I write a lot about how on air personalities should structure breaks, 5 Keys to a Successful Content Break, what kind of content they should choose, Choose On-Air Content You Can Add To, and what to avoid overdoing, The Weather Crutch. But, lets take a step back and look at the big picture of why we do some of these things.
When we really get down to it, when we’re doing an on-air shift, we’re basically the ambassadors of fun. We’re there to guide the listener from one fun thing the station is doing to another, and intersperse a few of our own fun things through creative on-air content breaks, phone topics, features and benchmarks. Then hopefully, create some additional fun digital content we can use to extend our brands off air.
As I’m coaching on-air talent I often task them to regularly ask themselves, ‘Does the listener care about this?’ when selecting content and deciding what details to include in their content breaks. But, another way to look at it is to try and identify the MOST fun part of everything we’re doing on the air and highlight that while minimizing everything else. Not only will that approach lead us to selecting better content and milking it for everything its worth, it also naturally leads us away from overdoing all the non-fun things we’re obligated to do. Weather isn’t fun, news isn’t fun, sales promotions catered to a boring client isn’t fun, long stop sets aren’t fun, internally focused on-air content isn’t fun, long-winded and redundant setups and explanations aren’t fun, etc. So we shouldn’t tease to any of these things, instead we should tease to the next time something fun is happening. Plus, the better we get at consistently elevating the fun level within our breaks, the more fuel we have to push back on all of the elements getting in the way that are initially out of our control. Highly engaging, interactive, and ultimately highly rated, shows don’t tend to get saddled with as much of the channel changing paid content that we all know nobody wants to hear, but we have to do to pay the electricity bill at the transmitter.
In the end, on air personalities are entertainers and entertainers are fun. They’re enjoyable to be around, interesting to listen to and even live vicariously through. If we want listeners to devote a little of their time each day as they go about their incredibly busy lives, filled with endless distractions, we have to reward them with a little fun. Whether that’s an interesting take on something pop-culture they may or may not have known about, a funny line they can pass off as their own at work to get a few laughs or something that makes them feel an emotion they weren’t expecting when they turned on the radio to zone out for a few minutes on their commute.
What do you think? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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