I once put up a sign on the Control Room door that said:
“I just got into town. I got into the car, turned the radio on, and hit the ‘scan’ button. It landed on your station. I don’t know what station it is, what the format is, what the dial position is, or who you are. You have thirty seconds.” (Now, PPM is showing that it’s more like TEN seconds.)
I base everything I coach on “first time” listening. If I just tuned in for the first time, can I get what’s going on here? Are you making references to things that I don’t understand, since I’m not a regular listener to the show?
All too often, the Air Talent assumes that the Listener has been there for a few minutes, or that “everyone knows” what he or she is talking about. I call this “The Eminent Danger of the Assumption.”
Reset the stage for the Listener. Don’t assume anything. Remember, I just tuned in.
Think of what was originally called the “Fox Block” – the little box in the corner of the screen when you watch a football game that tells you the teams, the score, the time left on the clock. (It’s now standard on every network.) Radio doesn’t have the visual tool that television does, so we have to do it verbally.
As you listen to an aircheck with your Talent, if you hear the “assumption” mentality, simply stop the audio and ask, “Who is this? What station am I listening to? What’s going on here?” The Talent will get it immediately, and start to police himself. Plus, he’ll start to ask those questions when he hears a competitor, and think that they’re lame for not knowing what he knows. That builds confidence.