No doubt about it; the thing I get asked about the most is Content; what to talk about each day. Choosing the right Content is crucial to doing a great show, no matter what your radio station’s format is.
Some of your Content is provided for you with station promotions and events, contests, special listener “clubs” that give feedback on the music, stuff like that. And in a music format, there’s always stuff about the artists, concert dates (if they apply to your market), and whatever special musical features you provide.
But that’s only about half of what you need.
Here’s a good “default setting” list of The 5 Subjects that will always work:
1. The Economy—specifically Job Stuff. Money is the #1 motivator. Not enough money, you’re unhappy. Plenty of money, you want to protect it and make sure it doesn’t vanish overnight, so you can put your kids through school or have enough to retire someday. So job stuff is always something to pay attention to. And there’s always comparing our jobs to other people’s jobs. Take working at Walmart, for instance; that’s worse than being the President of a bank, but a lot better than being a javelin catcher.
2. Entertainment. We’re an Entertainment-driven nation. Whether it’s “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” hoping Miley Cyrus will have that tongue-shortening operation she so desperately needs, or just paying attention to the movies and TV shows your listener likes the most, the Entertainment world is ripe with stuff you can use. However, stay away from being obvious or salacious with it. And you can’t just read a bunch of stuff from websites. It has to be the same kind of conversation you’d have with a friend over lunch, or at a backyard barbecue.
3. Relationships. It’s all about relationships, really, whether it’s our friends, families, or co-workers. Relationships—good or bad—shape everything we do.
4. “The Buzz.” The thing today that everyone seems to be talking about should ALWAYS be on your radar screen. To not talk about it is to be an ostrich, with your head stuck in the sand, and there’s a real danger in seeming like you’re not aware of it. There’s one exception, however, and that’s if the Value position of your station means that you should avoid talking about it, like maybe something that people wouldn’t want the kids in the car to hear, for instance. In that case, you might want to make a point of saying that you’re NOT going to talk about it—and why.
5. “Things that grow out of the show.” As your career develops, you’ll find things that are unique to you. Use them. For example, one guy I work with, Don Godman, made a wonderful little feature out of his son’s adventures, called “The Gavin Report.” It’s delivered—by Gavin—like a child’s news magazine, with something like going to a museum or the State Fair being an “episode.” It’s the single most remembered thing about Don’s show. His audience feels like they’ve watched his son grow up on the radio.
If what you want to talk about doesn’t fit into one of these categories, I’d strongly recommend that you just toss it. Even Politics should “qualify” by being “the buzz” or looking at how the issues affect people’s lives and relationships.
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Radio Talent Coach
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.