.. did you hear what they said on the radio this morning?

By Peter Don

Broadcast Programming & Research

You know when your radio station is hot ..  people actually care about what happens on the radio .. as Oscar Wilde said:  ‘… there’s only one thing worse than being talked about – and that’s not being talked about …’

So far in the process of making a great morning show we’ve carefully defined the position or style of our breakfast show and worked on how this will be presented in both on and in off air marketing …  in the way that fits with what listeners want – and the brand and positioning of the station. At the same time we’ve focussed on defining and developing the characters who make up the morning team…
now, what we need is a good storyline …. 
Let’s face it, this is the hard work of the morning show because it needs to be done every day ..

‘ …the beauty of great content is simplicity in execution. The strength of compelling communication is reinforced through its application…  a good idea is only as good as its implementation….’

Delivering great content in an interesting an compelling way is the art-form. Developing the raw material is part of a process ….  


before you can even start to decide what content fits into a show – you must first decide what defines your listeners – are they single, married, male, female, upwardly mobile, news hounds, family focussed, etc etc – without this information clearly understood by all members of the team, generating content is like using a shotgun for target shooting – in a wide spray of bullets something just ‘might’ hit the target.. but it’s usually more luck than judgement.
OK, let’s assume that you have done your ground work  

here are some ‘universals’ …  that we can start with
Heart and home – relatable topics, situations and perspectives that uniquely tailored to your audience…
plus …

– Local information – tell me what to wear, is it going to rain, can I travel to work without delays or problems ?

– what’s been happening in  the past 24 hours – especially things that have happened overnight? 

– what’s likely to impact on my life and my world?

– How’s my team going?

These things are ‘essential’ information – but that’s only the beginning …  being entertaining also means bringing a unique perspective to the everyday …

– look for stories to tell  –

– about relationships
– observations on what’s happening around us
– the odd things that people do
– highlighting the unique perspectives to any topic within the team …  and among your listeners.

But what ‘filters’ need to be applied to all of these things….

– is this happening in my town/city – can I localise this?
– how might this impact on my listener
– how might this idea be presented
– if I do something on this  – does it have a point  – more than that …  does it pass the (listener’s) ‘so-what’ test?

Now, focus on execution … how should you deliver these ideas?

Start with a ‘Mind Map’:

– List all of the things that you want to include ….
– talk among the team about how to approach each topic …
– examine the angles – can we get to this in a way that doesn’t seem just obvious’
– what is the lead in – (most importantly) how does this end – what’s the payoff??
finally,  let’s remind ourselves what listeners tell us they want?
…. a morning show that delivers – all or part of …
– the news and information I need
– warm and friendly personalities
– a show that is fun and entertaining to listen to .. 

but what’s entertaining – is it humour?

“Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing.”
  William James  
Remember compelling content can be found in the everyday, it’s the delivery and execution of this that turns ‘stuff’ into compelling radio content … 
The worst radio ‘bits’ are items obviously taken from a newspaper (with or without credit) that have no relevance to ‘me’, no obvious relevance to time and place (no topicality) ad worst of all, no point…
great content is the building block to personality and celebrity – without interesting and memorable content, presenters are simply another voice … 
and the final step is developing radio personalities into celebrities ……
the right endorsements and pop culture sensibilities together with the right creative executions are important steps in creating the power of celebrity and influence. In the right environment celebrity and content combine as winning ingredients to influence public opinion. we see this in the biggest movie and pop-stars sometimes whether or not they deserve it.