Ambassadors Of Fun

At their core on-air personalities are basically the ambassadors of fun. They’re there to guide the listener from one fun thing the station is doing to another.

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.

At their core on air personalities are basically the ambassadors of fun. They’re there to guide the listener from one fun thing the station is doing to another and intersperse a few of their own fun things through creative on-air content breaks, phone topics, features and benchmarks. Then hopefully, create some additional fun digital content they can use to extend their brands, and the station’s, off the 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 they’re doing on the air and highlight that while minimizing everything else. Not only will that approach lead them to selecting better content and milking it for everything its worth, it also naturally leads them away from overdoing all the non-fun things they are 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 they shouldn’t tease to any of these things, instead they should tease to the next time something fun is happening. Plus, the better they get at consistently elevating the fun level within their breaks, the more fuel they have to push back on all of the elements getting in the way that are initially out of their 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 what 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.

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