One of the things we preach over and over again to on air talent is that they need to choose on-air content that the listener can relate to. It’s a good measuring stick to help us narrow down the pool of potential topics, especially if we’ve trained them well on who that actual audience is. However, relatable is only part one. ‘Is it interesting?’ is the second, and more important, half of the equation that many talent stop short of figuring out.
The majority of what we do in our daily lives is technically ‘relatable’, cooking dinner, cleaning, getting gas, showering (hopefully), going to the store, getting gas, etc. But, none of that is interesting. That’s why great on-air talent ALWAYS find an angle to make it interesting. They understand that as entertainers we are in no way tied to the truth. Maybe something happened while performing one of those mundane daily tasks but it wasn’t that interesting, unless we embellish it a bit, drop out any unnecessary details, sprinkle in a few spicy exaggerated ones for color and tweak the ending to wrap it up as an anecdote. And, if we have the space in our clock to carry it over, we use it as a stepping off point for engagement and throw it out to the listeners. However, like anything we ask the listener to engage with it should always be very clear exactly what we’re asking them to weigh in on, especially if it’s on the tail end of a personal story we’ve told. Too often that’s just a throwaway at the end of a break saying ‘Has that ever happened to you?’ after a long-winded story that leaves them confused as to which part their supposed to be relating to and commenting on.
I always use the dinner party test, if we wouldn’t talk about it at a dinner party where we’re trying to impress seven other people, we probably shouldn’t talk about it on-air where we have thousands of people we’re trying to simultaneously impress. Again, unless there’s a way to add some juice to it and showbiz it up a bit. I can’t count the times my wife has said to me on the way home, ‘you know that’s not how that happened right?’. To which I reply, ‘who cares, everybody laughed’. But she knew what she was getting into when she married a radio guy and she also knows to make sure I tell those funny anecdotes during drinks one and two instead drinks five and six.
What do you think? How do you find the ‘interesting’ angle when telling relatable stories on air? Comment below or email me at Andy@RadioStationConsultant.com.
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