There’s a reason why network TV shows stopped doing long intros that lasted a couple minutes several years ago. They understand how important it is to pique the interest of the viewers who were watching the last show to keep them tuning in for the next show. Their best hope of doing that was to get right into the story and a long show intro gets in the way of that. It’s not that there’s no value in an intro, it sets the tone of the show, can introduce and define some of the main characters and the setting. It’s just not as important as hooking viewers with a storyline. Most of radio has learned and applied this lesson. But there are still lots of radio shows, even in big markets, that are holding on to the long intro at the top of each show. If so, it’s time to give in and kill it once and for all.
As a general rule anything that’s exactly the same, or even roughly the same, every day should be eliminated or at least drastically minimized. Our regular listeners, P1s, may suffer through it but they are definitely at least zoning out if not physically tuning out for it. Brand new listeners we’re trying to convert aren’t going to be won over by a pre-recorded intro. They’re going to be won over by our content. The same goes for anything where we’re saying the exact same thing every day. If our avid listeners can recite it from memory, then that’s a good sign that we should vary it up. We’re also likely turning off new listeners by not performing it with the same energy as our fresh content.
Some people will say, well actually our intro is content because we include recent drops and we do change it daily. If that’s the case then you are wasting lots of time preparing something of minimal value to the show. Long, often self-serving show intros are nobody’s favorite part of any show. Yes, they might recite something from the show intro when they see us out and about but that’s because it’s seared into their memory thanks to the daily repetition, not a sign that they love it. Instead, we should redirect that energy into developing content for a segment, benchmark or feature, all of which are higher value to a show than any intro.
To be clear, I’m not saying shows shouldn’t do show specific imaging and liners. I think they absolutely should. That imaging should however be in line with the branding and parameters of the broader station imaging. Typically that means, short, sweet and selling the strategic listener benefits and our point of difference from other stations and shows.
What do you think? Should the long show intros stick around or be put out of their misery? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.
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