LIFT Speaks Ep 23 with Chuck Finney: How Do You Capture the Attention of Your Audience?

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Chuck Finney with Finney Media, can tell a story that will stop you dead in your tracks.  He’s a master at understanding how to capture the attention of people who are distracted, busy or hurting. After many years of experience in radio, Chuck took the leap and started his own company helping businesses hone, communicate and deliver their message. 

I started my business because . . . prayer. It’s what I was made to do. And when I was laid off in 2009, it felt like that was the right time to get moving. It sure was.

The thing I enjoy most about my business is . . . the people. Our friends and clients who work in communicating uplifting, encouraging music and messages. And the team I’m blessed to work with. LOVE the collaboration.

The biggest surprise for me as a business owner is . . . how much I enjoy it. I would not have guessed that. I loved my work under others, but I love this so much more.

My advice to others considering starting a business is . . . Ask a lot of questions of successful, prayerful people. Look for honest answers.

One question people should ask me is . . . what my favorite sports team is. But you won’t get me to slow down on talking about the Xavier Musketeers. 😊

My older self would coach my younger self to . . . turn it off. Have start and end times for work. Still figuring that one out. 

One thing I wish I knew when I was younger is . . . humility. The older I get, the less I know. Again, still figuring this one out.

Introduction

Catherine Miller: Hi. I’m Catherine Miller. Welcome to LIFT Speaks. Today I’m visiting with Chuck Finney of Finney Media. Chuck is the Founder and the President of Finney Media. He has been in business for 10 years.  And since it’s 2018 and the 10-year anniversary of the market crash, it’s timely to share that Chuck started his new endeavor in the middle of the crash in 2008, and his business continues to grow and thrive in spite of an unfortunate timing for a start.

The one thing I would say about Chuck, is every time I’m with Chuck, he either inspires me, encourages me or challenges me to think more deeply and carefully. I think that you will find the same for you today. Usually it’s all three. I’m usually inspired, encouraged and challenged at the same time. So welcome Chuck. I’m so glad that you’re here with us today.

Chuck Finney: Thanks Catherine. It’s good to be here.

Catherine Miller: Yeah. In preparing for today, in getting ready to visit with you today, I had no idea what a celebrity we have here at our LIFT Office and I say that very sincerely. I love visiting with Chuck. And, as I was researching and learned that you have earned the NRB Music Station of the Year Award, the CMB Major Market Station of the Year Award, and the NAB Religious Station of the Year Award and I’m guessing there’s more that you didn’t even list on your site. You clearly love your work and have made a lot of headway in the industry with your work. Tell us a little bit about you, how you got into radio and a little bit about your journey in this world.

Chuck Finney: Well, your words are kind. I think some of that comes from just being around a long time, and I had the good fortune of being around people who were really smart.  I had the chance to work around really good radio people for a long time – even before I realized how  that I was around really good people,

Catherine Miller: Well, you were around it for a long time.

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: Your father was even in radio. So, you grew up in radio.

Chuck Finney: Yeah. Yeah. My dad had been in radio when I – I was very little, and he moved into other things. But I had some familiarity with it because of that. But it ended up being that I went to college for accounting but kind of stumbled into the radio station at college and fell in love with the business and started doing radio. It wasn’t so much doing on the microphone things as it was working with the people who did.

Catherine Miller: OK.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: But you have such a great radio voice. It’s always interesting to me that you’re not typically in front of the microphone.

Chuck Finney: Thank you. But what I found out was that there were people who were better at that than me because some of it has to do with voice quality and some of it has to do with ability to tell stories, spin words well in front of a microphone. I was better at teaching it than I was at actually doing it.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: Well, I know you say that. I’m not sure I agree, but we will find out today. How about that? This will be your test play.

Chuck Finney: All right.

Catherine Miller: In front of the microphone.

Chuck Finney: OK.

Catherine Miller: All right. So, tell us, you were in radio for years. What led you from actually working with the station to saying, “You know what? I’m going to do this with lots of stations. I’m going to take the leap and jump into consulting?” Would you define your work as consulting?

Chuck Finney: Uh-huh. Yeah, consulting, coaching. We do research also and so it’s a variety of different things. But it kind of all revolves around figuring out ways to talk to the listener in the case of radio stations, the audience, the person who’s watching, that sort of thing, in ways where they’re more inclined to lean in, listen, pay attention. When they do that, they’re more inclined to come back.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: So that’s a lot of it. But I did that for over – I programmed radio stations, which means being the person who’s responsible for what comes out of the speakers for over 20 years in every format. I did country and news talk and pretty much everything but polka.

Catherine Miller: Oh, wow.

Chuck Finney: At some point along the way, I had the opportunity to move into Christian radio and that involved moving here to Dallas in 2002, so 17 years ago now.

Catherine Miller: Was that a big switch to go from secular radio to Christian radio?

Chuck Finney: Oh, yeah. I mean I had been either playing oldies or putting together news talk radio stations that had hosts with strident opinions on it for a long, long time. So yes, this was completely different and when we decided to move to Dallas, I had never even actually set foot in a Christian radio station before.

Catherine Miller: Oh, that’s so fascinating.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: What you did in secular radio as far as programming and making sure things worked, was it kind of the same formula, the same type of things in Christian radio or did you just have to totally rethink how you would program to capture attention?

Chuck Finney: Some things are similar and in fact I would say they’re common in any business that you’re dealing with. But specifically, in radio, some things are similar. You just need to be thinking about who you’re talking to and where they’re going to be hearing you, where their head and heart are while they’re hearing you, so that you can lean into what they’re doing. But the whole Christian radio thing is also just a completely different value system than anything else I had done before.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, I would think so.

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: And was that an easy adjustment for you to go from secular thinking to Christian – this Christian radio world and making that work?

Chuck Finney: Not easy, but I had had enough values, things that I had been involved with to know that there were things that I didn’t know when I got into it that I needed to learn. In other words, I don’t know this yet. But I need to figure out what it is.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: So then, you’re here working at a Christian radio station, doing programming again for Christian radio and then you decide to take the leap in 2008 and found Finney Media.

Chuck Finney: Uh-huh.

Catherine Miller: We have a lot of startups here at the LIFT Office, a lot of people who are coming in either early in their life or midstream where they have a lot of responsibilities with a family and kids and mortgages and things like that. What was it like to take that leap? Where were you in your season of life with your family?

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: What was it like 10 years ago to take that leap in a world quite frankly that was in – America and the world as a whole – was in uproar at that point? We were in the middle of a global financial crisis.

Chuck Finney: Right. Yeah, yeah. By the time I actually made the leap, it was easier than the idea of it a year earlier, and there were really a number of things that happened. One was talking to friends who I could confidentially talk with and say, “What do you think? Do you think this thing has a shot if I were to go do it?” What I was hearing was an overwhelming yes. In other words, people in Christian radio are aware of the success that you’ve had at KLTY and so, yeah, that would be the kind of thing you could do.

Another one was a conversation that I had with my brother who’s an attorney. He has his own firm and he said America is an amazing place. If you can provide value for people, the opportunities are limitless. You’re not stuck in what a company is telling you you can do. You can make it anything that you want it to be. It’s just a question of if you’re providing value.

Then ultimately, a lot of it involved prayer. I think that – I believe that God listens to our prayers and is interested in answering them. Now I didn’t hear audible voices. It’s not that kind of thing. It was more like asking and having an inclination and a particular direction that felt like this was the right thing to go do. That helped create less fear in going and actually doing it.

Catherine Miller: So how long – from the point where you thought this could be an interesting path and your brother’s perspective – which is really interesting as well.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: I wondered has – does he work with a lot of people who go-make-create-do in his law business?

Chuck Finney: Yes. But he has now started and been successful with two different firms.

Catherine Miller: OK.

Chuck Finney: He had a law firm. He figured out a – I mean this is a long story. But he figured out along the way that it was better for him if he didn’t do it with partners.

Catherine Miller: OK.

Chuck Finney: He had partners and it’s easier for him if he’s just doing it himself.

Catherine Miller: He could encourage you from a place of experience and from knowing.

Chuck Finney: That’s right.

Catherine Miller: So that was encouraging. So how long from when you begin to – in your head, your wheels are spinning. You’re thinking, “OK, I think this might be a great way for me to move forward in life, in business.”

Chuck Finney: Right. Yeah.

Catherine Miller: Until you actually took the leap.

Chuck Finney: Well, the leap ultimately was somewhat driven by – I got to figure out what next because I had been laid off – this was in the middle of the downturn in ’08, ’09 and I had to figure out what’s next and not working wasn’t an option.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: So, I’m considering options, am I going to another job in radio which probably meant a move and that was unattractive and probably to another city and that was unattractive too. We liked the idea of staying here in DFW. So, at the end of it, it looked like everything was kind of set up for us to go ahead and begin doing consulting. I say us because this is me and my wife and my daughters and us kind of having to all think that through.

Catherine Miller: When you say us, did you sit down and have a family meeting with the entire family and say this is what we’re praying about and thinking about and considering?

Chuck Finney: It’s funny when you’re asking that because it would be interesting to see what Lynda and the girls think.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: As to whether we did. I think we had conversations about it and we prayed about it and all those things. But it was an awfully hectic time when we were doing all of that also.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: I know from talking to other people who are in business for themselves, whether they’re a startup or in business for themselves, especially if it’s a one-income family, you’re a team and you’re making this work together as a team. Your team, your wife and your two daughters, how did they go through this process with you? Clearly, they made it work because it’s 10 years in the making.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: We know the outcome of that. But was that easy for them? Were they just like, “Oh yeah, it’s going to be fine,” or was there tension in the process of moving forward?

Chuck Finney: So, Lynda, my wife, is very supportive. I mean she’s just encouraging in all of this and even when she’s scared. I – but to your question as to whether or not it was hard, yes, it was hard. Caroline was in her senior year of high school. So, we were making this jump and moving houses in the middle of her senior year of high school. That was hard. Lynda had nested in the place that we were in. That was hard. OK?

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: So, it was all hard. I’m just thankful that they have always been supportive. If I could change anything about all of that, it would be that I would have said more, “I know this is hard,” and yet – we’ve got to move forward, we’ve got to get through this. It’s an ever so slight change in how it would be said but I think if I had done a better job of acknowledging I know this is hard, because it wasn’t as hard for me. It was harder for them.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: Because you were going and doing, and you were seeing every day how you’re making things happen.

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: They’re in the background. Even though they’re walking with you in the process, they’re in that background trying to cheer you on, but not seeing as closely the ups and downs in the work, and what’s being created.

Chuck Finney: That’s right. Yeah.

Catherine Miller: I understand that process. But yeah, just to be acknowledged and to be heard to say, “I understand this is hard,” can always help.

Chuck Finney: Uh-huh.

Catherine Miller: So, you’ve moved forward, moved houses, ran this business for 10 years. I want to move forward now and just talk about what you do and how it applies at large really to almost any business, whether you’re in radio or on social media. What you do as a consultant can apply to so many areas of life. It can even really apply individually one-on-one. I would love to dig into that. There is a quote that I read today on your website and I thought that it was so interesting.

It said, “She’s busy.” This is what you said was the best advice that you received. “She’s busy. She’s distracted, and she’s not thinking about what I’m playing on the radio. Crawl inside her head and heart and understand what you need to do, to say or to play to be heard through to her head and her heart.”

Which – you know, when we talk about building community and making connections in all of life, it’s hard enough to do it one-on-one when you’re sitting and talking with someone directly.

But, to think about that when there’s hundreds of thousands of listeners out there. How you actually get into one person’s head and heart is really tricky. So how do you do that? How do you get inside one person’s head and heart through the medium of radio?

Chuck Finney: A lot of people have made up their mind. They want to do a particular thing and that’s fine. OK? But I think if you haven’t taken into account who that listener is, you’re beginning in the wrong place. OK? Because they’re busy and have lots of choices. They can go somewhere else very easily.

So, let me give you a specific example. There’re some focus groups that I was involved with recently. There was a woman named Cindy who was there, and we were talking to her about her life and she says, “Do you want like what’s really going on?” and I’m like, “If you want to talk about what’s really going on, yes, we would like to hear it.” She says, “Well, I’m a single mom. I have two sons. One is 19 and one is 21. The 19-year-old has been in and out of prison, addiction, drugs, that sort of thing, and two weeks ago, he died.”

Catherine Miller: Oh, wow.

Chuck Finney: We have to wait eight more weeks for the autopsy. Now I am thinking, OK, the next thing that I need to ask her probably is this, “Why are you here?” She said, “I prayed about it and felt like God wanted me to be here.” We’re glad you’re here and thank you and thanks for sharing your story.

The woman who’s sitting to her right was next and she said, “Well, if I guess if we’re getting real,” she’s about 35, and she says, “My 24-year-old stepson, our 24-year-old stepson is gay, and he hasn’t wanted to have anything to do with the family for eight years. He’s estranged from the family and will not associate with us and it breaks my heart.”

The woman who’s sitting to her right says, “I don’t really have that much going on. I’ve got a nine-year-old daughter and things are pretty much OK.” Right? Now if you just took the three of them and you said, “What would most help all three of them simultaneously?” we think that’s where you would want to start.

Here’s where the problem comes in. If we’re doing Christian radio and I’m a preacher who’s going to preach a sermon on the radio let’s say, OK? And somehow without thinking about them, I’ve decided that today’s message is going to be on Revelation, the apocalypse, the end of the world, right? It’s an important message, and it’s well intended. It’s just not where Cindy is this morning.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: Cindy is not in the mood to hear. Most Cindy’s aren’t in the mood to hear on the radio this morning an end of times message. It’s not that it’s not an important message. This is just the wrong place, wrong time, wrong mood, wrong on all that stuff for that particular message.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: So, being more intentional about thinking about who’s listening, where they’re listening, how they’re listening, and remember that people are distracted and busy and often hurting. When I say hurting, like a lot of times, it’s physical pain. Like the people that we talk to, something hurts on them and that’s distracting to them. So, what we say has to be able to reach in there and somehow touch them and oftentimes that feels like encouragement or affirmation.

Catherine Miller: But the big question looms. I mean you were able to sit down with these three women and you were able to say, “Cindy, tell us your story,” and go down the line. But in radio, you’ve got what? A hundred thousand listeners on any given day? Maybe more?

Chuck Finney: Yes.

Catherine Miller: So how do you discover who’s out there listening? How do you discover that this Cindy is going to be listening at 10 o’clock today, and I better have this in my program lineup to reach to her? How do you discover your audience and their makeup and what needs to be done?

Chuck Finney: When we start thinking about it in terms of what things they have in common, what things they might respond to well on the radio, it ends up sounding like this.

If I do things that feel encouraging, somehow that’s a common thing among a lot of people that if we – well, like 90 something percent would respond well to something that feels encouraging. I’m just estimating numbers here, but in general, that seems to be a felt need. OK?

Actually, I will give you an example. There’s a friend of mine in radio and when he has a mom on the phone and he’s talking to her on the radio, he will finish what he’s saying with, “Mom, you’re doing a good job.”

Catherine Miller: Oh.

Chuck Finney: OK? I think that feels good to her.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: And it probably feels good to moms in general, right?

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: That he actually said those words.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: It’s a simple little thing. But it’s the kind of thing where if we’re more intentional about leaning into those things that feel that way on the other end, we would be in a good spot.

Catherine Miller: How do you coach your radio stations and the people who are actually out there talking to people? How do you coach them to make an audience that they really don’t know to feel encouraged?  Do you give them specific words they need to use? Do you – how do you do that?

Chuck Finney: It’s everything from words to, frankly a lot of times, just using fewer words. Like taking something that was two minutes and oftentimes writing it out and then taking out the things that didn’t add value to it and we end up at 45 seconds of something that was a whole lot better. When they can see it on a piece of paper, it makes a huge difference on what they will actually say.

Catherine Miller: So, they will find a time in their DJ moments to use that 45 seconds.

Chuck Finney: Or we will just start to think more – like their pattern of communication would be more concise as they can see it on paper, as they’re practicing it, as they’re – frankly what happens when you do that is they start hearing it in their head as they’re saying it, right? And we will close the microphone and go, “Oh, that could have been shorter,” right? And they will figure out. It will just become habit to do that.

Catherine Miller: It becomes part of how they think, how they work and do.

Chuck Finney: And then some of it is just some things that I think are more emotionally connective and useful. So, if I could give you an example, there’s a guy that I’ve done some work with and he was doing that kind of typical thing on a Christian radio station where he’s talking about a fundraiser at a prolife organization and he’s giving all the facts. It’s Thursday night. Here’s who the speaker is going to be, somebody nobody has ever heard of, right?

We’re raising money to buy diapers for the moms who have chosen life and that sort of thing and I got with him and said, “I think first of all, all those facts they can find on the website,” and since they’re listening in the car, they’re not in a position to write it down anyway. They can’t write down the address because they’re driving.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: So, assume that they will, if they’re interested in going, go to the website. But if there was ever a place that has stories, amazing stories, it would be that place.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: He says, “Oh, you mean like …” and then he tells me a story and it went like this:

“Shirley was a straight-A student and when she graduated from high school, her parents said that she needed to find a job or get married because they couldn’t support – continue to support her. So, she married Joe, who was in the Marines, and she got pregnant.

When she was seven months pregnant, Joe got arrested for rape. He was going to be in prison when the baby was born, and her parents encouraged her to have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. I want to thank my mom Shirley for choosing life, for choosing me.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, that’s – yeah.

Chuck Finney: It’s a wow. OK?

Catherine Miller: Yes, yes.

Chuck Finney: I said, “Is that true?” He says, “Yes.” I said, “Would you please go down the hall and record that because I would like to play it for other people?” The reaction you just had, that’s the reaction when we tell that story.

Catherine Miller: Yes.

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: So, part of what you do then is you coach people on how to tell stories, but not only to tell them, but to grab hearts with the story.

Chuck Finney: You need to work toward helping people feel something. Well, feel whatever it is, the emotion is, that is going to be most helpful to them in what you’re trying to communicate.

Catherine Miller: Right. Well, that was a powerful story. So, I’m going to go to the flipside of that story while I digest it a little bit. But that’s a great story and a great encouragement. There was one other quote that you had on your website that was so interesting and it says, “If a listener yawns, we care.”

That brought up a ton of questions in my mind like, “How do you know when a listener yawns?” Clearly in the story you just told, no listener would yawn. That story just resonates with anyone who cares about life. But there are other times when even in a story, you lose them, and they can yawn. So how do you know if a listener yawns? Can you actually kind of see a yawn? You’re not looking at them. They’re on the radio. What is the process of seeing the yawn, and then what do you do when you find the yawn?

Chuck Finney: Well, one of the ways that we can see yawns is literally gather. Like I brought up the Cindy story. Gather listeners together. Play them pieces of sound and then ask them what they think.

Catherine Miller: Are they sounds of music or are they sounds of –?

Chuck Finney: It could be songs or things that we might play between the songs. So, it could be a DJ talking or a portion of a sermon. It could be a piece of a TED Talk, something like that. It could be a whole TED Talk. TED Talks are actually pretty awesome because they – you generally don’t yawn. When you’re watching them, they’ve done a really good job of making them highly interesting for 20 minutes or so.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: Yeah. So anyway, being able to see, actually like physically see, that part of the story left me kind of dry. Somebody is saying that to you. Well, that might be the part that we edit.

Catherine Miller: OK.

Chuck Finney: OK? That if it’s something that’s recorded, we could edit that portion of it and keep the portions that actually contribute to the story.

Catherine Miller: So, it’s a test group. It’s not that you have analytics about what people are listening to on the radio or punching off the station or anything like that. But it helps you indicate the yawn.

Chuck Finney: Right. I think once you start practicing trying to get inside the head and heart of the person that you’re talking to, you start to better have a feel for that portion of it didn’t contribute to what I’m trying to say.

One of the ways that we will say it is this, “You need to begin with the end in mind. Like what’s the point you’re trying to make?” Then take generally a straight line there. OK? And the way we will describe it would be something like this. You need to go from Dallas to Fort Worth on I-30 and not go to Denton on the way.

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: OK? That would be the kind of – if you go that direction with it, you’re kind of adding detail that is unnecessary and all of us do it.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: I think I’m queen. I’m queen of those extra stories. So, I’m going to tie the two together now because I’m very curious about this. You’re going to watch the yawn. You want to make sure your material and stories capture attention and ideally you would capture them all day and all night long, right? Twenty-four seven on radio.

Then we had the example of the story that really captures the heart, like the one that you just shared. But not all information that needs to be delivered has the emotional tie of the story of the mom Shirley.

So how do you create stories that don’t capture a yawn, but aren’t necessarily as emotionally-enticing as the story that you shared? How do you tie those two together and make sure at the end of the day you’ve got a winning program?

Chuck Finney: Part of it I think is recognizing that every minute matters and you’ve only got so many hours in the day to be able to do it. So, you’re going to do the best you can with it. But Catherine, a lot of it I think is just discarding stories, like having lots of source material that you might work with and tossing the things that aren’t as good as these other things. That’s not good enough.

It might be good. It’s just not good enough for us to use and the source material does not have to be something that you’ve written. You could find it in some other place. So, it’s not like you’re starting from scratch. Let me give you an example. The Chicken Soup for the Soul books, those are treasure troves of great stories, right?

Catherine Miller: Yes.

Chuck Finney: And pretty much don’t get told anymore even though the books are like – and part of it is because the books are 20 years old now or might be longer than that. But anyway, they’re great stories. So, they could become the beginning of an idea that somebody might use for a story. Giving yourself permission to go back in time and use other people’s material legally, but to be able to use other people’s material is kind of the genius of creativity anyway.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: People like Paul Harvey and John Maxwell were very good at being pack rats of  files of material that they didn’t write but they were able to co-opt into.

Catherine Miller: And tell it in a great way.

Chuck Finney: Well, yeah. I mean they may choose to tell it in a little bit different way that was – they put their spin on how they did it, and so I think beginning with lots, paring it down to the things that are really good and giving yourself permission to do out-of-the-box things, like use other people’s material, use things that are really old and when I say old, like maybe 2500 years old in the case of Solomon.

Catherine Miller: Oh.

Chuck Finney: OK? Like Proverbs in the bible is a wonderful place to start if you’re looking for a story.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, or just little nuggets of wisdom.

Chuck Finney: Right.

Catherine Miller: So, kind of to wrap it up, if you were to sit down with someone, maybe they’re not in radio. But they’re just trying to cut through the clutter, cut through all the noise out there and have their story, their message told, is there just a simple like one, two, three-step starting point where you would tell them start here? Think about this. Start here to begin to create your dialogue, your story that’s going to capture emotions and heart and head.

Chuck Finney: Right. You’re talking about any business, right?

Catherine Miller: Any business, right. Because I think what you do overlays really to any business.

Chuck Finney: I think you would be looking first of all at defining what it is you’re trying to communicate. Like with your service or your product, what is it that you want them to get on the other end? OK? And then figuring out the way to make that obvious through a story. So, let me give you an example. It took us a while to get to this. I mean we do a lot of storytelling, but actually our story was something that took a while for us to get to and it was a number of people who were in my life saying, “No, seriously, you got to work on that.” OK? Because it’s not there yet and one day I was telling the story and one of the people who was in our circle in our Finney Media circle said that’s the story. OK?

And basically, it was this: “She’s in the car. She’s driving. It’s raining. The windshield wipers are going. There’s a semi next to her on the highway. She’s thinking about the fight that she had with her mom last night and how her 18-year-old son is not going to survive through his 19th birthday either because of the bad choices he’s making or because she’s going to kill him. In the middle of all of that busyness and noise and the fact that her knees hurt, you’re trying to be heard on the radio. Like what’s coming out of the radio, you’re trying to be heard.”

Catherine Miller: Right.

Chuck Finney: We help you figure out what you could say or play that would cut through the clutter and actually be heard and cause her to hopefully want to come back, like come back there again.

Catherine Miller: You’re right.

Chuck Finney: And hear what you’re doing. But if you don’t figure that one out, you’re just going in one ear and out the other.

Catherine Miller: Yeah.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: That’s a great story.

Chuck Finney: I thought so too, but I had not made the connection for us that that might be our story.

Catherine Miller: Which I actually think sometimes the hardest stories to create are your very own because you’re in the thick middle of it, and it’s really hard. I think part of it, it’s important to sit down and share your story to other people, so they can say, “Go back and work on that somewhere. You don’t have it quite right or try this,” or whatever. Yeah.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: So, one last story. I think you need to share one last story and that story would be why LIFT. Tell us what you enjoy about being a part of LIFT and being a member here.

Chuck Finney: Right. OK. Well, I can give you two reasons to start with. OK? The folks who are here, like you, and Christina and Tina, OK? Just awesome to work with.

Catherine Miller: Yeah, they are.

Chuck Finney: OK? It’s a wonderful place if you’re looking for a place to be able to office, call. I mean meet, whatever those things are. OK? You guys have an uncommon ability to do that. OK? And then there’s this video guy Jason Croft who’s sitting across from us right now who’s here and he has an office upstairs and he’s a smile with the red hair every single time.

Catherine Miller: Yes, he is.

Chuck Finney: So, I just know for us, as LIFT has grown, it has become more and more user-friendly for what we need. You guys have been very good about thinking about nuancy things like conference rooms that aren’t noisy, easy-to-use Wi-Fi. I mean little things like that have made working with the LIFT office amazing.

Catherine Miller: That’s a good story. You can tell it all that you want.

Chuck Finney: OK.

Catherine Miller: Chuck, one last very important question. If people want to connect with you first, do they have to be in radio? Because some of the things that you talk about could be helpful for anyone. Do you do any type of consulting or only for those who are inclined to be on the radio?

Chuck Finney: Well, increasingly we’re doing work outside of radio. Oftentimes that’s some form of digital audio. Like it’s not on a radio station. It might be podcasts or other types of digital communication, websites, that sort of thing.

But it really could be anybody who needs to figure out a way to better communicate what they’re trying to say. The way to think about it would be this. Let’s say that I have a dental practice. OK? And I’m trying to figure out communication in a way that will actually cause more people to want to come to our dental practice.

We haven’t done that one yet. But it certainly applies because the dentist has to figure out what he’s going to say to someone who may be afraid of needles or – that one comes to mind right now because I’m going to the dentist tomorrow morning.

Catherine Miller: Oh, OK.

Chuck Finney: Yeah.

Catherine Miller: Very applicable.

Chuck Finney: Right. Yeah.

Catherine Miller: Maybe you could do a trade or an exchange for dental services.

Chuck Finney: There you go. Yes.

Catherine Miller: So how can someone reach you? If someone wants to connect with you and talk to you about creating their story and their presence online or on the radio, how can they reach out to you?

Chuck Finney: The easiest way would be to either go to www.FinneyMedia.com or Google Finney Media. Either way, you will get there and all the information about the things we do, the people who are involved with our team and stories about what we’ve been involved with are at that website.

Catherine Miller: Chuck, seriously, thank you for being here today. I love the stories you share, and you truly are inspirational and encouraging and challenging in what you do. I always walk away from you thinking more deeply about my business or about life or how to do things well, and I think you challenge us and encourage us all to do that. Thanks for being a part of us here at LIFT.

Chuck Finney: Thanks for allowing me to be here.

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