Saturday, March 26, 2011


I spend a lot of time listening to personalities in all dayparts from all over the United States and Canada. One thing is clear, there’s not a lot of prep going into these shows. I hear a lot of wasted breaks. If I could see the live video feed from the studio I’m sure it would look something like this; the personality is reading the paper or surfing the web, the song is nearly over, in a rush grabs the headphones, clears the throat, takes a breath, turns the mic on and then says “here’s Brooks and Dunn’s My Maria on KXYZ.” WOW! Magic. Pure magic.

I’ve always used this analogy when working with jocks, say you are emceeing a sold out concert. There are 15,000 people (close to a large/major markets AQH) looking at the stage. The road manager hands you what they want you to say. You’re a little nervous, pacing and practicing. I bet you spend at least five minutes working on your break. You get on stage and nail it. It was perfect and thousands of people cheered. Why wouldn’t you spend that much time and focus on each of your breaks when you’re on the air? You have thousands of people listening, granted you don’t see them, but you and I both know they are there.

Many people may only hear you talk a couple of times each day. Use every opportunity to showcase your station and talents. Having the internet makes finding relevant show prep easier than ever. Here are a few tips to help you come to the studio prepared and find things your listener really cares about:

First thing is to know your audience. Not who you want them to be, but who they really are. If you’re not exactly sure who your target is, ask your PD. Once you know, then you can customize your show prep to them.

I learned from Jaye Albright years ago to “bring five things.” It instantly changed not only my show, but the whole station. Before you enter the studio find five things that are going on in the world that you want to talk about and your listener wants to hear. They can be local, national, personal, etc.

The internet is an endless source of prep. I love You can search news by most popular and most viewed. It’s a great way to find out what people really care about at this exact minute. You can also find a ton of local stories by simply entering your zip code.

Have more prep than you’ll use. If you have prep left over, then you came to your show with enough.

When prepping for your show always try to find audio to use on the air. Talking about Dancing with the Stars is good; having audio from the judges or the contestants reaction makes it great. Imagine how boring a TV newscast would be without video and graphics. Radio needs audio to enhance our product.

Prepping for your show shouldn’t be something you do ten minutes before you go on the air. Show prep is 24/7. There are a few things that are essential to have with you all the time. Pen and paper to write down things that you may want to use on the air and a digital audio recorder. We’re an audio medium and you should always be on the lookout for recording things from real people you can use on your show. Finally, go buy a HD Flip Mino Cam. The sound quality isn’t great, but the picture quality for a camera that small is awesome. Use the camera for your website. Video on the web is what pictures were in 1998.

Remember, having show prep isn’t a green light to talk and have long, unfocused, rambling breaks. No matter how much show prep you bring with you, it’s more important to keep your breaks brief and focused.

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