Tommy Kramer Tip #84 – What you KNOW you have is NOW

Seems like everyone is hell-bent on recycling listeners right now -getting them to “make an appointment” for something later in the hour, later in the show, later in the day, or later in the week.

I’ve been in radio for decades, and worked intensely not just with air talents, but also with great consultants, Arbitron and PPM savants, and marketing experts, so of course I agree that repeated listening should be something to strive for.

But the flat tire on that recycling car is that you can’t make the listener do anything. If he or she is busy, distracted, unavailable, or just not interested, that listener isn’t going to come back when you want just because you want him to. I would estimate that probably 75% of the promos and live mentions I hear seem to be about what the radio station wants the listener to do, not about the listener’s life. You might as well just say “and at 7:50, we’d like you to come cook us breakfast and shine our shoes.”

The backbone of my coaching is that we always start with the listener, THEN work back to the Control Room. It’s not what we want to talk about; it’s focusing on what the listener wants to hear about.

So while having a good strategy for increased time spent listening – or more times spent listening – is certainly important, don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball.

Here’s what you know: What you have is NOW. This break. The old saying is that “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” For our purposes, I would rephrase that thought to “you might only get this break to make any impression at all.” For the listener, it’s like going to a restaurant for the first time. If you get bad service or the food isn’t good, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll come back and eat there again.

So make this break good – really good. No coasting – EVER. No “autopilot” breaks – ever. No breaks where you know how you’re going to start, but you have no clue how you’re going to end. (Note: I have techniques I can show you that make this easy.) Do a good job of informing or entertaining this break, and chances are the listener will give you another shot. Be boring or uninspired, and you don’t deserve another shot. And all the recycling attempts in the world won’t get the listener to come back.

Tommy Kramer

Tommy has spent over 35 years as an air talent, programmer, operations manager and talent coach - working with over 300 stations in all formats. He publishes the Coaching Tip