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Hey Broadcasters, Let Me Tell You a Story – a Q&A with Andy Goodman

A No-Nonsense Marketing Smart Tip July 26, 2005

This is a story about a guy who, after founding the American Comedy Network and co-writing the pilot episode of The Nanny, discovers his life’s true calling. His name is Andy Goodman and he’s now a communications consultant specializing in helping public interest groups, foundations, and progressive businesses communicate more effectively. And the method Andy specializes in is storytelling. What can Radio learn from a man who knows a good tale and how to spin it?

Listen to my complete interview with Andy (13 minutes). If you want more information about Andy or to contact him, visit his company’s website.


What does storytelling have to do with Radio and the marketing of Radio?

In general, people understand and relate to stories. Advertising and commercials that tell stories are more appealing than throwing listeners a bunch of numbers or benefits.

A morning show, for example, can have an ongoing story of the relationship between the host with his or her co-hosts. One of the reasons the Howard Stern show is so popular is there is a multi-character narrative going on there involving his personal life and his relationship with others in the studio. People are tuning in for the latest chapter in this story.

What about your morning show? What is the relationship between these people in and around your morning show, and what is the ongoing story between them?

In News/Talk, news that tells stories is more interesting to people. Radio is a very intimate medium, it’s a one-on-one medium. And we need to talk to one person at a time. One person telling a story to another is a very powerful, emotionally engaging experience. So Radio is a terrific medium for storytelling.

What Makes a Good Story?

Good stories have a point. There’s a reason you tell it. By the end of the story you should know why you told it.

Somebody wants something, goes after it, runs into problems, tries to figure out a way around those problems and either does or doesn’t, but ends up at a point that’s different from where they started. That’s the basic structure of storytelling. Somebody’s got to go after something and run into a problem. Otherwise it’s not a story, it’s just a sequence of events.

And a good story isn’t necessarily a long one. Good storytelling is concise, but colorful. One or two minutes is not too much to ask in a single break.

How can Storytelling improve a station’s Marketing Efforts?

What’s the role of the station to the lives of the listeners? If, for example, I am your listen at work station that means I’m your friend or companion at work. What other things can I, the station, be doing to play that role and live that story? It’s not just what kind of music would be good for the background. What is the CHARACTER your station plays in the lives of the audience? What is the ROLE of your station in their lives?

How do you play that role and be part of that work story? You can’t sum this up in a several-word slogan. You have to LIVE the slogan. And LIVE UP to the slogan.

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