≡ Menu

If you’re having trouble getting your copywriter, account executive or client to understand that you don’t get the most for your radio advertising dollar by cramming as much “stuff” as you can into a commercial, perhaps showing them this video will help.

Note: Please pause the video at 0:58.

Question: What does DealerOn do? What problem does DealerOn solve for its customers?

Answer:  Uh…Something about websites or leads, wasn’t it? And they won some awards for something?

They just had to brag about themselves as much as possible and list every element of their business they could think of.

How much of it do you remember? How much of it did you actually hear?

For any given audience, you need to stand for one thing, not many.

I don’t know what that one thing should be for DealerOn.

I do know what it shouldn’t be: their award winning website.

I guarantee that if I were to survey people in their industry who are familiar with the company, not one of them would say, “DealerOn? They’re known for their award winning website.”

But apparently their website won an award, so they’ve got to brag about it.

Now please resume watching the video and pause it at 2:30.

What do you now know about that speaker?

  • He started in the auto business at age 23.
  • In 2 years he was in the top 1% of car sales. (No explanation of what that actually means. The top 1% of car sales at a dealership? In a region? In the country?)
  • He’s famous in the auto industry.
  • He’s been talking about giving customers information, transparency and full disclosure long before “customer satisfaction” was even a term. (That is quite unlikely. Customer satisfaction surveys were being conducted as early as 1967. If he was using the term before then, it would have been before he was 9 years old.)
  • His company was first to market the e-pencil (and here’s a mini-commercial for the e-pencil).
  • He’s branching out into industries other than automotive.
  • He’s a New York Times best selling author.
  • He has a radio show.
  • He’s executive producer of a TV show you never heard of, plus a new series that’s about…um, something.
  • He’s worked with Morgan Stanley, Google, and the U.S. Army.
  • “You can find out more about him and everything he’s up to” at his website.

At 2:13, the woman reading the introduction loses her place and begins to repeat “credits” she’s already read. Why? Because she has so much crap to read and is trying to rush through it before the audience gives up and leaves. She doesn’t actually know what she’s reading; she’s too busy trying to get through it all.

Who is he again?

What one thing, for this audience, does he stand for?


Has no one told him that everyone knows he wrote that introduction?

Introducing a public speaker is an exercise in marketing. Successful marketing relies on delivering a single core message that the targeted audience grasps immediately.

I don’t know what one problem he can solve for that particular audience. But I guarantee very few of them woke up that morning with the problem of not knowing how to find out more him and everything he’s up to.

The lesson this video offers radio advertisers is:

Your commercial should have a single core message — the one thing you want the targeted consumer to hear, to understand, and remember.

I’m not familiar with DealerOn — and thanks to that verbose introduction I have no idea what they do — so I have no idea if they’re good at…y’know, at whatever it is they do.

I’m not familiar with Grant Cardone or his book, so I have no opinion about his expertise at all those things he’s so proud of, nor of his book.

Now you can watch the rest of the video. Who knows? Maybe you’ll love what you hear and buy his book.

The Following Has Nothing to Do with Marketing or Advertising.
But I Feel Obliged to Correct Two Misstatements in the Video.

1. When blackjack players who really know how to play win a hand, they don’t think, “I wish I had bet more.”

2. If you interview 800 people for a sales position, hire two of them, and keep only one of them, the problem isn’t that there are “too many average people.”

The problem is you don’t know how to attract, hire and keep great salespeople.

One solution is to order, listen to, and follow the steps laid out in HOW TO ATTRACT, HIRE & KEEP SALES SUPERSTARS.


Radio personalities and MentalistsMatt Hendrickson writes:

“I’ve been an announcer for over 10 years and I’ve done a good mix of voice tracking and live announcing. Currently, I voice-track our overnight show. Recently, I had a listener contact me via social media asking if I pre-record my show or do it live.   

“I recently read your posting about keeping the magic of radio alive and not necessarily telling our listeners all the technical details. I pride myself on trying to make my voice tracks sound as genuine as possible but my dilemma is do I tell this listener the truth and possibly jeopardize my credibility or do I fib and keep the image intact?”

You have a third choice: Obfuscate.

Give a response that isn’t untruthful and that doesn’t jeopardize your “live”-sounding credibility.

As any politician will tell you, being asked a direct question doesn’t obligate you to give a direct answer.

As an entertainer, of course, you undoubtedly have nobler motives than the politician.

Your dilemma is pretty much the same that mentalists (i.e., entertainers who create the illusion of mind reading, thought projection, etc.) face when asked, “Can you really read minds?”

Mentalists and “psychics” use the same bag of tricks. The primary difference between them is the “psychic” will look you right in the eye and declare, “Yes, I have psychic powers.”

The mentalist, on the other hand, is faced with the dilemma of either lying to someone or of telling the truth and, as a result, robbing his act of its sense of mystery and wonder (which in turn is likely to have a negative impact on his career).

That’s why most mentalists will give you an answer that is truthful but unhelpful:

“Well, I believe, as I think any neuroscientist will tell you, that people harness only a small percentage of the potential of the human brain. Some of us have devoted a lot more time and practice in order to achieve more of that potential, but I honestly believe that any mental or sensory abilities that I have acquired can be learned by almost anyone if they’re dedicated enough and willing to exercise their brains as they would any other muscle. It’s like anything else: The more you exercise your brain, the better the results you can expect to achieve. I’ve invested a lot more time and energy than most people in developing my abilities, but I really mean it when I say that anything you saw me do tonight is something that you probably could learn to do, too.”

Did that mentalist say anything that’s untrue? No.

Did that mentalist actually answer the question, “Can you really read minds?” No.

Is the person who asked the question satisfied with the answer? Yes, because she can read into it whatever she wants the answer to be. (Hint: She wants the answer to be “yes.”)

So if you don’t want to lie and you don’t want to lessen your audience’s experience, you can say something along the lines of:

“Great question; most people wouldn’t even think to ask that. Almost all radio shows are a mixture of live and prerecorded elements. I do a lot more work before my show actually goes on the air than most people would imagine, and that’s okay with me. If the show you hear is fun and entertaining, I’ve done my job. I’m sure most people don’t realize how much preparation I put into my show before it’s broadcast,  and there’s no reason they should. All that matters to them is that each night when they listen to my show, they’re getting me at my best for that evening. They don’t think about whether any particular moment was completely spontaneous or planned or even prerecorded; all that matters is that I always make the program as good as fresh and as entertaining as I can.”  

Obfuscation. It’s not just for politicians any more.

Social media resource: Using Social Media To Build Your Radio Station’s Brand by Mari Smith


First, let’s listen to the radio commercial.


Good opening. No mention of sponsor.

Quickly, however, it sounds as though it’s going to be a commercial for a hospital, and just as we’re ready to tune out she says, “…but my second love is swimming.”

Oh. Hmmm….I wonder where this is leading?

Oops! Here comes an announcer to push aside the real person who caught our attention.

The problem with the announcer VO isn’t the performance.

The problem is the structure of this spot.

We care about her, because she’s talking about her life. Her real life. Our natural empathetic response kicks in.

But despite his smooth voice, we don’t emphasize with the announcer. That’s because:

  • We long ago learned to associate that type of smooth “radio voice” not with “fellow human being” but instead with “commercial announcer.”
  • The announcer should be telling a story, but he’s not here as a storyteller. He’s here to read the words written by the radio copywriter.

Increasingly, the spot becomes less and less about the woman whose voice first attracted our attention and more and more about…the advertiser, of course.

At :21, the announcer refers to “the _____ medicine of the USC team.”

I have no idea what he said between “the” and “medicine.”

Neither do you, right?*

*Actually, I solved the mystery here.     

But the advertiser knows what the script says. So no one representing them listened to the finished spot critically, auditioning it to see not only if they “liked” it but also — much more importantly — if radio listeners could understand it.

Here’s How They Could Have Made This an Effective Radio Commercial

1. Have Dr. Beverly Gates deliver 90% of the message, with the announcer placating the advertiser with the “look how good we are” babble at the end, along with the two meaningless Calls to Action.

2. Get rid of that music bed.

It doesn’t add anything to the impact of the spot. It’s simply bland, nondescript, and “minimally invasive.”

What’s Wrong with the Music? It’s the Same as You Hear on a TV Infomercial.

Yep, you hear that kind of repetitive, twinkly boring music in TV infomercials.

But guess what?

During those TV infomercials, something is happening on-screen. Miracle knives are slicing through steel plates. Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers are scaling mountains.

Meanwhile, what does the radio audience see while the music bed conspires with the voice and copy to put them to sleep?


Still Think I’m Being Too Harsh?
Take this One-Question Test.

You’ve listened to the commercial.

That nice lady whose voice began the spot: What was it, precisely, that made it impossible for her to continue to swim?

Hey, the announcer told you exactly what it was. It’s your fault for not remembering…

…or, more accurately, for not having heard it in the first place.

{ 1 comment }


acx-audiobook-narratorsToday is the last day for you to join the Home Study version of our ACX Master Class.

Here are the first-person accounts of four more graduates of the class we taught earlier this year.

Elise Rooker is an actress whom you’ve probably seen if you happen to watch a particular hit TV show. She entered the class with lots of performing experience but absolutely no audio recording/editing experience.

Elise Rooker

In the 3 months since the ACX Master Class ended, Maxwell Zener has recorded 13 (!) audiobooks.

Maxwell Zener

When Tracy Tenney retired from the Air Force, she’d never recorded an audiobook….

Tracy Tenney

SPOILER ALERT! Jim Smith’s Skype video froze in the middle of the recording…but his voice continued to be recorded perfectly.

Jim Smith

Here’s where to register for the Home Study version of the ACX Master Class……before we close registration this evening.


Final Audiobook Teleseminar REPLAY

Here’s the audio replay of last night’s final audiobook Q&A teleseminar.

In it, we explain:

  • The most common home studio setup used by
    audiobook narrators
  • How you get paid on ACX
  • What most ACX narrators do wrong in their
  • Why “editing out your breaths” harms your work
  • The ultimate test of “Do I have what it takes to
    narrate audiobooks?”


The replay will be available until Friday…which also is your last chance to join our ACX Audiobook Master Class Home Study Course.

If getting paid to narrate audiobooks doesn’t really appeal to you — if it would be just another way to make money, but you wouldn’t particularly enjoy it — don’t join our class. Seriously.

On the other hand, if you would enjoy getting paid to tell all kinds of stories…

Click here to join us today. When our first class begins on Monday, you don’t want to be kicking yourself for not having taken decisive action.

P.S.  Graduates of the ACX Master Class have produced more than 350 audibooks now selling on Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes…

…in just 15 months.

Max Zener graduated just 3 months ago. This week he was hired to narrate his 13th audiobook:

ACX audiobook narrator class
13 audiobooks in 3 months. Hmmm.

Yes, you can do it.