It All Starts On-Air By Andy Meadows

If a station isn’t creating digital content it’s often an indicator that their on-air product is lacking. When an air-talent are just reading station liners and the weather there’s nothing to work with on the digital platforms. I talk a lot about multi-platform content, creating something on-air that can be tweaked or extended to work on the website, social media, as a podcast or an on-site element. However, that all breaks down if we’re not creating engaging and compelling on-air content to begin with. That’s because, if we don’t know what to talk about on-air then we’re certainly not going to know what to talk about online and on our social pages. 

Here are six simple steps to create on-air content that translates well to digital. 

1) Know Your Audience: Regularly creating compelling and engaging on-air content starts with truly knowing and understanding our station’s audience. Not just the demographics, but also the psychographics, what they’re interests are, how they lean politically and religiously. All of that informs the content we choose and how we deliver it on air and online. 

2) Prioritize Show Prep: A minimum of thirty minutes of prep for every hour the air talent is on the air, regardless of whether the shift is live or tracked, the daypart or the market size. In business the old saying is ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’ Well on air one of the quickest ways to move up the ranks is to prep for your current shift like it’s the shift you ultimately want, IE prep for a night shift like it’s a drive-time shift or a small market morning show like it’s a big market morning show. 

3) Incorporate Digital Into the Prep Process: We have a free downloadable weekly and daily show planner meant to help on air personalities decide which digital platforms to use for individual segments and features while the content is being developed. The idea is to game-plan which platforms we’re going to use to pre-promote, promote during the show, or post promote our content after the show. 

4) Add Content Segments: Outside of mornings many air-shifts have gotten away from doing any real content breaks, especially during the pandemic. But even just planning out one content break per hour would give each air talent multiple potential blogs to extend with a couple sentences and copy/paste to the website CMS. 

5) Increase Listener Engagement: Creating daily contests, features and benchmarks to get the listeners interacting with us will open the door to several creative ways to turn those segments into digital content. Here are a few examples of digital content used to pre-promote and recycle features and contests. 

6) Tease Often: If it’s worth airing then it’s worth teasing. Every content segment, phone topic, feature and benchmark should be teased in the prior break. Plus, some of that same teaser verbiage will likely work on social media or the web to tease that same segment digitally. Here are some social teaser examples. 

Want some feedback on your station’s on-air content or digital content? Email me some audio and examples at and I’ll give you my feedback.

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