Where Did You Go, What Did You Do?

If I had a magic wand, I’d make many prep services disappear or rework what they offer morning radio.

With all due respect to my friends on that side of radio, too many shows use this input without ever developing the topics to share with listeners through their relevance to it.

For shows to be successful in defining who they are and what they’re all about as people (character development) so the audience can bond with them, they must have experiences in the community and in life so they have stories to tell.

My clients learn how to share stories of what they do in their communities and life on every call. This could be almost anything—attending a fundraiser to going shopping to doing laundry to taking their kids to a park.

Without talent getting out of the house, they can never gather these stories to share with their fans. So I always ask: where did you go and what did you do? Staying at home all weekend with the TV on and the blinds drawn makes for one rather boring personality. Getting involved in your community and in life generates interesting things to share with your audience.

Rick Jackson, who worked as a market manager in San Diego for Lincoln Financial, shared the secret sauce that turns average personalities into great ones (and it’s something Rick’s preached for the many years I’ve known him): personalities that cut through and are steps above everyone else gather wonderful stories and tell them well.

Stories stick. Being a master storyteller is way better than doing bits, stunts, and having clever one- liners. They might be good in the moment, but developing a bond with the audience through your experiences in life and the stories you tell cannot be beat. The great TV shows (reality, comedy, or drama) and the stellar radio personalities in our industry do this, which is why they win.

Rick goes on to say, “Great stories separate a great jock from a great personality. A great personality is the main dish in the entree and there aren’t many of those.” So for those talent who are married to your prep services, always ask how you can take an interesting item from what’s offered and personalize it so the audience can emotionally bond with you. So their reaction to the topic is not driven based solely on the topic alone, but on how it affected you.

Offer up few facts, figures, and survey results and get to your story very quickly, because inside stories are wonderful details along with twists, turns, conflict, and drama that will make you (and the topic) come alive.

If you’re a manager, ask your personalities: where did you go in the last several days and what did you do in life and the community to generate stories for your show so it shifts from being something potentially seen as generic and prep-service driven to a highly personal program.

Once done, your personalities rise above, connect with the audience, and become leverage into the station for more occasions of listening. One of our great strengths is the intimate relationship we have with those turning on the program. Accentuating and growing that element of your show leads to higher ratings and is an ongoing conversation worth having with the connected car and even more competition for listeners’ time just around the corner.

Need help learning how to become a master storyteller? Let’s chat.