Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tony Christie Is NOT Dead

"Tony Christie is dead and I think it's in very bad taste to be asking about him" I was surprised to get an email like that in 2003.

After playing a Tony Christie song on BBC Radio Gloucestershire I asked "what's Tony Christie doing these days?" This was long before the reintroduction of Tony on the British audience via Peter Kay and his charity video.

The anger I encountered spurred me on. I knew that if he had died I would have heard about it; so I started doing a bit of research.

I found, after trawling the internet, that Tony wasn't dead he was living in Spain and that he was still popular enough in Germany that he had an agent based there. He'd even released a number of German CDs.

A quick email to his German agent got a response from Tony and I got him on the programme, on the phone from his home and I interviewed him live. He was surprised to find out that he was dead.

A few weeks later I was sent a selection of his German releases, as a thank you for being interested in him.

Lovely, I resurrected a classic star, and got a nice bit of radio out of it.

In 2005 after the huge success of "Is This The Way To Amarillo" Tony was back in the UK, and he was doing a gig near to my patch... So I got him on and interviewed him again.

I always want an interview with an artist to be about them not me, we started looking back over his career and he mentioned that a radio station had once phoned him because they thought that he was dead. I was about to say, "yes I know, that was me" when he went on to say that it was a presenter at GMR in Manchester.... Not Gloucestershire... not even close...

What do you do in that situation?

He told me the whole story of how this great presenter had got in contact and it was very odd because he was working in Germany at the time... I let it slide. I didn't want to be the person who got uppity about being forgotten.

So why talk about it now?

I think that it pinpoints 2 things that you need to be aware of when communicating with anyone, from Media Training to Presentation Training to Crisis Communications... whether you're on BBC Breakfast or in a pitch meeting.

1) People remember what's important to them - To Tony the important bit was someone thought he was dead, the detail of who that was was unimportant. He didn't care it was me, he cared that they thought that he was dead.

2) What is important to you is irrelevant - I wanted to be remembered... it's as simple as that. I wanted to be the person that found out he wasn't dead. Tony Christie didn't care about that, why would he. That was what was important to me, not him. Make your communications relevant, interesting, and important to your audience and they will remember you. It may be easy, it may be about internal change, but even then you may be more interested in the strategic direction of your organisation, your audience cares about their jobs, and if they have to move their desks.

And, by the way, I still like Tony Christie

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