Tommy Kramer Tip #15 – How to give Time Lines

I keep hearing these dysfunctional Time Lines…”coming up,” “in a few minutes,” “later” or “later in the show,” “soon,” in minutes, ” “straight ahead,” etc.

All meaningless. To the listener hardened by “teases” with no follow-through for years, all lies. You might as well just say “…but not now.” Or “sometime before we all die.”

Here are the ONLY three ways to give Time Lines that actually work:

1. A SPECIFIC time—“7:20″ (NOT “about” 7:20 or “around” 7:20). If you make an appointment with me, be on time. (If you’re a network, use “at 7:20 Eastern” or something similar.)

2. A DURATION—a clear time FRAME, like “in the next twenty minutes” or “this hour.” Use five or ten-minute incrementsnot “in six minutes” or “within nine minutes.” (That’s too exact. I’m not listening with a stopwatch, and it isn’t the way people really speak.) If it’s going to come up in 17 minutes, say “in the next twenty minutes.” Keep in mind the purpose of giving a Time Line in the first place—to tell me how long I need to listen in order to make SURE that I’ll hear what you’re promoting. So you want toovershoot to the next five or ten-minute increment, so I won’t miss it.
Oh, and instead of “just after 8 o’clock” or “in about an hour” (too vague), say “between 8 and 8:30.”

3. “Next,” meaning that it will follow what’s playing now—this song, or this stopset. Do NOT say “after this” into commercials (or the silly “on the other side”); that just points out the commercials. Don’t say “when we come back,” either. That just says you’re “going away” somewhere while I sit here, waiting—or more likely, tuning to another station. And don’t say “in sixty seconds” or “in two minutes.” (Again, too exact. I’m not sitting here with a stopwatch. I’m busy.)

The CBS promos don’t say “The Big Bang Theory…sometime Thursday.”

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Tommy Kramer
Radio Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.