Industry Views

Monday Memo: Entitled? Or Enabling?

By Holland Cooke

imThose are the two consultant buzzwords that hosts I coach are hearing in their sleep. And a couple more “E” words: Empathy and Empower.

“The Greatest Generation” led the way

My dad spent 3+ years half a world away during World War II and when he and the rest of “our boys” came marching home, the world we grew up in was set in motion. After all the sacrifices those years asked, life was good again, better than ever for my parents, children of the Great Depression.

Our grandfatherly president – a war hero general – built us an Interstate Highway System, and Dinah Shore sang, “See the USA in a Chevrolet.” The G.I. Bill helped vets through college, and low-interest mortgages fueled a housing boom. Life was good in the leafy cul de sac, where 78.3 million people my age were born. 65-some million of us are still around, wearing progressive lenses and comfortable shoes, insured by Medicare and collecting Social Security.


Now, it’s our turn

Like that two-front war we survived in the 1940s, we are again doubly challenged.

  • COVID knocked the world off-balance. Those now indignantly second-guessing a better-safe-than-sorry shutdown don’t seem to recall freezer trucks as makeshift morgues. We chuckle as Zoom tells workers to come back to the office, but labor unions are flexing their muscle in this full employment economy. That’ll happen when a virus subtracts a million Americans WHILE Boomers retire, and others reassess and subsist on the gig economy. The New Normal isn’t.
  • Anger as the new joy. And it’s not all Trump’s fault. He didn’t invent grievance and resentment. He just made it popular; and soreheads one-up each other in social media that seems like consequence-free venting, until the next gun nut opens fire.

Listeners are wondering “What NEXT???”

Eggs are down, gas is up again (since last month, though down almost 20% in a year). Tornadoes, floods, scorching heat, baseball-size hail, devastating wildfires… all of which raise prices. We shoot down China’s spy balloon, and their (and Russia’s) war ships loiter off Alaska. Trump! Hunter! 2024! After all the fuss about vaccines, polio resurfaces in New York and leprosy (!) cases are rising in Florida. No wonder Barbie is breaking box office records.

Is the appeal of solutions not obvious? More useful than argument? While everyone is coping, are we offering noise? Or news-you-can-use?

I’m cautioning any talker willing to listen… to listen. “Enabling” dialogue is the-opposite-of “entitled” monologue. Empower listeners, by letting them weigh-in. Empower them with access to guests whose advice they value. Three-way talk like that enables them (and enables them to quote you).

Your empathy is a gift.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke