A visit to Disneyland or Disney World is a lifetime highlight for kids and parents. It’s an adventure that creates memories that last. Disney is often called the Happiest Place on Earth. Nothing bad happens on a visit to the Magic Kingdom.  It’s a perfect metaphor for how great personalities perform a radio show. A Disney visit is special as long as adults remember it’s about sharing a once-in-a-lifetime event with the kids.

So think of your radio show as Disneyland. Listeners are children. Personalities are the adults (that may beg the only time you hear that reference).

Be Like Disneyland

In this metaphor, air personalities are responsible for engaging, indulging, and spoiling the kids so they have a great time. Nothing else matters. Barriers must be eliminated so the kids can experience the thrill of a lifetime (your show).

That means parents must be engaged at all times. If mom and dad spend the day on the phone, texting, or checking social media, the kids are disappointed.

Kids can feel when their parents don’t care just as listeners sense it on the radio. When air personalities are distracted, it affects performance. And it affects cohosts. When a partner sees the host checking YouTube, they think it’s no big deal to text their boyfriend. Soon, everyone in the studio is doing something else.

It sounds like a small thing, but it affects the experience. Taking the kids to Disney is hard work. It demands patience and focus.

Make Memories

Imagine the excitement building before the first ride of the day. Something amazing is about to happen. Parents tell stories to create anticipation. No matter how many times they’ve been on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, they look forward to it again. Each moment is a reason to celebrate.

Enthusiasm is contagious. Imagine going on Splash Mountain and just saying, “Fun, huh? What do you want to do next?”.

Wouldn’t this be better:

That was a great ride. I loved it when the log splashed and we got soaked. Let’s go get the picture and then get on again!

On the radio show, celebrate every attraction. That includes the features, contests, games, songs, and news and information segments. Each is part of the listener’s experience.

The Downside of Disney

For parents at Disney, some things are a drag.

  • It was an expensive day.
  • Parking is a nightmare.
  • Kids get overstimulated, cranky, and sticky.
  • Standing in line is boring.
  • Sometimes it’s hot. Really hot.
  • Adults get tired.

A few minutes at the Star Wars attraction is awesome but it was only a couple of minutes. Was it worth waiting in line for two hours?

Guess what? Kids remember the magic, not the hassle. Ask what they thought of the day and they’ll go on and on about how cool it was. Ask an adult and they complain about the problems.

Radio has problems. Commercials suck. Playlists are small. A format clock restricts talent. There’s not enough money for marketing. The show doesn’t get the attention it thinks it deserves.

It’s not perfect but don’t let it affect the listener experience. Remember: it’s not about you.

Planning The Trip

Disney trips can be overwhelming. There’s too much to do and. not enough time to do it all. So get a three-day pass and plan for the best possible visit. Figuring out how to spend time at the park is complicated. Choices must be made.

There are dozens of topics to talk about on the air. They may be strong topics, but there’s not enough time to do everything. Be selective. Plan each topic so each break is true “A” material. Invest in prep to make sure the kids have the best possible time.

Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with going on the best rides more than once. Recycle the best content. Sometimes it’s even better the second and third time.


When leaving Disney, kids will ask how soon they can come back. Isn’t that amazing? They can’t wait. But the next visit isn’t like the first because now they have expectations. The next visit must be better while also delivering what’s expected.

Listeners should look forward to every show. They demand better performance. Their favorite attractions (features) must be there, but they also need something new to surprise and delight them.

How will you thrill the “kids” tomorrow?

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