Open Mic Spotlight: Valerie Geller


NYF’s Open Mic Spotlight spends a few minutes each week with prominent Grand Jury members who judge creative entries from around the globe, each Spotlight interview shares the insights of content creators from the wonderful world of radio.

New York Festivals International Radio Awards jury of award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are actively involved in creating the innovative content on radio today, their efforts have resulted in the selection of the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Award winners which will be announced at the annual Radio Awards ceremony on June 18th in New York City.

Valerie Geller

Grand Jury member Valerie Geller,is president of Geller Media International. She works with top broadcasters in radio, TV, internet throughout the world, and has consulted on several award winning documentary films.

As a content and story consultant, trainer and seminar leader, Using proven methods she developed over years of working in 35 countries with over 500 radio and television stations, she coaches and trains on air personalities, programmers, producers and broadcast news journalists to become more Powerful Communicators.

Geller, a former program director (WABC, New York) and News Director (K101, San Francisco) has been training broadcasters since 1991. Her clients in Europe have included LBC, The BBC, Australia’s ABC Sweden’s MTG, Sveriges Radio, SBC, YLE, P-4 Norway, NRK, Danmarks Radio, FM 100, and many many more.

New York Festivals: How did you get your start?

Valerie Geller: I started as a caller to talkback radio shows as a child growing up in Los Angeles. I got hooked and it started a lifelong love affair with radio, broadcasting, and all audio media. That has grown into the podcast space and digital radio as well

New York Festivals: What was the turning point in your career?

Valerie Geller: There wasn’t just one turning point, there  were several. When I worked as a reporter, I  realized you could make a difference in people’s lives through the information you broadcast through powerful storytelling. When I was a news director, I realized you could guide reporters and have them follow and create a larger vision. As a manager and program director at ABC in New York City, I understood that achieving a marriage of information and entertainment through created live content, for us, to succeed, was crucial. And these past years as a trainer of broadcasters and a coach for radio, television, podcasting and documentary films…. pulled it all together. It’s all about storytelling, passion and bringing out the best in people as powerful communicators.

I’ve written five books including the latest that have been translated into several languages including French, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Albanian, and more. Each of the books has been a turning point as well.

New York Festivals: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Valerie Geller: When I became a consultant, and begin to work internationally with radio and television, a very wise person advised, “There’s what’s Right, there’s what’s Wrong, and then there is what IS. Try to do what’s right and avoid what is wrong. But if you do not clearly understand and see what it is, and work with that, you will not be successful.”

New York Festivals: Where do you see the industry moving in the next 5 years?  Multi platform is the way forward!

Valerie Geller: Podcasting is the most exciting platform and marries into all others. Broadcasting is for mass audiences but we can narrow cast with podcasts and tell stories that serve niche audiences.

New York Festivals: What three words describe you as a content creator?

Valerie Geller: I am in the “story business” it’s all about powerful storytelling.

New York Festivals: What is the responsibility of journalists in today’s world?

Valerie Geller: Tell the truth, make it matter and NEVER be boring!

New York Festivals: What creative projects are next for you?

Valerie Geller: Taylor and Francis and Routledge,  the parent company for Focal Press, have asked me to update the Beyond Powerful Radio book for 2020 publication date. That’s the next thing, Plus continuing to work training and coaching broadcasters at client radio and television stations throughout the world.

New York Festivals: What do you think are the hallmarks of award-winning work?

Valerie Geller: Original voices. Great ideas. Wonderful story telling and execution. Good use of sound. But importantly a great piece of audio has one Hallmark and here it is, the presenter or producer can get you to care about something you didn’t care about and get you to listen, care and stick with it.

New York Festivals: How has podcasting changed the way you create content and are you creating more of this on-demand content?

Valerie Geller: Yes!!!!

New York Festivals: What would be your dream job? 

Valerie Geller: I have it… my dream now is to expand and continue with opportunities to work with and to train any and all talent, producers, broadcast storytellers and all people who tell stories across the world, who wish to learn the methods to help them become more powerful storytellers and to get keep and grow audiences across all platforms.

For more information on the 2018 New York Festivals Radio Program Awards, please visit HERE.  For information or tickets for the 2018 Radio Awards gala taking place on June 18th in New York City, please visit HERE.

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