Welcome to Airchecker
A Social Networking Site For Radio

Welcome to the all new Airchecker experience. A social networking site for radio. We are powered by the people of radio and those who have a great passion to have conversations about radio. As the voice of the Canadian radio industry since 2009. Airchecker has gained a loyal army of followers who say we are the best source for radio. 1000s of radio lovers power your radio news each week via Airchecker. read more >

Airchecker Is Social Radio.

Taking radio news into a social networking format.

Proud to be the worlds first. Airchecker is the modern day radio newsie.

Your tool box for radio is Airchecker. A one-stop shop for all things related to radio. We dedicate ourselves in helping you find news you can use.

On our home page you will find head line news from industry leaders.

Side bar provides our latest blog post. Airchecks, video and other related radio links .

AC has has gained the trust of the radio community. We have connected with thousands of working radio professionals.

AC news is a bigger variety of what we know radio pros & the fans of radio will enjoy.

By logging in users will find more news that is fed to our site by 24 hour news feeds. Social Media, show prep to the latest biz talk.

We have you covered like no other source.

You don't have to go surfing the web for radio news that concerns you. We are your only source of news & information.

When you log in as a member you will get a variety of news streams that update 24/7.

Join our conversation on the world famous radio Twitter feed. Log into Twitter. Check us out @Airchecker

Get a better understanding of how the website works under. How it works?

Thanks for stopping by. Contact us via Twitter @Airchecker

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0465

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0465.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0464

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0464.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Patrika Darbo, actress
  • Dennis Palumbo, author, Head Wounds
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0463

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0463.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

5 Fast, Easy Ways to Improve Interview Skills

0

Some personalities are naturally good interviewers. Others are horrible, and no matter how much they work at it, they just don’t seem to get it right. After all, just like in a relationship, you just can’t change the person more than 5 or 10%. But everyone can improve interview skills.

With a little time and attention, these skills can be a most useful weapon in the personality’s arsenal. And it’s not just skills that apply to guests on your show. When you improve interview skills, you’ll become better with phone callers and interacting with co-hosts.

5 Ways To Improve Interview Skills

There are many ways to make a guest appearance work. Follow these guidelines to grow your skills from boring to interesting:

Do Your Homework

Most personalities know their subject matter well enough, but too often preparation is generic. They haven’t gotten past the typical questions and answers.

Seriously: How many times have you heard a celebrity asked, “Who was your biggest influence?” Boring!!!!

Dig deeper to be truly prepared for the interview. That will improve your chances of getting a response that will make your audience sit up and take notice.

It’s easy research your material on the internet. Find out all you can about your guest. That familiarity will lead to a confidence and comfort zone when the interview is underway.

Larry King is one of the all-time great interviewers. His method was to force himself to think like a listener. All of his interviews were conducted from the audience’s perspective!

Get away from the “where are you going next” type questions. Nobody really cares. Instead, ask about their best and worst experiences on the road.

Here’s an example from Geoff & Dana at 93.7 The Breeze in Vero Beach. When they talked to Leann Rimes, Geoff did some research and found out that she doesn’t like to be tickled. This minor character trait turned into a charming and memorable moment on the air.

In the first part of the interview, she says hello and you can tell that she’s not excited about being on. But listen to how Geoff organically asks about tickling. She lights up, is suddenly interested and they have a discussion that Leann has never had on the air before.

This opens the door to a terrific interview segment.

Make Your Guest Comfortable

The more comfortable they are with your studio, your people and your environment, the better the interview will go.

So ask your guest to arrive early, if it’s an in-studio interview. It warms them up and makes them sound more involved in your show. This is a small detail that makes a big difference when conducting live interviews.

If your interview is via phone, try to get a few minutes with them in advance to establish a  relationship. Just a couple of minutes can make the difference between being distant and detached or closer and more intimate.

When the interview begins, relax. In fact, don’t think of it as an interview at all. Make it a conversation.

Conversations are far more compelling. They’re interesting. And more relatable.

Here’s the difference.

An interview usually flows like this:

You: Question
Guest: Answer
You: New Question
Guest: New Answer
You: New Question
Guest: New Answer

It’s stiff, almost scripted.

The personality asking questions is so focused on asking the next question they don’t actually hear the response. And they fail to pick up on verbal cues that can be the most interesting part of the conversation.

Meanwhile, the guest is so accustomed to answering the same questions, they often don’t really hear the question. They go into auto-pilot.

Change the interview into a conversation like this:

You: Question
Guest: Answer
You: Respond to the answer
Guest: Responds to your response
You: Respond to their response
Guest Responds to Your response

Do you see how this conversation flows naturally? It starts with the same question, but the performers allow exploration of the topic.

Embrace The Silence Gap

How many times have you heard an air personality ask a question, then just as the response gets interesting, they ask another question? Talent has a tendency to fill pauses with talk. But silence can be one of the most powerful tools for an interviewer.

Magicians Penn & Teller are brilliant entertainers highly skilled in the art of communication. They know how to delight the audience by framing their content (magic tricks) with personality. They call it the Silence Gap.

In a CBS TV interview, Lee Cowan asked them,

Does it ever get awkward for you not to talk? It’s awkward for me to do an interview with someone I know isn’t going to answer any questions!

Teller shrugged, then explained,

Not speaking is just about the most intimate thing that you can do.

Pausing, Cowan filled the silence gap:

Intimate in terms of …

Teller interrupted:

See? You felt like you had to speak. If we just stop, and look at each other, that gets intimate fast, and that’s what I feel when I’m on stage.

Many personalities miss magical moments because they feel a need to avoid “dead air”. It’s human nature to fill a silence gap, and if you don’t do fill it, your guest will. That’s when the best responses usually happen.

This extends to phone calls, too. The listener will tell you how they feel if you let them, but it won’t be the first thing that pops into their mind.

Know the Answers

A good lawyer doesn’t start a line of questioning if they don’t already know the answers. If you’ve done your homework, you should know what to expect. And if you know what to expect, you can construct the interview in a way that builds drama and expectation.

TV talk hosts use screeners for pre-interviews to make sure the conversation goes the way they want it. Based on the pre-interview, they can eliminate questions that will be less interesting! You may not be able to conduct a pre-interview, but you can improve your chances for success by imagining how the interview will go.

However, there’s a danger in knowing too much. Sometimes, personalities tend to  answer their own questions with a long, fact-filled question. One of the most common mistakes is leaving the guest with nothing more than a “yes or no” answer.

Make sure questions are brief, clear and lead to a longer, detailed response.

DeDe in the Morning on K104/Dallas is a great interviewer. When Deion Sanders was on with them, DeDe took on a topic most personalities would stay away from: Suicide. This led to a powerful, emotional segment with Deion revealing some heartfelt emotion.

This segment was one break in a series with Deion, but without a doubt the most powerful.

Encourage Deeper Engagement

In that segment, did you notice how the show allowed Deion to go deeper when he talked about his personal thoughts of suicide while at the top of his career? They didn’t get in the way or get uncomfortable with the conversation.

They not only practiced Penn & Teller’s Silence Gap technique, they encouraged Sanders to open up by going into some awkward and uncomfortable territory.

The station is hip-hop and R&B, and rarely talks religion, but when Deion shared his story about turning to Christianity, DeDe was in the moment. She went with it. That took courage. This can’t happen if you’re focused on your next question. It requires the confidence to listen and respond.

This was the surprising, left-turn moment. The unexpected twist made this an unforgettable moment for the show.

Stephen Colbert is known as a comedian, but has a gift of engaging his guests to get deeper with them. His tactic: First, ask a question they don’t expect, and show sympathy. Watch how Colbert interviewed Joe Biden on his late night TV show:

This takes courage, confidence and it takes some time to dig into the guest’s life.

Do some research and find out what your guest is really passionate about. Talk about something that excites them.

Conclusion

Good interviews are hard, but you can improve your performance with a little time and attention to these skills. Mastering these 5 techniques won’t make a bad interview great, but it will improve your chances of getting more value from those guests.

Join me for A Guide to Better Interviews, a free webinar at 1pm EDT on July 10. It’s free to attend, but advance registration is required. Sign up now here.

 

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0462

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0462.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Dr. John Huber, clinical forensic psychologist — psychopathic states
  • Dennis Hof, owner, Moonlite Bunny Ranch — winning a Nevada GOP nomination
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

2018 Burli Software Award at BCIT

0


Burli is pleased to sponsor BCIT‘s 2018 Burli Software Inc Award, given to Gurneet Samra. The Award is a recognition for novice journalists in training in BCIT’s Broadcast and Online Journalism Program, designed to help newcomers to our industry get established as they enter their chosen new field.

Gurneet has been one of the strongest students in her class throughout her entire time at BCIT. The Program Head, Connie Monk, had nothing but praise for her. “She was just delightful to have in class – good attitude and very professional. She was always very enthusiastic in radio, with strong skills using Burli”.

She was hired at Spice Radio before the end of her last term, and so was able to go on co-op to both have a job and finish earning her diploma at the same time. The word from Spice Radio is that Gurneet is hard working and keen with lots of initiative.

Congratulations Gurneet on a well deserved award, and good luck in the future!

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0461

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0461.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Phil Proctor, co-founder, The Firesign Theatre
  • Donald Walters, Postmaster, Ochopee Post Office
  • Steve Long, CEO, Phamous Pholks Furniture Art Pillows

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

How To Tell a Good Complaint From a Bad One

0

It seemed like a never-ending battle with the audience. Our morning show was the legendary Jeff & Jer, who were pretty good at what they did as evidenced by their induction into the Radio Hall of Fame. But barely a day passed without a complaint. It drove us crazy.

Until we revised the station’s audience persona. This exercise was a catalyst that allowed us to transform a radio brand.

I’ll tell you the story, but if you expect the happy ending to be that complaints stop, you’ll be disappointed. The complaints never stopped. However, it did change the way I responded to complaints. And it helped me understand our audience much more intimately.

On Star 100.7/San Diego, our station’s values were to be a bright, fun, positive choice for adult women to escape from the real world. We did it with a sense of humor, larger-than-life personalities, high profile promotions and an overall station personality of goodness. It translated into tremendous success.

Jeff & Jer were the morning show, the engine that pulled the train. Our philosophy was to be Disneyland on the radio dial: a happy place where there are no problems, no worries and nothing bad ever happens. There are no bad days at Disneyland, and moms don’t have to worry about children being exposed to something that would embarrass the parents.

That didn’t mean we were prudes, but at it’s edgiest, the station was PG-13. We were sensitive to the role we played in listeners lives. We were far safer than most radio stations in the market, and more family-friendly than popular prime time television sitcoms like Friends or Seinfeld.

But listeners still complain.

Overcoming a Listener Complaint

We also had a policy to respond to every communication from every listener. Each phone call is returned and each email got a personal response.

So when I got an email, letter or phone call complaining that “I can’t listen to your station with my kids in the car”, a conversation followed. For a long time, I engaged the listener, challenging them on their position.

That’s always a mistake, by the way. The customer (listener) is always right in their opinion. And nothing you say can change that opinion.

Most of the time, their beef would be over something that we considered silly. For instance, the show had a recurring feature where they’d pick a letter from the alphabet, and Jerry would list the names for boobs that start with that letter. Here’s an example:

Okay, I guess it’s a little edgy to say “boobs” on the air, but in the context of how it’s presented, it’s really not something that would qualify as “dirty” or salacious.

So using sound programming judgement, we learned to tolerate complaints but didn’t take them seriously.

But everything changed when we conducted a research project using the OAR method (Observe, Ask, Research) of audience evaluation to better understand our listener. This is a fundamental step in the process of identifying traits when building an audience persona.

How We Transformed a Radio Brand

As we gathered more insight, we gained insight into the lives of our listener, and it revealed hidden values that we couldn’t (or at least hadn’t) recognized.

We knew that the women we targeted had kids and lived in the suburbs, but among the deeper things we learned in the project:

  • They worked full time because they had to, not because they wanted to.
  • Their family needed two incomes to pay their mortgage in San Diego’s expensive housing market.
  • Their kids were very involved in activities around school and the community.
  • They felt guilty for not spending enough time with their kids/family.
  • Most of them felt they had very little time for themselves.
  • They had a nagging feeling that someone else was raising their children and life was out of control.
  • Their #1 worry was that their kids would grow up with a strong morale background.
  • They trusted our station, and Jeff & Jer were a safe place for their kids-like Disneyland.

When we understood this about them, the reason for complaints became much clearer. When they’re rushing out the door in the morning, loading the kids in the SUV and going over homework in the car on the way to school, we were their soundtrack, friend, and to an extent, escape.

So no matter how fun or harmless the “boobs” feature was, it set off alarms in our listener’s heads. It was like a villain was on the loose at Disneyland. Even if it wasn’t “dirty”, it suddenly wasn’t as safe.

Armed with this insight, we made adjustments, but didn’t change programming or eliminate the feature. However, we were sensitive to the audience values that were violated from time to time. We changed in two ways.

Responding to Complaints

First, I learned to stop arguing with listeners when they complained, because it was clear what inspired their comments.

It wasn’t their fault! They trusted us, and we had to respect that trust. I realized that when listeners complained, their greatest concern was to make sure the relationship they trusted wasn’t changing. That their favorite radio station was still there for them. They really wanted to be heard. And it was my job to listen.

So the first remedy was to change how I responded to the audience. The second was to adjust how we presented content.

On-Air Sensitivity

When I shared the information with Jeff & Jer, the light came on, and they immediately said,

We have to stop doing things like that.

But that wasn’t the point. The content actually fit well with their character brand profiles. Changing the show’s content by eliminating material because of complaint would remove some traits that made up the rich and diverse personality mix.

They came up with a brilliant solution, demonstrating another reason they’re in the radio Hall of Fame.

Playing on the Disney theme, they reasoned that not every ride was for all kids.

So they started framing edgier segments differently. Instead of just presenting “Names for Boobs”, they set it up with an audio version of a “You Must Be This Tall to Ride” sign.

Here’s an example of what they might say:

Jeff: “Okay, we know you’re probably on your way to work or driving your kids to school, so if you have young kids in the car…you probably will need to turn the radio to another station in about 3 minutes, because Jerry is at it again…and some of you probably don’t want your kids to hear what he’s going to be doing next.”

In the background, Jerry’s complaining, “Come on, it’s not that bad. It’s nothing. It’s fun. They love it when we do this.”

The effect? Tune in. Suspense. Expectation. Mystery. Who’s going to tune out after a tease like this?

They had to hear what’s coming up.

The Lesson

This is a great example of how to use an audience persona. The information gathered doesn’t always lead to an immediate change in your brand or product, but the understanding that comes from the process has a profound impact on everything you do.

It affects how you write promos, create posts on social media, choose content and present material. It causes broadcasters to think through promotions differently and adjust communication with listeners through text messages and emails.

And, it may even alter how you relate to annoying complaints.

By the way, the adjustments didn’t stop, or even reduce, complaints. That wasn’t the goal. In fact, we want complaints. It means we’re creating emotional reactions and provoking a strong response. Listeners don’t complain about things taht don’t matter to them.

It did help us understand why they complained, though. And knowing that allowed us to respond appropriately.

Get An Audience Persona

If you haven’t built an audience persona yet, get started by watching this webinar on demand and downloading the templates to help build a deep persona profile.

If you need help, let me know and we can arrange to guide you through the process.

Photo credit: Freepik.com

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0460

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0460.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Burli Sponsors BCAB Awards

0

Burli Software was delighted to sponsor two awards at the annual BC Association of Broadcasters Awards in 2018: Excellence in News Reporting (Radio) and Excellence in New Reporting (TV).  Being passionate enthusiasts for good news, and offering a suite of tools that allow journalists to see their stories from start to finish, Burli was happy to contribute to these awards.

Our president, Ms ChiChi Liu, traveled to Kelowna for the BCAB conference, and was on hand to help present these awards.

The Television award went to CTV Vancouver for their “Officer Down” story.

L-R: ChiChi Liu (Burli Software), Les Staff (CTV), Kevin Gemmell (BCAB)

The Radio award went to Vista Radio BC North for their “BC Wildfires” story.

L-R: ChiChi Liu (Burli Software), Gary Russell (Vista), Geoff Poulton (Vista), Kevin Gemmell (BCAB)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.  The complete list of awards and winners can be found here.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0459

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0458.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Danger of Dead Ends and Detours

0

Dead ends and detours are the most frustrating things on a road trip. But they’re even more destructive on radio shows. On the air, both are equally dangerous on the air.

When traveling, two unforeseen things occur:

A detour is annoying because it routes you in an unplanned and unintended direction. And the longer the detour, the further out of the way it gets.

It’s annoying at first, but some detours turn out to be okay. Some even enjoyable. They take you places you would otherwise miss. In fact, some detours can become the highlight of your trip.

Another unexpected event is coming to a dead-end. A road block. Dead ends are never a good thing. The only solution is to turn around and go back because it’s impossible to move forward.

The same things happen on the air. Dead ends and detours destroy momentum, annoy listeners and turn otherwise terrific breaks into a horrible listening experience.

Avoiding Dead Ends and Detours

Show prep will protect against dead ends and detours. Most often, breaks bog down due to lack of detailed planning. On solo shows, this is almost always the cause of a break that doesn’t quite het where it’s intended. Just having an idea of which direction the content should flow and hoping for the best is rarely the recipe for success.

On multi-cast shows, it’s a little more complicated. Assigning and enforcing show roles is important for many reasons, but this is one of the most valuable. When a host takes charge of the break, and each cast member trusts the host, a show will have fewer problems.

And learning improv skills helps solo performers and multi-personality shows.

But it’s still going to happen from time to time. So it helps to know what causes these problems. This will help in the planning and preparation process.

Dead Ends

Dead ends are comments that make it difficult to continue forward in a direction.

A common problem is when a personality asks a rhetorical question, planning to continue with a thought. A co-host responds with a definitive answer rather than advancing the story line.

Here’s an example:

Host: Man, what would we do without our quarterback?

Co-host: Yep. I agree. We’d be in trouble. He’s really good.

Clearly the host is setting up a discussion. But the co-host is a barrier to the break moving forward. There’s nowhere to go with the comment. It’s a dead end, and a momentum killer. It adds nothing to the conversation.

Bad Questions Are Dead Ends

Another source of dead ends is poor question construction. Many programmers coach talent to ask questions to spark listener reaction. That’s a fine tactic, as long as the questions are good.

But personalities often craft questions that don’t lead to colorful responses or stories. Closed questions leave the audience with nowhere to go. The phone doesn’t ring because the question hasn’t provoked a response.

Here are examples of closed questions.

Do you agree with the President’s decision? (The only possible answer is yes or no).
How would you like to win $1,000? (Of course I would).
Do you think the Cowboys will win the game tonight? (Again, yes or no).

Each of these is a dead end. Even if the listener (or a co-host) responds, it doesn’t move the entertainment forward.

These, on the other hand, these are open-ended questions that lead to a more interesting response:

What would you do if you were the President?
You just found $1,000. How would you spend it?
What are the keys to the Cowboys winning tonight?

It’s pretty easy to see how these would all inspire more interesting responses isn’t it?

Difference Between Dead Ends and Detours

There are essential differences between radio personalities, but the ability to advance storylines is a skill that is clearly a big advantage.

Listen for it, and it’s easy to hear in radio shows. Some shows just sound highly engaging, expertly segueing from one topic to another in a single break. They leave me wishing they talked more.

Other shows sound like they work hard, maybe even prepare content in depth. But they can’t hold interest for 30 seconds. Their breaks are well structured, they are focused and they get to the point quickly, but dead ends destroy the listening experience.

Stu and Angie on Hot AC Majic 100 in Ottawa have a great rapport, and have mastered the art of conversation. Listen to how they flow seamlessly from one element to another.

This rather simple break transitions naturally from weather to a local community event about smoking to personal observation and opinion about teenage behavior.

On the surface, the break is ordinary. It’s routine. But it’s so  well structured and easy to listen to. It’s brilliant in simplicity, but the key is how they keep the communication flowing by avoiding dead ends and detours.

5 Things That Bring Breaks to a Halt

It’s fairly common for personalities to get off topic and allow breaks to get stuck in a circular pattern. It happens to every show from time to time.

Usually it happens in one of these 5 things:

Punchlines

When personalities just don’t know when enough is enough and keep going to hit one extra punchline, momentum is killed.

Sometimes, a second (or third, or even fourth) punchline is fine. In fact, mini-pay offs are like dropping audio bread crumbs. And that’s a critical part of leading the audience through content.

But when the break reaches a high point-the end-and the show just can’t stop, it’s like slamming into a brick wall at 100 mph.

If there is more than one punch line, great! Just be sure that each is better than the previous. And each mini-payoff should support and set up the big conclusion. That will help build momentum toward an end point.

Phone Calls

Air talent loves to go to the phones. In some cases, it sounds like some personalities expect the audience to provide the entertainment for the show.

Look, I love phone calls on the air. But only if the calls add to the storyline of the break.

When a call doesn’t move the storyline forward, it destroys momentum. It’s a dead end.

And that happens mostly in one of two situations:

  1. We take one too many phone calls. Everything is going along well, but that one extra call adds nothing new and suddenly the whole break feels heavy. It bogs down. It’s a dead end.
  2. Or, the call isn’ screened, the caller is unprepared and the host doesn’t know what they’re going to say. Then they introduce an angle that takes the break off-topic. It’s a detour.

Protect against this by designing topics to attract stories, not just responses.

For example, asking listeners, “What’s your favorite food for a party?” will lead to boring responses. I mean, who cares? And each call is going to sound like the last: “My favorite food is _______ because ________.” Each caller will be repetitious.

But if you rephrase the topic to “Party food disasters…what did you plan and what went wrong?”, you’ll generate stories that can add color to your topic.

Storytelling

Multiple personality shows face unique challenges to stay on track and avoid bringing breaks to a screeching halt.

It happens when cast members are unprepared, aren’t paying attention or are thinking more about what they’re going to say than supporting the storyteller.

But the biggest cause is shows who want to preserve the surprising, spontaneous response on the air. So co-hosts have no idea where the break is going.

I hear it when a personality is leading a break, telling a compelling story. They say something that reminds another character of a personal story. So they tell it. And just like that, the break goes off-topic.

It’s a detour. It may be well-intentioned, but it doesn’t matter. The audience is confused and it’s hard to get back on track.

It also happens when there are too many stories in a break. Even if a personality waits until the “right moment”, that next, related story probably isn’t going to be more compelling than the first. And both fail.

It’s not hard to protect against this, but it takes discipline and attention. Each cast member should become proficient in the improv skill of listen and respond. Be in the moment and react naturally.

Topics

The fourth mistake personalities make is stacking too many topics in a break, or more accurately, not drilling deep enough in a topic to find a story.

This usually happens from poor development in the preparation process.

Effective breaks happen when personalities find an emotional essence for a break. That means finding the story inside the topic.

Find the story and you will discover that most details in any topic are irrelevant. Eliminate the details. This will naturally narrow the focus of a topic and make it easier to keep the audience engaged.

You’ll also find that it allows more personality to cut through.

Detail-Glut

Finally, breaks reach a screeching halt when there are too many details that don’t advance the premise of the story. Facts aren’t interesting, but many personalities seem to think they need to be thorough and complete in presenting a break. But they don’t.

Descriptive, colorful details are essential in telling a story. But if the details point the wrong way, the story bogs down (dead end) and is hard to follow (detour).

Avoid the Screeching Halt

Each of these five things cause breaks to become too complicated, causing listeners to become confused. And when they’re confused, they get bored. That leads to a loss of attention.

And then: tune out.

When forward momentum is lost, breaks deteriorate. This kills personality even if the content is great.

Test the Topic. Before putting anything on the air, try a question or setup on a friend, family member or co-worker. Or put it up on Facebook or Twitter. Pay attention to their response. If you get a short, boring reply, your premise is too factual. Rephrase it, and find a way to introduce the topic so it produces a more colorful response. When you find a good response, practice advancing the conversation, probing for more of their story. Work on it, and soon you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier.

Get Into Improv: Improv skills help personalities on team shows and solo performers by understanding how to listen and respond, avoid blocking and responding “in the moment”.

Conclusion

Detours aren’t the end of the road but you get lost. They’re frustrating and annoying. On a road trip, you have to deal with it. On the air, listeners have a choice. They tune out.

Dead ends are the end of the road, and there’s nowhere to go. And listeners not only tune out, they try to avoid going on that road ever again! And that, of course, is very bad.

Dead ends and detours are hazardous to a radio show. Pay attention to how each break is constructed and work on skills to avoid these common pitfalls.

Photo credit: freepik.com

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0458

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0458.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Dr. Michael Poland, research geophysicist — Kilauea eruption
  • Dr. David Trucker, author, The 11th Commandment
  • Stuart Nulman, Book Banter

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0457

0

Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0457.



To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:


  • Douglas Smythe, shaving expert
  • Tamara Dorris, conflice resolution specialist — obnoxious co-workers
  • Peter Franklin, Gabby Cabby

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Promos That ROCK

0

Sun Tzu called the supreme art of war to subdue the enemy without fighting.

The truth is, in radio, you don’t have to worry about anything your competition is doing.

After all, you can’t change what another radio station does to try and steal listeners. They are all doing their best to get your audience with contests and promotions. They change their music or clocks. You can’t control that.

But then, none of it really matters. Every radio station can subdue their enemy without engaging in a direct fight.

Here’s how:

  1. Create great reasons to listen to your station.
  2. Be great in presentation and execution.
  3. Promote it effectively on and off the air.

Today, I’m going to show you how to drive ratings with promos that rock.

The Power Of Promos

If you were to be successful in getting your current cume to spend a few more quarter hours, and convince listeners to return just one more day per week, what will happen to your ratings?

Trick question: Your ratings would explode – in a good way!

Don’t believe me? Check the current ratings.

What is the cume for the station overall? Now look at the cume for each individual time of day. What percentage is listening to individual dayparts? Chances are it looks something like this:

Most time slots attract less than 40% of the station’s total cume.

What if you could increase those percentages?

Here’s the exciting part: You don’t need a huge marketing budget. A contest or promotion. You just need great content, great execution and an exciting promotion strategy.

Promos Are Verbal Combat

Radio stations are at war for the attention of the audience. And we’re at a terrible disadvantage because listeners have a big wall of defense that protects them from messages. Their BS meter is high. They have been well trained to resist hype. They ignore commercials.

Yet promos are one of the most important ways to drive more listening. And yes, they’re commercials.

Treat Them Like Commercials: Think of it this way:  Promos for your show or station are individual elements in a spot schedule on your own station. Advertisers pay a lot of money for messages delivered to your audience. You get to access that audience for free. That’s a tremendous advantage.

Promos Must Make a Statement. No promo  has ever been produced that is capable of convincing listeners of anything. Ever. It’s impossible. That’s not how you win the war. But promos can persuade an audience to take a specific action, which leads to persuasion over time. Each promo should be crafted to support brand values and make a statement about the brand.

Don’t Make Assumptions. All decisions are emotional decisions. We don’t make choices based on logic, facts or information. We may use logic, but actual decision making is governed by emotion.Promos that reason, or try to explain why our station is better won’t appeal to that animal instinct. The emotional part of the human brain drives response.

 

Cause A Reaction. Promos should have a call-to-action. If the promo doesn’t give me something to actually do, how will listeners come around to experience the brand in new ways?

Know What You Want

The key is to know what your brand wants from the audience.  You get what you ask for – if you ask the right way. Then promote to drive trial, not just awareness. Awareness is great, but remember where these commercials are running. On your station/ The only people who hear them already listen to your station. They don’t need to be made aware of your brand. Just persuade them to use it more often.

Promos aren’t marketing. The goal is to add Time Spent Listening (TSL) from existing listeners. More specifically, promos should be designed to gain occasions of listening. Each message should be specific with reasons to tune in.

But, it’s also dangerous to assume listeners know all about the station. Most of the audience probably doesn’t know much about you. And it’s naive to think that 100% of the station’s cume already listens to a show on that station. If just 50% do, you’re performing well above the average.

So promote increased trial. To do that, you have to know what you sell.

What Do You Sell?

Look at this from the most basic level. What does a good babysitter sell, really? It’s not child care exactly, but a relaxed evening out. A furnace salesperson? Cozy rooms for families.

Yet most of the promos we run are telling listeners what we do by making claims:

The Station That Rocks The Valley.

The 15-in-a-row hit music station.

Wake up and laugh with Springfield’s funniest morning show.

We’re great at making an argument based on what we do. But we can’t win the argument.

Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. What do these claims mean to them?

10 songs in a row/45 minutes commercial free: Radio loses all quantity of music claims. It is a losing position when your real competition is audio that is always commercial free. What difference does it make that you out-music a format competitor? When either of you goes into commercials, they still check out the other station.

The best music mix for your workday: For whose workday? The Dentist’s office or the construction site? Those are different uses, aren’t they? Workday is vague. Identify exactly who you’re for, why and what you represent.

Today’s Best Music: According to who? The 17 year old high school girl or her 45 year old mom? And what kind of music? Hip hop? Soft rock? Alternative?

The Rock Alternative: This is better, but alternative to what? Is that a claim about music genre or ????

We may have the funniest morning show in the world.  It may be true that we play the most music. And who’s going to prove that we DON’T rock the valley?  There’s nothing wrong with positioning statements that plant a flag. But they don’t cause action.

So first figure out what you’re selling. And yes, you’re selling something. You’re selling value. And what is the cost of what you’re selling? Time. You’re asking listeners to pay with their time and attention.

The key question is whether your product is worth the investment.

Emotional Promos With a CTA

Promos should connect with listeners emotionally.

Here’s an example of a promo that connects to emotions. This is for a morning show feature, the Phone Scam with Jeff and Jenn on Star 94.1 in Atlanta.

This is a terrific promo that shows off the #1 emotion listeners crave in a morning show (laughter) by demonstrating Jeff and Jenn as being funny. The laughter is contagious and shows off how listeners will use the show.

And it sets an appointment for a trial.

Create Great Promos

All promos should do at least one of 3 things:

1. Move a Storyline Forward. Repetitive promos or sweepers that regurgitate the same message over and over don’t connect because they don’t move the story forward. Listeners respond more to stories with momentum than to relentless pounding with information. That’s why each promo needs to deliver a Specific Message…even if that message doesn’t tell the whole story. We do this all the time with promos for contests. They’re either really long, with a list of facts and information or the promo is so FAST nobody can understand it.

2. Call to Action. Each promo must give your audience something to DO. Branding is important, but it can happen with action.What action do you want the listener to take? What action can they take?

3. Add to Brand Values. Promos shouldn’t be designed to sell, but to offer suggestions that impact your audience to come to their own conclusion. If your words pack a punch, you don’t need to exaggerate the adjectives.

Conclusion

Promos are a powerful tool to influence an audience. Use them as a strategic weapon to drive activity and cause listeners to become more habitual listeners and over time, become loyal fans.

I’d love to hear your best promos. Send them to me by email Tracy@Tjohnsonmediagroup.com