At best most shows have one or two spots a day where they’re connecting with the listeners, usually through contesting or their best daily benchmark. That’s certainly better than shows that don’t connect with the audience at all. But, it’s not enough to really move the needle and drive new cume and more TSL. So, here are four steps to help any show connect with the listeners throughout their shift.
1) Create an on-air persona that people want to connect with, one that’s welcoming, inviting, interesting, positive, cool, funny or a combination of those. I’ve coached and managed lots of on-air talent who were sent down the wrong path early in their career by being given the well-meaning and seemingly harmless advice to ‘be yourself’ on the air. Programmers say this because they want us to sound more natural and drop the put-on DJ voice, but personality-wise it’s rare for a successful air talent to be 100% themselves on the air. Typically, we turn up or turn down certain aspects of our personality to create a persona that works better on air and fits the specific demo and format for they station we’re on. I know personally I’m a slightly different jock depending on the format and none of them are exactly who I am, because I’m a weirdo and it’s important for me to downplay certain parts of that to be more appealing to the audience.
2) Only choosing content we can add to that’s relatable to the core demo and fits our format. Too often shows default to just choosing content they’re interested in talking about. It’s easy to rationalize this by telling ourselves that those are the topics we’re most knowledgeable about and can therefore intelligently speak on. But it’s misguided and it’s one reason why many shows are internally focused instead of externally focused. If instead we make a concerted effort to ONLY choose content we can add to/expand on that truly relates to our core demo and fits the format, we’ll be on our way to connecting with the audience consistently.
3) Getting to that content quickly. Another area where many shows fall short is by adding any kind of filler before they get to that content they’ve worked so hard to identify, coordinate on and schedule. That filler can be content that’s unrelated, overdoing station info/liners/promotions, weather talk, personal stuff, long-winded intros to the content to make it seem more organic, etc. If we want to connect with our listeners we have to start by not wasting their time with ANY unnecessary filler.
4) Make listeners a part of the show. This doesn’t just mean giving out the phone number and asking them to call or ‘join the conversation’. Yes, that’s part of it. But, only a small part. One of the big secrets of successful major market shows and syndicated shows is that they never leave anything to chance. Although it may sound like things just organically and magically come together, that’s RARELY ever the case. Everything is strategic, purposeful and planned. A big part is that, especially on new benchmarks/features/contests, they never throw something out for engagement without having a ringer, faked or banked call lined up to get the ball rolling. Another key to getting that listener engagement going, on air/social/the app, is to leave room for the listener to engage. It’s not our job to cover every angle and if we do there’s nothing left for the audience to interject. Remember, if we have a solo show the listener should be our co-host and on team shows the listener should be the extra member. If we make the audience feel like they’re in the room with us, we’ll consistently outperform the competition.
What do you think? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.
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