Seeking balance is critical in today’s hectic and chaotic life. I spent years in a cycle of chaos of my own making until I was forced to stop due to a health crisis. This led me to find a new purpose in teaching and guiding others to slow down and enjoy the journey.
Making time to enjoy life allows you to improve your mental health and increases your ability to focus and succeed under pressure. I’ve learned that, for me, having a “ritual” or “routine” each day keeps me balanced. Part of my strategic plan for balance includes the way I begin my day. I am fortunate to live in an area that offers public walking trails in a park-like setting, so part of my morning ritual is to go for a walk and prepare my mind ‒ and heart ‒ for the day ahead while listening to music or audiobooks.
While I was out walking the other morning, I listened to a selection of my favorite tunes and came upon the Huey Lewis and the News song, The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In a previous column I shared about the psychological benefits of nostalgia and how it can improve mood and reduce stress. I have witnessed it many times with clients. And I must confess; I love pop music with all its nostalgia, especially the songs of my youth. Dick Clark said, “Music is the Soundtrack of Our Lives.”
The positive feedback I’ve gotten from this column has me constantly thinking about how to address the next topic, so as I was on this walk contemplating what to share based on some emails and conversations, Huey Lewis blasted through my earbuds. I felt a rush of nostalgia and began to be-bop to the tune. Then came the lyrics, and I realized we could replace the words “rock and roll” with “radio”!
Try it for yourself. Listen to all the hot [radio] markets listed in the song, and feel the energy! I guarantee that it will give you the attitude adjustment that will improve your mood.
They say the heart of [radio] is still beatin’
And from what I’ve seen, I believe ‘em
Now, the old boy may be barely breathin’
But the heart of [radio], the heart of [radio] is still beatin’
The heart of radio is still beating.
People love radio; they are just distracted by digital media trends. Recent industry reports show that plenty of consumers spend time with radio. Radio is still perceived as a glamorous field, and I’ve witnessed it firsthand throughout my entire career. No matter where I go, when I speak about a career in radio, people are intrigued. I’ve been on the speaker/trainer circuit for quite a few years and presentations always include storytelling to drive home a point. Naturally I tell my stories of experiences in radio. I share about my insecurities and inexperience in the early days, the mistakes and failures that taught me invaluable lessons. And although I had the best instruction and coaching, it still took time and real life experiences to gain the skills necessary to be successful. I share about a variety of humbling occurrences as I honed my talents in sales, announcing, operations and leadership. I also teach how growth occurred for me when I made the decision to learn, and not to quit. But the main point I want to share with you is that the audience is mesmerized by radio stories. Radio is still glamorous to the general radio listener.
And now as I continue to engage more with people in radio about the state of mind in the industry, it’s really important to acknowledge that the heart of radio is still beating. I began speaking out about it years ago and have heard the idea echoed by many colleagues ‒ “radio was the first social medium.” This is true, and as we watch how online and digital media has evolved, we see trends, collect important data, monitor ad spending, and perpetually look for “the next big thing.”
Radio is not a fad; radio is a constant.
The recent notice of layoffs at Pandora caused me to think about a conversation I had with Communications Professor Mike Laponis of the University of Laverne in California. He said that at the beginning of each semester, he asks his students about their listening habits. “Two years ago, it was Pandora. This year and last, it’s Spotify. Who knows what will be trendy next year?” he said. To me the Pandora layoff made sense; the audience had diverted to another platform. But where are the radio listeners going?
The data proves that radio is still very viable for listeners and advertisers. The next question is, “Why do the people in the radio business still feel the fear of failure? What will it take to flip that attitude?” Radio isn’t a fad; radio has been providing quality user experiences since before any other electronic or digital media. It may be “the old boy” as we can reference in the Huey Lewis song, but it isn’t barely breathing. The heart of radio is still beating!
Put your own heart into it!
Yes, technological advances impact digital media and consumerism, just as they impact the medical and mental health fields, and nearly every arena of life. Studies have proven that the integration of positive psychology, neuroscience, and new therapeutic developments have advanced as well. Positive emotions have an effect on the neurotransmitters and biological functioning of the brain and nerve centers in the human body. These positive thoughts and feelings have a way of rewiring our brains. Psychologists and medical scientists have proven that just as nostalgia can increase positive emotions and improve mood, so can the feelings of love.
Love is one of the six Universal Human Needs identified in strategic therapy/coaching. Many philosophers, psychologists, and theorists agree that there are only two fundamental emotions ‒ fear and love. Loving includes caring, and that means allowing for balance in your organization. Love-based emotions are happiness, passion, joy, peace, and so on.
There is a spectrum of emotions between fear and love. Balance is necessary to achieve success in life, relationships and work. Remember, fear isn’t necessarily detrimental, as long as you face it and own what you fear. Fear-based emotions are anger, anxiety, jealousy, frustration, and so on.
In order to flip the format on fear and its potential negative byproducts, we need to practice more of the positive side of the emotions scale ‒ love. Listening to music, especially songs that stir up positive feelings, is an excellent way to improve mood, spark creativity, increase energy, and balance emotions.
Love your people and they will love you back.
Love doesn’t always imply something romantic. Love is a positive emotion, so simply consider love and fear as positive vs. negative. When you increase positivity in your own mindset and offer positive thoughts and feelings toward your team, you begin to shift the mood and tone in your organizational culture in a new direction. This will result in a very positive return on your investment, by way of an increase of engagement and productivity among your team.
So, remind yourself that radio is not a trend or fad, and although there are new challenges, the industry has always been able to reinvigorate its positive energy. Your influence can actually transform your team, giving them what they need to know and feel about their industry, their career, and their contribution. The heart of radio is still beating.
* 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 industry executives in times of trouble, turmoil and transition, to help them stress-proof their leadership. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.