I’ve spoken before in Planet Reynolds about the foundational elements every show needs to be strategic: what is the show about (its “plot”)? What is your game plan for character development? Is the cast focused on earning the right images to drive loyalty? Does the show have significant benchmark appointments, that cannot be duplicated, which will drive occasions back to the program?
I talk with new shows about the “need for C’s”. A subjective metric to assess if your show is on course. These are the Four C’s every talent and show should work on, around the framework above, to assure they’re strategic. How would you rate your show in each of these areas?
- Connection. Despite social media, the internet, and all that texting, human beings, at their core, desire connection. Human to human contact is essential to developing a relationship. I recently joined Clear so I can get through security lines faster at airports. From registering to finishing my account at their kiosk to the security line, I was accompanied by an actual human being. Ever call a customer service number, only to sit through three minutes of pressing “1” for this and “2” for that before you get a person who can help? I bet you’re not happier after all of that. Connection is one of radio’s superpowers. The audience wants to connect with your talent, and they must work on that purposefully when doing the show.
- Companionship. We learned during Covid, with everyone sequestered in their homes with their small circle of family for over one year, that companionship is critical. Companionship fosters a deep relationship. Think of those in your personal life you’re close to. They provide you companionship. Deep inside, so many listeners feel alone. Scrolling Facebook a million times a day doesn’t fix that. We can, though, by reminding the audience that, wherever they are in life, they aren’t alone if they hang out with us.
- Content. This is how we accomplish numbers one and two above. We engage with certain websites because we’re looking for content. We turn on a TV show because we want content. Pop open Facebook, Instagram or any other social media app? You’re looking for content. Same for your audience. They’re looking for content, too. Are you on the best content in each break on every day? Or is it irrelevant pablum the audience shrugs their shoulders at? The right content affords connection and companionship.
- Comedy. Life sucks, so make people laugh. In the two decades I’ve coached shows in North America and Europe, there is one constant: no show wins without solid humor images. Not laugh in a set up/punchline kind of way. Not in doing wacky “radio bits”. Listeners want to be around genuine, fun people. Yea, there are days the news or pop culture cycle compels us to be serious – those are outliers, and we must respect them – but go have fun and people will wanna be around you.
The Four C’s: Connection, Companionship, Content, and Comedy.
It might be instructional to ask your show to grade themselves in each area on a 1-10 scale, with managers doing it, too. Compare those grades and see where you match. Any disparity gives great programmers an opportunity to influence their show with yet another strategic conversation about their growth.
I’d be interested to hear how that turns out so let me know.
Because grading your morning show and giving them all C’s might just keep you on the path to being f’n epic.