The Sneaky Power Of The Horizontal Tease

The Sneaky Power Of The Horizontal Tease

by Tracy Johnson

Most personalities don’t think about promoting tomorrow’s show that much. Most of their attention is spent trying to get listeners to stay tuned in now, or to convince them to come back in the next few minutes. And that is a priority, for sure. But the horizontal tease is tremendously valuable.

First, let’s define a horizontal tease as opposed to a typical vertical tease. Vertical teases are designed to lure listeners to another tune in occasion during the same time period.

A horizontal tease promotes a specific reason to tune in tomorrow.

One of the basics of successful teasing is understanding how to influence listeners. It’s virtually impossible to cause them to adjust their lifestyle to listen to the radio when it’s not convenient. However, it’s quite possible to attract more tune-in when they are available to listen.

Further, human beings are creatures of habit. Most everyone has a daily routine. We wake up at about the same time, get into traffic at the same time and start work at the same time each day.

It’s also proven that listeners listen very little, much less than programmers think. They tune in for very short periods of time (usually less than 10 minutes). Of particular importance in the horizontal tease discussion, listeners tune in just 2 or 3 days per week. And that’s not a station’s overall cume. And that’s the P1 audience, first preference listeners.

Do the math and you’ll discover that it’s possible to actually Double Your Ratings just by attracting one more tune in occasion per day and one more day per week. It’s like a magic trick!

Power of The Horizontal Tease

Predicable listening patterns create opportunities for a smart personality who invests preparation time in a creative promotion strategy.

Attracting listening to one more day per week doesn’t seem that difficult, does it? It’s just a matter of building listening triggers to increase Top Of Mind Awareness each day. P1’s already listen. It shouldn’t be so hard to get them to come back each day, right?

That’s where a well-timed horizontal tease comes in. There are several benefits:

First, promoting tomorrow’s show with a specific promotion has a branding benefit. It reminds the audience of a key feature or quality that helps build equity, even if the promo itself causes no additional tune in.

Second, it acts as a reminder that listeners can get more of what they already like the next day. It probably won’t cause anyone to set an alert on their calendar to tune in. But over time, listeners are trained come back each day.

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And third, a horizontal tease adds excitement to the show. It will sound like there’s a lot happening on the air. Well-crafted teases make the show sound more significant. It gives daily content a higher sense of importance.

3 Ways To Use a Horizontal Tease

There are many ways to tease tomorrow’s show. Here are the three to consider:

Promote Tomorrow’s Most Important Topic

Every show should prepare a key break each day. What’s the one thing that has the greatest potential of causing reaction and word-of-mouith spread? I call this the Didja Hear moment. Promote that topic actively at least once an hour, with the exact time it will be on the next day.

At the same time today, promote tomorrow’s topic as “tomorrow at this time”. This is even more effective if the topic right now has a similar appeal as tomorrow’s teased topic. Elvis Duran does this effectively. If the show is discussing a parenting topic, he might go into the segment with a comment like,

Parents: What do you do when your four year old comes home from pre-school and says, ‘I want a boyfriend and I want one now.’ That’s tomorrow morning at this time.

Then he continues with the current topic. Very effective.

This is also a prime opportunity to promote the topic on social media. Post with a question, asking for stories. As response comes in, screen for stories that can be used on the air and arrange callers to jump start the break. It’s a natural way to promote the segment during the online discussion.

Promote This Feature Tomorrow

Most successful shows are built around a key feature, like Ask Alexa, a Phone Prank or Second Date Update. The best time to promote that feature is immediately after the feature airs.

100% of the audience tuned in at that time likes what they just heard. Or at least they don’t dislike it, or they would have tuned out. It’s the perfect time for a horizontal tease to hook them on tomorrow’s episode.

The Get Up Crew on Hot 96.9 in Boston does a great job with this tease. Listen to how they end Second Date Update episodes by promoting tomorrow’s storyline. Notice how they use audio from tomorrow’s episode as part of the tease.

Promote Highlights of Tomorrow’s Show

The third way to use this tactic is at the end of your show each day. There are differing opinons on how a personality should end a show and say goodbye. One possibility is to wrap it up with a horizontal tease that lists the most important elements tomorrow.

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Here’s an example from Kidd Kraddick in the Morning:

A good formula for this technique is to promote three different types of content. Ideally, that would be a story (perhaps one of the signature features tomorrow), a game (contest or promotion) and something funny (a prank call or Ask Alexa episode).

How Often Can I Use It?

Considering listener patterns, it’s impossible to use the technique too much. Seriously. The audience tunes in for such short periods of time, it won’t be repetitive and it exposes content that could inspire another day of listening to more listeners.

But knowing there are other things to promote on the air, start with a manageable schedule. Try to use a horizontal tease at least one time per hour, and at the end of the show. As it becomes easier, increase the frequency. Go for a horizontal tease after each major feature and for at least one main topic.


The horizontal tease is an effective way to increase ratings over time. It has a cumulative effect that delivers strategic, as well as tactical benefits.

Horizontal teases are not a replacement for other types of teases, though. It’s still more important to tease what is coming up in the next few minutes. Add horizontal teases to the promotion schedule.

Of course, starting this strategy has one important consequence: Tomorrow’s show has to be prepared in advance. That will force many personalities to get into a new (and very good) habit.

Do you tease tomorrow’s show? I’d love to hear how you do it. Send your examples to [email protected]

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