In the old Weird Al Yankovic movie, UHF (amazon affiliate link), the loose premise of the movie is that Al inherits a UHF tv channel that’s failing, and has to turn the ratings around to save the station. Soon, all kinds of strange shows come into existence, such as “Wheel of Fish,” a game show where you compete to win various fish (red snapper. Very tasty!). Their winning hit is a children’s show run by Stanley Spudowski, the station’s janitor (played by a pre-racist Michael Richards), with bits like letting kids drink from a fire hose.
It dawns on me that we are a world of fledgling tv stations.
People don’t exactly know what to share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, but we know we’re supposed to share something, because that’s what everyone else is doing. The last five posts I put up on Google+ at the time this article was written were:
- A reshare of an interview on how to use Google+ for business.
- A post about which video equipment I use to shoot my videos.
- A movie trailer for the upcoming Hunger Games movie.
- An announcement of doing 30 Days of Paleo with my girlfriend, Jacqueline Carly.
- A link to my blog post from yesterday.
Look at this, it’s almost thematic, except for the movie trailer. But that’s not typical for me. I’m just as willing to share a bunch of funny things or some comic book stories, or whatever else catches my fancy, because I, like several others, are still experimenting with what will make my TV station work.
Are You a Show or a Station?
When we think about programming our fledgling TV stations, I believe there are some differences from how the mainstream has done it for so many years, but also some similarities. First, and I suppose this should be answered before you go much further, are you a station or are you just one show? If you’re one show, then you should consider keeping your programming much tighter. You should consider making only content that appeals to the kinds of people who will watch that kind of show. If you’re a show about cooking, then post cooking content and pretty much only cooking content.
If you’re a station, then you have some flexibility. But even then, you might think about how this all lines up, but be just as wary as mainstream TV stations have become about boxing yourself in. There are several programs on the History Channel that don’t smack to me of history. AMC runs two or more original shows that aren’t American Movie Classics. So, be wary of getting too stuck in the premise of what your station airs.
The Goal of Your Station or Show
At the base of it all, what’s the goal of your station or your show? What are you trying to accomplish? Guy Kawasaki describes his method of populating his tweets and Google+ posting as being part NPR and part QVC. In recent months, he’s said more that he’s NPR, but with pledge drives. And this fits brilliantly with what his goals are for his business.
If I answered this question myself, my goals are what they’ve always been in this space: find useful/helpful material and share it with people, while also making myself available for further business opportunities. As a professional speaker and educator, a good part of my business comes from showing people that I have some unique perspectives for their business, and that I can help them attain business value from what I know how to do. To demonstrate that on social channels, I share some of my own information, but also points of interest with others. That’s not always how I use Google+ right now, but that’s because I’m still testing out the medium so that I can better inform others how it works.
Build Your Own Station
With that in mind, how do you view your own media making? Do you worry that you should be more buttoned up and stuck on one topic? (Hint: you don’t have to be – the new world likes humans more than shows, as my friend Steve Garfield says quite famously: “I subscribe to people.”) And what do you think your show should do for your audience, and ultimately, for you?
I’m tuned in for your answers.