This is one of my all-time favorite breaks, done by the great Dave and Veronica, WQYK, Tampa several years ago. Dave was absolutely fearless and both had work ethics out the door. There was no idea we came up with that scared them, if they heard it in their head. With Halloween approaching, we wondered what it would be like to get local dignitaries to do their version of Vincent Price’s poem at the end of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Knowing that there was a town hall meeting coming up in his building with the mayor of St. Pete, Dave decided to show up and ask the mayor to do it in front of a room full of people. The room had a righteous what-the-hell-is-going-on-here reaction when Dave took the mic. The mayor was confused, too. But he played along in this impressive break that no one else thought to do. The St. Pete mayor does Thriller. Go be different around the big topics. Think about the talk this one break caused for the show. Enjoy!
One of the character development traits we recently learned about Brittney and Zach, B100, South Bed, IN is that they both do their family’s laundry. How do you talk about this and develop a separate persona for each? By folding the laundry, bringing it into the studio, then finding a highly opinionated and very fun co-worker (Mother Mary) go through all your unmentionables to make whatever comments she wants as she dissects who’s good and who’s bad in the folding department. The extra is that it’s being done on Facebook live. But this very visual idea comes alive for those tuning in because Mother Mary’s commentary makes it so.
What’s the audience looking for when they turn you on? Yes, humor and companionship. They’re also looking to connect with people just like them. That is one of the foundational images that jettisons you to success. “They are just like me,” is one of the most powerful things an audience can say about its favorite morning show. Like all their fans, Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston is having issues when they order stuff online. Everywhere they turn, they can’t get what they want due to “supply chain issues”. Sometimes the best breaks are the easiest. A quick conversation to communicate they know what the audience is experiencing. Followed by phone calls of passionate (sometimes upset) listeners who cannot get the simplest things ordered in their life. Great radio is “me, too”. That’s when the audience hears the content and is entertained by it because it speaks for them, as well.
Character development happens when you do one of two things. When you share your honest take (feelings) on a topic of the day you define yourself. Tell the audience that you don’t like The Bachelor and I’ll get a sense of who you are. The other is when you reveal your life and let the audience into the stories happening to you now. It was a banner weekend for Ally of Klein and Ally, KROQ, Los Angeles. She was invited to be the maid of honor at her sister’s wedding in Las Vegas. Yet, she had no idea what a maid of honor does and was kept in the dark of all the wedding details. Tell the audience the truth and you will only have one story to tell is the old adage. Here’s a fun chat with Ally’s sister and the entire show on the eve of the Vegas wedding. Ally’s self-deprecating, Klein comes with a theme song and a hook (Ally’s sister is hot), and everyone appropriately stirs the shit to help tell the story. This is very memorable and excellent character development.
Topic + Treatment + Tone. The 3 T’s of Content as espoused by the folks at Coleman Insights. Are you on the very best topics of the day? What will your treatment be of those topics? The tone is the emotion you want listeners to feel. Some of the best content comes from the lives of the cast, as shown here by The Josie Dye Show with Matt and Carlin, Indie 88, Toronto. Josie has kids and regularly checks books out of her local library. Being forgetful (that’s character development), she sometimes misses bringing the books back to the library. That’s why Matt and Carlin regular make her call the library to see if “the books” have been returned. As you’ll hear in this week’s audio, the guys on the show make up fake book names, all quite embarrassing and racy, just to hear Josie say it and to see if the librarian has a reaction. The topic and tone are great here. The treatment is what sets it apart.
It’s not a revolutionary observation to note the true power of social media. I post something clever, fun, personal, or heartwarming. You like or comment on it. I keep checking on reactions. And feel like a super star as it grows in popularity. Rinse and repeat! Radio is the same way. We spent last week at many of the shows I coach elevating listeners for what they do for their communities. Our mission, in the face of 9/11, the worst thing that happened to America in our lifetime, was to show the best in people. We actively searched for regular listeners who have causes important to them and profile them on the show. Our week wasn’t necessarily dedicated to first responders. And we didn’t want to do all the low-hanging fruit asking listeners where they were when 9/11 hit (all of it twenty year old content). Our mission was to be about now and to control how listeners felt about our show by highlighting regular listeners who make the community better (local content!). Elevating these people made them more popular, which happened to us, too. Here are Tony and Kris, WIVK, Knoxille, with one conversation they had which accomplished all of those strategic goals with our 9/11 content.
Our audio this week is a terrific example of teasing a benchmark. Two important qualities of an effective benchmark include that you intrigue me. The other is you must make me feel something. Often we offer bland teases: “coming up next is our Hollywood Report.” That’s snooze city. There’s nothing there that either intrigues or gives me an emotion. Then the marginally better: “J Lo is back in the news, tell you more next.” Then this: “You won’t believe what Hollywood couple is back together again after breaking up four times.” The latter works because it’s intriguing. Lexi and Banks, K-BULL 93, Salt Lake City tease benchmarks well. Here’s a tease and solicit for calls for their feature That’s All I Need to Know About You. They use a clip of an admission to the feature from the previous day to intrigue and make me laugh so I’ll call with mine (or stay to hear other listener’s contributions). That’s how you tease!
One of your main goals as a talent is to bond with the audience. How do we do this? By showing those parts of your life to the audience where they say you are just like them. Humans are very tribal. We are all in search for people just like us. It’s those common bonds where we find comfort and the best chance to connect with other people to form a relationship. Logan and Sadie, WINK-FM, Ft. Myers, FL had a feast of content with Logan’s son going off to college for the first time. In those conversations, Logan proved he was just like the station demo (40 year old women who were also shipping their kids off to college or could relate to the experience because they had it). Besides telling the story and airing similar stories from fans, we also must do the content in unique ways. Which is why Logan got his son, Gabe, on and had a mom in the building ask him questions that moms would be curious about with a kid leaving the house for college for the first time. The execution of this content gets us four images: how fun the show is, how relatable the talent are, how vulnerable the show can be in revealing itself, and how different we do our content.
We offered up a new Free Idea a few weeks ago called How Much Do You Make. Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX, Phoenix were wondering on-the-air how much money the pharmacist at the grocery store makes. A listener set them straight (about $120,000). They then wondered if the grocery store manager made more than that. Curiosity is so important to drive content. The topic gets interesting to the listener when you are interested in it, too, and you explore. From this, they started a new idea called How Much Do You Make. They asked listeners to call and tell them what they did for work. Mark and Paul get to ask a few questions about their job (there’s that curiosity in play again!) and they then guessed the listener’s salary. The listener then revealed it. Despite conventional wisdom that no one would share this personal inofmration, their phones went crazy. It’s now become something the show does on occasion. It’s exceptionally vicarious because of their questions. Here are two examples of their feature. You will play along, trying to figure out the caller’s salary, which is one of the wins besides the relatable, fun content.
Great radio is a story-telling medium. Let’s tell stories. Even better, let’s tell them in the first-person. If you have an experience, your telling it is the best route to get the most authentic details at their most emotional. If others are included in the story (i.e. your mom, a neighbor, your pastor), invite them to play a role in telling the story, too. Because they might have other details or a different perspective that will have fresh tension and conflict. That will make the content more electric. But, if you aren’t part of the story, instead of telling someone else’s narrative, ask them to tell it. Simple, but effective storytelling here when Karson and Kennedy, MIX 104.1, Boston found out that someone they know was on Jeopardy. Instead of them recanting it, they invited the friend to tell her story. Always find the principles of any story and get them to share their experience. It’ll be perceived much differently by listeners if you facilitate that and ask the obvious questions from your POC (point-of-curiosity). Note they started with the audio from Jeopardy – smart!