The celebration of work done in our business must not be underestimated.
We have extraordinarily little, collective opportunity as an industry, by no fault other than our own, to get together and just catch-up on careers, station shenanigans and things going on at an operational and talent level.
It is also an opportunity for ‘the brass’, boards and bosses to be in a room with our industry and for a variety of industry supporters to also partake in the celebrations.
The Radio Awards have always been one of the ‘safe spaces’ for industry socialising, and it was a pleasure to join the industry at the recently rebranded Telkom Radio Awards.
I was fortunate enough to be inducted to The Bright Stars Club in 2012. Do I include this in my profile? Absolutely. Has it made a difference in my career? Probably not.
There is no doubt in my mind that I worked tirelessly in the 15 years leading up to being awarded and one does feel rewarded when you recognised by a group of your peers. The reality is in the 11 years following the award, no one has asked to see a certified copy of the certificate.
It’s like being in the first hockey, netball or soccer team when a derby is being played, a real moment to shine, but it’s only a moment.
Winning is a choice, make the right one. ~Tim Zunckel
The question is what are you doing about the other moments? The thousands of moments that are an opportunity to connect with your audience in a year. Those moments that didn’t make it into your submission. Those moments where we can add value, make a difference, shift perceptions, plant a seed, be the silent hero, wipe a tear or make someone laugh.
Your career is not a six-minute submission
Your career is not a six-minute submission. Your audience deserve more than that. Worry less about the person who walked away with what you thought should have been awarded to you, and busy yourself with the prep for your next show, OB, live-read or client / audience interactions.
The reality is you need to try and make everything you do good enough to be put in that special ‘radio awards’ folder.
In the years that I submitted for the radio stations I worked with material I always thought about that “magic” that would give our station the edge, the additional push to get to the line before the competition. The “magic” in this instance is excellence and consistency.
You need to strive for excellence in every piece of prep, link, show, week of shows and month of shows. Everyone at your station must operate with excellence and consistently. In my mind when you operate with that mindset the game changes and so do your results, but it is less important because you’re winning daily.
Are your clients and audience winning?
In 2023, as in previous years, there have been some notable absent players from the awards. Some of them individual presenters, entire stations, or pockets within radio groups.
Does their absence mean they are not striving for consistent excellence on their platforms? Does the audience care that their favourite presenter is not a nominee? Did the show suffer a revenue loss because they never submitted their six minutes?
In the several years when I was still on the judging panel of the awards, I often wondered what the material that wasn’t submitted sounded like, only because of the shit show packaged into the six minutes I was listening to.
Are you the best on your station, in your cluster, your province and available listening dial? Are you winning every day and more importantly are your clients and audience winning every day?
I thoroughly enjoy the bravado that happens when the nominees are announced and better yet when the winners are crowned, even more so I enjoy tuning in to see if we’re delivering on that bravado. It’s great to see my timeline flooded with congratulations and pictures of awards and colleagues celebrating them.
We need radio awards
Do we need awards? Absolutely. Do we need to support them? Definitely. Do the awards (still) need refining? Yes. Are there winners that should be losers? Yes.
Irrespective of the awards, make sure you set out to win every time you practice your craft. From editing a voice note, sending a prize, doing a field report, scheduling content or doing a breakfast show. Winning is a choice, make the right one.
Till we meet again at the Telkom Radio Awards in 2024, let’s continue to celebrate the small victories that make this the best business to work in.
Tim Zunckel is an audio ambassador and lover of stories. He currently works for Internews as the regional media business advisor for Africa.