Tommy Kramer Tip #156 – The Tease Madness

Okay, it’s time to deal with the current thinking on teases, versus what actually works.  Here are some excerpts from a couple of memos that real living, breathing Program Directors have given to their air talent recently…

“Eliminate as much as possible ‘I’ and ‘We’ and instead use ‘You’.”
Nothing wrong with that, until this PD illustrates just how to do it:

“You’ll be talking about our next story at work today.”

There’s no way you could possibly know what I’ll be talking about at work today (it could be, astonishingly, WORK related), and you need to STOP trying to tell the Listener what to think.

“You’re gonna love our new game, ‘Scratch and Sniff Audio’ in the next ten minutes.”

Again, you don’t know that I’m going to “love” it.  My reaction (at least the one I can print) is “Meh…” …followed by a loud “click” as I punch another button on my radio.

“The thing most women do in the car that might be WORSE than texting and driving.  You might be guilty of it, ladies, and we’ll find out in ten minutes.”

No, YOU may find out, but I don’t really give a crap.  And I’m not “ladies.”  Talk to ONE person.  Don’t throw me into a “collective” that I didn’t ask to be part of.  This destroys radio’s most unique strength – the one-on-one connection with the listener.

“Feeling smart today? The list of the Top 10 Smartest Cities is out.”

The answer to every question you ever ask on the air is either “NO” or “I don’t CARE.”  And I already saw the list.  EVERYBODY who cared already saw the list.  It came up on the home page of every website, or on my iPhone – and it was ONLY THERE TO TAKE UP SPACE BETWEEN THE ADS.

“Would you like to take a break from parenting?”

(NO, I’d like to take a break from being asked rhetorical questions by an idiot who’s “pretending” to talk to me.)

“What the majority of parents are doing to get that break, in 7 minutes.”

This is too exact a time line. “In the next ten minutes” is what you want to say.  ESPN tried this “Joe Namath interview in 13 minutes” type of thing – and it BOMBED.  The whole PURPOSE of giving a Time Line in the first place is to tell me how long I have to listen to make SURE that I hear it.  If I tune in (or stick around until) 7 minutes from now, you’d better by God be doing it.  The minute you don’t, and I hear something ELSE when that’s supposed to be on, you’ve LIED to me – and I’ll never believe anything you say again.

Here’s what you can and should promote.  (Notice that I don’t even USE the word “tease” in coaching.)

  1. A contest.  When I can win some money or concert tickets might actually matter to me.
  2. A feature of the show. “The Hollywood Dish is next.”
  3. When a guest will be on.
  4. How I can find out more about a station event, or see video of something, or participate in something, on the station’s website or your Facebook page.
  5. MAYBE… promote a new song by a core artist coming up.  But even then, only do it when you’ve stopped down, NOT over another song, because then, the implied message is “since we know this song isn’t really very good, we’re going to try to get you to hang around by promoting a different one.”

That’s it.  Nothing else is worth promoting.

Stop The Tease Madness.

If it matters to me (as a listener), it works.  If it doesn’t (and just teasing some nebulous thing you’re going to talk about, like “What happened to Corkhead at the mall yesterday… in ten minutes” DOESN’T), then it doesn’t – and no amount of teasing will MAKE it matter.  Other things should just come up naturally in the conversation – you know, like in real life.

Yes, I realize there’s a whole school of Programmers and Consultants that think otherwise, because of some sideways, momentary, imagined indicator in PPM.  But don’t even get me started on how many holes there are in THAT methodology.  Voltaire, the giant band-aid, anyone?

The biggest problem with the “always do a tease” mentality is that you remove any element of Surprise from the show.  I seriously doubt if anyone would have gone to see “The Force Awakens” if a crawl came across the bottom of the screen, or one of the characters teased “Han Solo dies… in the next ten minutes.”

Here’s what actually works better than any attempt to manipulate the listener: say something really interesting or entertaining every single time you open the mic.  And only promote things that he or she really cares about.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

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

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