dinners, I repeatedly heard “I love this!” “I want that!” “This is so great.”

We need each other and networking is critical.

Networking is as easy as riding a bike for me because over the years I have developed the socializing skills that are critical in a group setting. I am now an active listener and a natural conversationalist. Please don’t think you might not have those skills! I was not always a natural communicator. An innate shyness – a tendency to be an introvert – is a part of me.  But becoming a radio personality at a very young age and the process of sales training have enabled me to develop skills that helped me become comfortable in a group setting, and even enjoy speaking in front of groups

Even if your social skills are great, conventions and conferences can be exhausting. When you ‘re attending multiple sessions or going from one cocktail party or reception to the next, meeting up with people you want to do business with or selling your products or programs, looking to buy equipment or stations or meeting up with your FCC attorney – these events can take a toll on your body and your spirit. If your mindset is bored, tired, or otherwise negative, it will increase the overall negativity of your experience. And it is not likely that you will develop constructive relationships. So, how can you maintain the kind of mindset that opens doors to new and deeper relationships?

Turn negatives into positives

Did I have anything negative occur for me during the NAB show? You bet! But I have learned how to turn negatives into positives. The first evening of the show I had two functions to attend, both within easy walking distance. Of course I was dressed for the occasions, wearing heels that I don’t normally wear in my day-to-day life. I was thrilled when I came upon a colleague that I’d been trying to connect with. She  was also attending the second event and we agreed to walk there together. I was happy to have this one-on-one time to establish a deeper relationship.

By the end of the evening I had a blister on the ball of my foot. You’d think I would have known better. But we all make errors in judgement in life’s incidentals as well as more consequential matters. The important thing is to learn from the mistake and consider how to use the experience to your advantage.

Developing relationships was the primary reason I attended the convention. How was I going to walk around the convention center the next day and see all the people I’d wanted to see? I tried walking through a few halls, but decided to plant myself in a busy hub and rescue my injured foot. I found a comfortable bench and utilized the outlet to charge my phone. But I didn’t bury my face in my phone. Instead I chose to be mindful of my surroundings. Too often we get engrossed in checking social media and emails, or scrolling the internet, and miss what is actually happening in our environment. Resist that tendency. A great way to stay connected with your environment is by people watching.

Just about everyone I wanted to see happened to walk through this hub on their way from one meeting to another. I was able to greet them, even laughing about the silly blister on my foot that prevented me from walking around. I also met a lot of new people; it is just as much fun ‒ and potentially rewarding ‒ as seeing old acquaintances that perhaps we see only once a year. Even the most casual conversation can lead to new business opportunities. It is always beneficial to learn from others and what they’re doing in their business. When you’re a problem solver, what may start out as a difficult experience can be turned into a positive experience because of how you choose to cope with it.

Radio’s Relationships and What They Mean for Revenue

Radio may be entertainment for listeners, but its product is relationships ‒ not only with listeners and the community, but also with advertisers, the source of our profits. Radio is personal and building relationships is essential to a profitable business model.

 Are you building upon your relationships in radio? Your future depends on it.

3 Quick Tips for Building Lasting Relationships in Radio

  • Sales training teaches us to “always be closing.” This includes asking questions to make sure the other person recognizes the value you can provide.
  • Too often, we listen to an individual’s concerns while thinking about how we’re going to react. This isn’t active listening; it is thinking about how to dispute a remark, or even attack the issue. Most people just want to be heard. Listen without judgement and without an automatic reply. Just listen. You’ll be amazed not only by what you hear, but also by how much more genuine your relationships will become.
  • Answer your messages. The higher your level in your company, the more people will want from you. Remember, they may also have something you need, but you don’t know it yet. Allow them to build a relationship with you by simply responding to their call or email. That little effort can make an enormous difference to your business, and ultimately to your profits.

The “badass” affirmation allows you to be mindful of your surroundings, open to other people’s ideas, and more confident in your decisions. This will produce positive results and profits. Remember, radio is about relationships. Build upon them and watch your revenue grow.

Kelly Orchard is a professional speaker, author and trainer. In addition to more than 30 years in the business of broadcasting, she has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. Kelly specializes in working with radio groups and individuals in times of trouble, turmoil and transition by creating a positive and profitable workplace. She is a 2008 graduate of the NABEF Broadcast Leadership Training Program, among others. She is also an FCC Compliance Specialist and licensed psychotherapist. Reach her at 

Kelly Orchard (Badass Certifier)

I've actually worked in organizations as an owner, manager, employee. I did it backwards but learned all I needed to know - at the time. Organizational Leadership training alerted me to methods. Psychology education taught me how individuals think and behave. Social Science taught me how people behave in groups. Bankruptcy, financial failures, divorce, single parenthood, health crisis, deaths in family. Public tragedies and crises. Fully exposed. I was not permitted to hide through it. Thank God it was only Victorville. I've overcome and rebuilt after multiple business and personal crises. I know what it takes to get up and grow through crisis, tragedy and discomfort.... I have an uncanny ability to cut through the layers of agendas and motives and get to the real issues. I can take a complex situation and find simple solutions.

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