Note: This is a music radio tip, primarily. However, there is an application to Talk radio that I’ll do in another tip someday.
It’s a terrible thing to say, but honestly, I’ll bet 90% of the breaks I hear are too long. Sometimes just a word or two too long. Sometimes an entire paragraph too long. In severe cases, an entire additional Subject too long.
Who has time?
Brief history lesson: Radio sold its soul several decades ago when it devalued its own product – TIME. When you could buy a :60 second spot for the same (or about the same) as a :30-second spot, people started buying :60’s. Stopsets got longer. Music sweeps got shorter. And the thought in a lot of air talent’s minds was “So when I stop down, I want to do a big long break, because I’m not gonna get another chance very soon.”
But that was wrong. Adding more verbiage to the already increased verbiage of longer and/or more commercials just turned everything into a Talk Wall (in music formats). The main complaints became “they play too many commercials” and/or “they talk too much.”
There are very successful morning shows that would be twice as good (and have twice the success) if they talked half as much. Talking more often, spreading out short bursts over the course of the hour, used to be how music radio was done in the Drake and “Q” formats – and it worked; BOY, did it work. We made the old-time Top 40 jocks sound like they COULDN’T SHUT UP, and we still got our “shots” in, but we fit them into song intros or short, one-thought breaks when we stopped down to go into commercials.
“Well, that would never work today.” Want to bet?
Yes, it does. Dramatically so. But it takes a buy-in level that’s hard to get because jocks seem to think they’re paid by the word. But you’re not. You’re paid by the CONNECTION.
Tighten things up. It’s 2018. Everyone has a three-second attention span. And be clear, it’s not that I just don’t want you to talk. Quite the opposite; my whole thing is developing true Personalities. But this is the formula: One thought, developed properly, then get OUT. No “the moral of the story is…” ending. In a team show, be willing to let the other person have the last word. Or let a caller, or a contest winner have the last word. Assume that the listener is at least as smart as you, but has less time to spend. You’ll be amazed at the results. Less is more – and more is too much.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2018 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.