Here’s How to Tell A Story Inside a Feature! [audio]

Here’s How to Tell A Story Inside a Feature! [audio]

by Tracy Johnson

Virtually every radio personality that reaches a high level of success has learned to tell stories. And most shows that get traction in a market establish branded features that listeners look forward to. Great personalities learn how to tell a story inside a feature.

That’s why I refer to features as Content Containers. They hold stories in a more memorable way. But many times, personalities make the mistake of leaving the feature on it’s own, rather than using it as a tool to create entertainment.

Here’s a great example of how to do it, courtesy of Jeff and Jenn, the morning show on Star 94.1 in Atlanta.

Jeff and Jenn’s feature is called Ghost Hunting. It’s similar to Second Date Update. As you probably know, ignoring contact requests is commonly referenced as Ghosting. So Jeff and Jenn look for stories, then go on a hunt to find out why their listener is being ghosted.

Story Inside a Feature

The segment happened in two parts. Here’s their setup:

They do a great job in this segment. First, Jenn establishes anticipation by letting us know this is going to be a great episode. You can feel her enthusiasm.

Then they move quickly into the listener’s story. There’s no wasted time here, and they don’t give away the story’s unique twist that is coming in Part 2.

Notice:

  • They’re empathetic to the caller, asking for details.
  • They draw her out, building more intrigue and curiosity, by asking the right questions.
  • They don’t try to take over the story. Instead, they frame the caller’s story and keep it moving forward.
  • Jenn does a great job explaining the feature to the caller, which is also explaining it to the audience. It’s very clear what’s going on there.
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Typically, this feature is set up to put the couple on together in the second segment. However, because of the nature of this episode, Jeff teases the pay off by revealing that he has already talked to the guy, and he’s appalled.

They then get another tune-in occasion by promoting it coming up in 3 minutes.

Outstanding set up!

Ghost Hunting Part Two: The Pay Off

And here’s part two, where the show pays off the feature:

Jeff and Jenn present this story exceptionally well.

They do a great job in building anticipation, as Jeff sets up the call with the guy in the conversation. But they also know that this isn’t so much about the guy’s response, but the woman’s action. They never lose sight of the story.

Also, one of the keys in storytelling is to delay the resolution, using details to build drama to the conclusion. They do this exceptionally well, luring the audience further into the segment.

Other Notes:

  • There are many angles to this story, and the show never rushes through them. They allow each to breathe.
  • That causes the second segment to be a little longer than ideal, but it never drags or gets old. It could be a little tighter in a couple of places but that’s nit-picky!
  • The character traits of the show’s characters (Jeff, Jenn, Kelly Cheese) comes through in the twists and turns of the show as they respond to the story. Yet they don’t take over the story. This is a great example of the concept of It’s Not About You: It’s All About You.
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Story Inside A Feature Conclusion

The segment is a terrific example of the show getting involved in an emotional story, exploring it from multiple angles and never making it “about us”.

The story progresses naturally and easily. And, the fact that it fits into their Ghost Hunting feature helps with memorability and further establishing Ghost Hunting.

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