Stay Focused To Avoid Being Sloppy

Stay Focused To Avoid Being Sloppy

by Tracy Johnson

In a market I consult in, two personality oriented shows run the same feature, with the same name and a nearly identical premise, which involves a form of prank calls. There is one major difference. One is sloppy. The other is focused.


Show 1 spends about 45 minutes discussing what to do, essentially coming up with the concept on the air and talking about how their segment is going to sound. It’s like an on-air show prep session.

Then, after finally agreeing, they get around to actually doing it. Presumably, they spend so much airtime on it because they perform this feature just once a week. It sounds like they can’t come up with enough material to fill their show and stretch a 3 minute bit into an hour.


Show 2 develops the segment in advance, off the air. They pre-promote the setup and build anticipation for their daily episode. They pre-record the segment so they know how it’s going to end. This helps them tell the story so it builds momentum.

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After it’s over, they solicit listener comments, and engage the audience in a topic that emerges from the feature. They use the discussion as a tease to replay the segment an hour later.

Which Show Wins?

That’s pretty easy, isn’t it?

I’m sure Show 1 has reasons for how they execute their feature. I’m sure they get a lot of calls. But it’s not appealing. It’s an ordeal. It’s sloppy. The bit doesn’t move forward, it just wallows in the same spot. Beating it to death doesn’t generate momentum.

Show 1 is sloppy. Or lazy. Or both.

Show 2 is focused.


Longer doesn’t make it more important or more entertaining. Listeners don’t listen to hear a long break. They listen to hear a great break.

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Most of the time, the longer it takes on the air, the better the results.

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