When working with radio personalities on character profile exercises, we often pose a thought-provoking question: “If you were to disappear from the radio and never return, what unique qualities would listeners miss about you?” Furthermore, how can you tell if your answer is accurate? Although this is a significant question, it can be broken down into smaller, daily inquiries: “If a listener didn’t tune in today, would they feel like they miss anything?”
A common strategy for enhancing radio shows is to focus on building equity in the strongest features while eliminating weaker content. This approach is akin to how Gordon Ramsay helps struggling restaurants refocus their efforts. However, radio personalities can sometimes become attached to segments that don’t resonate with their audience, allowing their ego to cloud their judgment.
Will They Miss Anything?
A client was going through growing pains and had recently refocused on retrenching around a strategy to establish tune-in moments with features. As a result, weaker content had to disappear.
One of the personalities was personally attached to a segment that was going nowhere. Research showed it was weak, and there was little taste for this type of content. It had come off the air three months before and not a single listener complained or even asked about it.
Yet the personality insisted on bringing it back, though there was no evidence that supported the idea. He admitted the new features were working, but he personally missed the segment. His ego was blocking good judgment.
Every break is a precious opportunity to build a personality brand with content that listeners would miss if it weren’t there.
How To Evaluate Content
Choose any radio show and evaluate it carefully for a day or two. Were there any Didja Hear moments that could have inspired a listener to tell someone else what they heard?
Now listen to your show.
Evaluate every segment.
If I didn’t listen, did I miss anything?
You’ll likely hear:
- Mechanical breaks featuring live reads of liner cards that sound like we’re reading an ad.
- Teases and promos with a call to action but nothing to inspire that action.
- Ordinary segments with potential but no emotion because of shallow or non-existent show prep.
- A flat information segment (news, entertainment updates, weather, traffic, etc.) that sounds like someone forced us to do it at gunpoint.
- A feature or game with great potential, but is executed without passion to make it stand out.
Finally, brainstorm what could make it stand out in big ways and small:
- What one thing had the potential to be an “I wish I heard it today” moment?
- How could each segment be energized to cause the audience to feel a connection?
- And what should have been relegated to the cutting room floor?
Every radio segment is a valuable opportunity to establish a personality brand with content that listeners would miss if it were absent. So, how can you ensure that your audience feels they’re missing out when they don’t tune in?
- Assess your content: Listen to your show and evaluate each segment. Are there any memorable moments that could spark a conversation between listeners? If you didn’t listen, would you feel like you missed something important?
- Honestly identify areas for improvement: Be aware of the common pitfalls in radio content, such as mechanical breaks with live reads, uninspiring teases, and promos, shallow show preparation, flat information segments, or features executed without passion.
- Brainstorm ways to enhance your content: Consider how each segment can be made more memorable, engaging, and emotionally resonant. Identify the elements that could transform a segment into an “I wish I heard it today” moment, and don’t be afraid to discard content that doesn’t add value to your show.
Apply this evaluation process to other aspects of your station or show: Ask yourself if the absence of elements like email newsletters, annual promotions, or social media engagement would generate inquiries or complaints from your audience.
Remember, every time you turn on the microphone, you have the opportunity to create a unique and memorable experience for your listeners. Treat each moment as a gift to showcase your personality, entertain your audience, and forge meaningful connections. Prepare, develop, and perform each segment with the intention of leaving your listeners with a sense of FOMO-fear of missing out.