What separates a “shaggy dog” story from one that entices a person to listen is whether or not it goes in a straight line.
Too many “side references” stall the story out and put it in neutral as far as the plot goes. In real life conversations, people may listen. But on the air, a minute is a long time. (Want to argue the point? Hold your breath for one minute, starting right… now.)
There’s also the danger of sounding like you’re interrupting your own thought. This is a weird habit because at that point you’re just trying to sort out in your own mind how to tell the story.
I don’t have time to listen to that.
You need to be prepared and make the story march at a decent pace, but also be mindful of when a pause is needed. We do want to sound as natural as possible, but we owe the listener being expedient, too.
Years ago, I heard a very good morning personality say that his show, which was a team show, was just the cast members having a conversation, and people (the audience) just listening in.
Not a bad thought, but an incomplete one.
The truth is that you’re talking to your team AND ME – the listener. I’m right here. I’m just not saying anything at the moment.
Picturing the listener “at the table” with you is, to me, an essential overview. So I have to wonder why so many shows seem like they’re just “in the room” and I’m not.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2023 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.
It’s incredible to me that we still hear ‘bits’ on the air that were stale 25 years ago. Here are some examples of the type of stuff I’m talking about:
This Day in History.
No one cares. Especially the younger demographic. Millennials don’t remember past last Thursday. Continue reading →
Over my more than two decades of “officially” being a talent coach, I’ve had a hand in putting dozens of team shows together. (I’ve coached over 300 of them.)
Here’s the most important thing in putting a team show together: Does each of them make the other person sound better? Continue reading →
This tip is primarily for Program Directors, but it also applies to air talent. Never have the air talent say your “positioning” phrase.
First of all, they’re not good at it, because it’s a “selling” thing that no one would ever say in a real-life conversation. (And most “positioning phrases” or slogans backfire anyway. Think about how many times you’ve heard something like, “Favorites of the 80s, 90s, and Today” – and then they play a song you hate.)
Let the Imaging voice do the liners. That’s what that person is for, to take the unnatural language OUT of the equation for the air talent.
Let the air talent concentrate on things that actually matter to the listener, and that he/she can relate to. Your sales pitch isn’t one of them.