Getting More Mileage Out Of Our On-Air Content By Andy Meadows

Preparing to do a daily radio show when it’s only one of the many responsibilities we have can be a daunting task. We could easily spend a full workday filtering through mountains of showprep to find what to talk about and how, creating a daily contest and feature or two, crafting teases to all of that content, and then plotting out an entire four hour show while balancing all the liner and sales commitments. One of the big secrets successful talent have for making all of that manageable is getting more mileage out of the content they do select. Here are four keys for doing that.

Develop The Content

One of radio’s selling points over other mediums is how timely and topical we can be. If something major happens we can be on the air talking about it within seconds. Because of that it’s easy for on-air talent to fall into the trap of rushing to get on the air with something first instead of taking a beat to develop their angle. Typically, it’s the on-air talent that does it best who reaps the rewards not the talent that mentioned it first. Even on those rare major things that break when we’re live on the air we can spend a couple seconds putting our thoughts together. But, overall if we want our content to be extendable it has to be developed.

Don’t Check Off Topics

Another big key for getting more mileage out of content is to remember that we don’t check off a topic once we’ve talked about it. Great talent learn to recognize which topics are worthy of milking a little, finding multiple angles and storylines or using updates as an excuse to revisit them. There’s also nothing wrong with occasionally bringing topics back in essentially the same exact way at a different time of the show, remembering that it’s unlikely the audience in the first hour of the show is the same as the audience in the third or fourth hour. Plus, we have to remember, major stories generally stay relevant for days if not weeks or longer. It’s ok to continue talking about something that our listeners are also continuing to talk about.

Bring The Listener In On It

Finding an angle to get the listener to engage with a topic is the fastest way to get multiple breaks out of something. Plus, there’s are a whole handful of positive side-effects of listener engagement. It turns a show for us into a show for them, letting them know that they’re an active part of the show not just a passive outside listener. It also improves our content selection because the instant feedback, or lack there of, is a great indicator whether we’re identifying content they care about. Plus, it’s truly the only way for a solo show to ever compete with a good team show because they’ve successfully made the listeners their surrogate cohosts. 

Extend To Digital

When I started in radio most of the things we said on the air happened and then immediately went away forever. If we were lucky a handful of those things stuck and if we were diligent, we grabbed one break a day for a daily ‘here’s what you missed’ promo or our best-of montage. If you had told young radio-brat me that there would one day be free and low-cost tools for capturing and sharing any on-air break with tons of people who happened to miss it I would have said ‘wow, I’m sure everyone is utilizing that.’ I would be shocked to find out that many of on-air personalities rarely post audio on the station websites (or anything for that matter), seldom build on their on-air content by creating videos for social or have their own weekly podcasts

What do you think? What are some ways you’ve gotten more mileage out of your on-air content? Comment below or email me at

Pic designed by seventyfourimages for Envato Elements.

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