Three P’s to Perfect Personalities

Over the years, I’ve heard hundreds of shows do thousands of breaks.  Most of us never really explore what we like about a break.  As a young program director, I relied much more on that it felt right.

Well, feelings aren’t going to make you a success.  Strategy and tactics will.  Judging content against a strategy is the ultimate test.  Does it fit the show’s plot?  Does it affirm positive imagery for the show that leads to a brand image?  Is it of the length and vibe that would resonate with the demo?

My friends at Coleman Insights talk about the Three T’s of Content.  It’s excellent and I’m jealous I didn’t think of it.  They get full credit for Topic (are you on the right topics), Treatment (what are you doing with that stellar content, so you own it), and Tone (how do you want the audience to feel after they hear it).

But structure of the above matters, too.  Once you’ve figured out the three T’s, think about how to present it all.  So, with a nod of respect to Coleman, here are Steve’s Three P’s of Perfection in executing a great content break:

  • Promotion.  I often hear at the top of many breaks gab that is self-promotion.  What the show is giving away, where we’ll be this weekend with tickets, what we just posted on Facebook, why you should look at our Instagram feed, how we’ll have an hour of commercial-free music at 9:00.  Don’t get me wrong.  Promoting benefits of the station is important. The question is how much time will you give it before listeners lose interest?  I’ll regularly hear minutes of this, and fear the audience is shrugging its shoulders.  I wonder if any promotion is more effective at the end of a break, after you’ve engaged the audience with entertaining content.  Remember, if Tom Cruise is on Kimmel, they’ll do content for all of the audience before they promote his new film to those interested in hearing it.
  • Process.  These are the big, long setups many shows do.  The appetizer to get to the entrée.  No, again.  Minimize the foreplay.  Figure out how to navigate this in a couple of sentences because few of us like process stuff.
  • Protein.  This is the content portion of the break and the most valuable of the P’s.  The details that make your story come alive, the caller with her story, the interviewee being asked a probing question, the first query in a trivia game.  Fans come for content.  Getting to what I affectionately refer to as “the moment you’ve all be waiting for” quickly satiates almost all of your audience around the reason they tuned in, for content that interests them.  Measured in seconds, the longer it takes to get to this most important P, the protein – content is why they’re there – the less peril you have in listeners losing interest.

Promotion.  Process.  Protein.  The Three P’s.

Don’t believe me?  Go watch a YouTube video and tick off the amount of time at the beginning of self-promotion and process when all you want is to see them blow up that thing with the firecrackers or start reviewing the gadget.  Watch how itchy you get for the protein.  The more time they spend on self-promotion and process, the quicker you will zone out. I promise.

Listen to each break on your show and judge them the same.  Around the Three P’s that will make your personalities epically perfect.