Playing the occasional game on a show is a good thing. It’s even better when it has two elements: it’s vicarious (listeners can play along in the car as they’re driving to work) and it’s strategic (its purpose is to have fun, earn another critical image, and/or define the cast). There are many ways a cast can do character development, but the game Truth Be Told, as done by David, Sue, and Kendra, Magic 106.7, Boston, is the cleanest and most efficient we’ve heard. There are a few versions of this game (i.e. Two Lies and a Truth), but listen to how this team executes the game so fans driving (who just woke up and don’t have a great capacity to follow along with deep stories) can easy understand what they’re doing. Each cast member offers a one sentence story to the caller (one sentence is highly digestible), then the listener chooses which story is true (with people in cars doing the same). Then the fuller story is told – defining that cast member, earning the additional image of fun for listeners just tuning in to be put in a good mood.
Archive for month: January, 2019
With Prince Philip’s car crash still in the news, go out and find an entertaining instructor at a driving school who’ll give the show’s cast members a driving test, then come on the program to rate each of you in driving skills.
New feature time! Open the phones and listeners must call with an office story about a co-worker who is either a laggard (lazy), a braggart (boast about themselves all the time), or shoots daggers (is a back stabber). No names keeps you legal, but we all know one of those we work with.
One of my wishes for all of radio is that we dispense with boring, staged phone topics presented for use by prep services. The best phone topics come from stories the talent tell about their life, before they put the spotlight on the audience by asking them to tell similar stories about themselves. We talk about being relevant and strategic in radio. This approach to topics does a few important things: it defines the talent telling the story because it’s about them (must be relatable), then flips the script by allowing the audience to tell stories just like that to entertain the cast and other listeners. Tim, Claire, and Red, 98.9 The Bull, Seattle executed this perfectly in these two breaks below. Red tells a story about what she’s like shopping online when she is drunk (listen to the chemistry and natural laughter as her team pulls out all the details of the story). Then in the second clip, a listener calls to advance the narrative in their quest to do real life content that is fun to hear.
There’s a scene in “Jurassic World” where Chris Pratt comes upon a dying brontosaurus. Despite the fact this animal is all CGI, you’ll still push back tears. Likewise, throughout the movie, you’ll find yourself rooting for the raptors in this one.
While I won’t give away any plot twists, the reason for this is rather simple: this is a Steven Spielberg effort around a beloved and known movie franchise, and if this director knows anything, he certainly understands the value of well-defined characters. You can count the raptors in on that observation. This movie made $205-million its opening weekend and was so feared, no other movie debuted.
How does this apply to your personality-driven morning or afternoon show? While your show plot will drive its content choices, the characters you have on the program make that content sparkle and become memorable.
Shows must have a disparate group of people (even two) who are likable, yet different. Where the big win happens, which positively affects loyalty, is when your characters are grounded in honesty and the audience is moved to care about them.
Which brings us back to Pratt and those raptors. For those who’ve seen the movie, there is a human bond which happens between them which moves you to believe in all and even root for their success.
What do the characters on your show stand for? Who in your audience do they represent and speak for? Much more importantly, how much of their lives do they share with listeners so they’re moved to care about them?
There is a very distinct and definable bond between listeners of a radio station and its talent. You can only get so far talking about Caitlyn Jenner and Trump’s impeachment trial. The truly great talent who’ve crossed that magic line generate content so personal and genuine that the telling of those stories bond them further with the audience through this content which cannot be duplicated by anyone else in the market.
What percentage of your morning show’s content is dedicated to making me root for them, just like those raptors?
Need help creating a cast of characters that your audience will care about? Let’s chat.
Who doesn’t live in a neighborhood where you have nicknames for those who live there? Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX, Phoenix realized in an unplanned content break that everyone does this. Like the one resident of someone’s neighborhood who has been deemed, behind her back, as Amazon Woman. Not due to her size, but because UPS pulls up everyday and offloads several packages from Amazon to her home. This has become a weekly feature on their program where listeners call and share the nicknames of neighborhood residents, and then the reason they were given them. The very best content is real life stuff, culled not only from the experiences the cast and listeners have, but the kind of content the average listener might hear and say, “yea, me, too.” That’s content that is relatable and helps the show remind the audience that they are just like them.