It’s been a running joke that people immigrating to the United States know more about our country than actual citizens. We decided to test this theory last year around the July Fourth holiday with Stacey and Jonah, 1065 The Arch, St. Louis. We chose three fun co-workers for the test and introduced a local middle school teacher (a friend of a cast member) who would administer the questions. We did this over the course of three days on the program to extend listenership by making it a narrative arc by doing it at the same time. The keys to the win here were that we chose the co-workers based solely on one element – how entertaining they were. The teacher was added spice which allowed Stacey and Jonah to just coordinate the fun. The questions were the same each day as you will hear below, and became vicarious for those driving to work to play along in the car. On the final day, the middle school teacher tallied up the scores and we crowned Most Patriotic.
Archive for month: June, 2020
If you have access to a few salespeople, do as a running theme this week Most Patriotic. Give three of them questions from the citizenship test (here) to see who gets the most right and earns the title of Most Patriotic. If salespeople aren’t available, find a different group (i.e. neighbors) to do it with, as long as the people you choose are fun. Hear audio of this here.
You can tell someone else’s story, or get them to tell it themselves – which one is better to you? Obviously, it’s the latter. When you hear a great story, make the effort to get the person who experienced the story to come on your show and explore it with them. Doing so brings you a deeper level of honest storytelling, you find out more details which makes the story come to life, and there’s much more emotion to it. You might have seen the viral video of Chris Swanson, the Flint, MI cop who took off his riot gear to be with protestors. Instead of just talking about it, John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego convinced him to come on the show to tell his story. Hearing his voice made all the difference because he lived it and it ended up being pro-cop, a lost perspective with all the protests. This changed the break from C-level to A-level. We all must be better at this kind of prep. Doing this makes the break much more memorable and gives you something around the topic to totally own.
Here’s a new Monday feature where someone on the show runs down all the boring, rote things they did over the weekend, then you open the phones looking for a listener who had a more boring weekend. Call it Beat That Bore.
With restaurants re-opening across the country, the service industry has been hurt more than many others. Mount a one week campaign on the show called The Tip Plus Ten encouraging listeners who go out to eat to increase their tip to 30% if they can, to help wait people out financially because of the money they lost.
Destinations and payoffs are critical elements to entertaining breaks on the radio. Simply put, once you introduce a topic, do you know where you’re headed or is it unstructured in a way where it’s just chatter which ends when you’re done? You must have breaks that have a bold conclusion to conversation to help them stand out. Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX, Phoenix took note of the governor’s institution of a curfew given the recent protests. This break has two parts: the front part is the fun, organic conversation around the topic. This chat defines our talent and lends a very comfortable feel to the topic via conversation. Its destination is one of the very rare song parodies the show does to heighten the break’s entertainment factor. If you have destinations and payoffs to your breaks (both large and small), you’ll condition listeners to know you’re always taking them to the candy store for some humor and goodness.
You cannot ignore the protests. Some shows fear tackling a topic as big as this, but to build a brand in 2020, you must take a stand. Don’t conflate taking a stand against racism or for the Black Lives Matter movement with politics. You can easily wade into the former with your honest feelings without ever touching Trump. After all, who’d call to say they would no longer listen because they were for racism? Part of connection around a topic of this size is first being honest with the audience, and then understanding the tone with which you deliver your perspective moderates any “stop listening moment” your audience could have. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego handled this perfectly last week when they admitted to listeners that as white people, they truly don’t understand what it’s like to be African American. So they found a black pastor to come on the show to teach them what they did not get in their everyday American experience. This never became about politics – it was affirming, uplifting, positive, and, at its end, might even move you to cry. This is relevance – not fearing the topic, but thinking through how to present it so the audience leaves understanding your values as someone they wish to wake up with everyday on the radio.