As a consultant who coaches air talent on creating better airchecks, and previously as a programmer who hired talent for twenty years, I’ve gone through literally tens of thousands of airchecks. Going through that many airchecks there are multiple takeaways, but one thing that stands out is this, jocks who have a weather forecast on their aircheck probably don’t prep enough. An aircheck is a greatest hits sample and if reading the weather is one of our greatest hits, that’s not a good sign.
For far too many on-air personalities weather has become a major crutch. I get it, we’re always being told to be more ‘local’ and weather is certainly local. It’s topical, relevant and something everyone cares about. However, its also easily accessible on the smart phones we all have in our pockets and hence not as important as it used to be. I’m not saying we shouldn’t mention the weather on air, we should, but not more than once or twice an hour tops and just the highlights. ‘Sunny and 74, high of 95 later’ and only going into more detail if its something out of the ordinary (For instance how the west coast has been deep frying lately.) All of that goes out the window of course in a weather emergency, where local radio should still shine.
Weather isn’t content, its filler for a lack of content. Case in point, what’s the default thing we talk about with a stranger we have nothing in common with? The weather. If that’s all we have in common with our listeners, especially our P1s, then we have a major problem.
Our goal on air should be to come up with on air content that’s tease-able, can be turned into phone topics, shared on the website and social pages, carried over into other breaks to increase TSL and ultimately turned into conversation starters for our listeners to engage with their friends/family/coworkers. Every second we spend reading the weather on air is a second we’re not creating that kind of content.
If we properly prep for a show then it should be so hard to fit the weather in that it gets pushed to the corners and fit in quickly and concisely, not prominently featured throughout the hour.
What do you think, how important is a weather forecast in today’s radio climate and how should it be delivered? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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