Truly great shows meet the moment. They are exactly where the audience is for topics and tone. Think 9/11, Covid (when it was new), or something fun like when the first American Idol was chosen. Every show reflected the mood of the audience with tailored content for where the listeners were at that time.
There are other examples over the years – most not serious, some quite frivolous. When your show is there, that’s called being relevant.
Here’s a provocative question I’ve discussed with every show in the last week: what the hell will our show sound like on November 4, the day after the election?
There are three potential outcomes: Trump’s reelected or Biden wins outright. Or…we won’t know. Under each circumstance, what content will your show do that Wednesday, how will you do it, and most importantly, how do you want the audience to feel when they listen that day?
With the one-year anniversary approaching of the Boston bombings many years ago, I proffered this question to two shows I work with in Boston. We had to be on that topic on that day because that’s where the audience would be. I asked the shows one month out this question so we could do appropriate content that day. I did not feel that doing our usual Hollywood features, trivia games, and relationships-advice phone topics would be a match.
When I asked the Boston shows what emotions listeners would have and how we could reflect back that we were feeling that way, too, we settled on showing pride for the city – for what everyone had been through in the previous year and how they had emerged. Someone on both calls said they wanted the audience to be feel Boston Strong again. Knowing the importance of the topic and how we wanted listeners to feel made crafting that show easier.
Great shows happen at the point of wonderment in any relevant topic from your talent. That’s when they are their most authentic and grounded in honesty. And you stand your best chance that listeners will be interested and intrigued, too.
I would never presume to know how your show will sound on November 4, because I am not familiar with your brand and your talent. But each show I work with has a game plan depending on what happens on election day. I love strategies; my shows do, too. Now, all we’ll have to do is wait and see and then execute the appropriate game plan. And here’s the best part: not one game plan we came up with at any show has anything to do with politics, Trump, Biden, or the issues.
Have you engaged your show on what they should do that day, too? Or will you wake up that morning with the audience consumed by one topic and your show doing its standard fare instead?