This tip is specifically for team shows, but it applies to anyone who has someone else in the studio, whether that’s a partner or an interview with someone.
It’s really boring to tune into a couple of people who start a break (or a segment) by only talking to each other. It makes the listener feel like he or she is outside the house, looking at the party through the window.
There’s an easy fix for this, but you have to do it EVERY time: Talk to ME (the listener) first, THEN talk to each other.
Here’s an example from years ago, when I worked briefly on the morning show with one of my dearest friends, “Brother” Jon Rivers in Dallas at KLTY. (You’ll also hear our newsman and Producer reacting.) It was on a Monday. I had taken the previous Friday off to go work with a station in Orlando, but instead of turning to me and saying “So how’d your trip to Florida go?” listen to how Jon started it…
Note: If you listen closely, you’ll hear Jabba the Hut’s laugh as I mention him. The laugh was Jon’s idea, and he loaded it into the computer before we got on the air that day. Just another example of Jon’s brilliance. Production Values—even for something that small—can add an extra dimension.
Mark Ramsey is one smart dude. See: http://www.markramseymedia.com/
If you’ve worked with him, or even just read or seen some of his stuff, you already know that Mark is always grinding away, looking to the present only as it applies to the future, and helping stations refine what really connects with listeners.
One of his most engaging thoughts is how essential “memorable moments” are to creating fans of your show (and the station). All the best Consultants’ minds have their own takes on this, but as you may have noticed, I focus on EXACTLY HOW things work.
So, if you want to get on the fast track to creating those Memorable Moments, here’s the foundation in coaching terms:
It’s all about Emotion and Opinion. You HAVE to give an opinion to be remembered. And ALL memorable radio comes from an Emotional place. (The same as great books, great plays, great movies, and great music.) People NOTICE it when something comes from the heart and reveals something about not just what you think, but also what you FEEL.
Here’s a great example, from my friend Norm Hitzges on The Ticket in Dallas:
The space between KNOWING what to do and actually DOING it is the biggest space in the process. By isolating the purpose of each break—what this break is about, each time—you close the gap.
It’s never “Ready, Fire, Aim.” Unless you’re sure of how you’re starting, what the “plot points” are, and what the Destination of a break is, you’re playing Russian Roulette with that break, no matter how short or easy it may seem to be.
The time to do your thinking is BEFORE the mic opens. Then you just relax into the performance.
Bet you’ve heard this a hundred times…one person says something, then the other person says “I was gonna say…” and tacks on another thought. If you’re that second person, this may seem innocuous to you, but it carries several liabilities:
First, it’s not in the “now”, so, of course, it stops the momentum. (Or even makes it go backward.)
Second, what “I was gonna say…” REALLY says is “I’m determined to get this thought in, even though the moment has passed, come hell or high water.”
Third, it gives the impression that you have to get in the last word—or even worse, like you’re trying to “top” the other person’s thought.
So the solution for “I was gonna say” is…don’t say it.
Remember, every single thing said by each person (and that can be a caller or guest) should move the subject FORWARD, like the game “leapfrog” that we played as kids.
When you stop wasting words and embrace the discipline of just letting it go instead of forcing a thought in, you’ll have taken a step forward in being perceived as not wasting the listener’s time. With all the ‘buzz’ about PPM indicating that breaks should be short, it’s important to realize that it’s not really always about length as measured by a stopwatch; it’s also about how long it FEELS.