Chances are, you’ve heard someone say the most powerful word in radio is “you.” I think that’s probably true, but I also think that—when used the right way—the second-most powerful word just might be “my.”
Most of us have come to chapters in life where we gain things we never planned to call our own. We start saying things like my ex-wife, or my addiction, or my miscarriage. You never asked for it, but it’s yours now.
If you have a my-statement like that, you’ve probably noticed that not everyone can handle hearing about it. Maybe they get visibly uncomfortable and offer unhelpful platitudes. Maybe they’re sympathetic in the moment, but never check in later to see how you’re handling it. Maybe they start avoiding you altogether.
Bottom line: Your my-statement can leave you feeling invisible. Part of you vanishes when you walk into a topic nobody wants to talk about.
This is where on-air talent has so much power. Because talking about stuff is what we do.
Sure, there are conversations to be had about exactly how to have these conversations on the air. Every station will have a philosophy on handling sensitive topics. It’s also important to avoid sharing something you’re not emotionally prepared to share.
All I’m suggesting is that you pay attention to the things that make you feel invisible. Because I guarantee you’re not the only one disappearing behind that my-statement.
Talk about the antidepressants. Share memories of the best friend who died suddenly. Will some listeners tell you they wish you wouldn’t bring those things up? Maybe. But there will also be listeners who realize they’re not alone. Your words can help lift that cloak of invisibility, even if it’s just a little bit.
Ironically enough, one of the things this audio-only format does best is to help people feel seen.
Taylor Hohulin co-hosts Mornings with Taylor and Jen at Northwestern Media’s Life 107.1 in Des Moines, where he also serves as Program Director.
You can contact him to chat radio or weird science fiction at Taylor@Life1071.Com