5 questions for every commercial radio presenter
What is going on in the listener’s mind?
Develop a habit of consuming media, news programmes, magazine lead stories and newspapers. Agree or not agree, these are the primary thoughts and interests of your listeners.
The media makes money by highly targeting and in some respects directing the interests of the public. If they were not very good at it, they would not make money.
Walk into a newsagent and study the top stories of the magazines to gauge the most important topics. This doesn’t mean talk about them; it means have an awareness of them. The more aware of the world you are, the more you will be able to make subtle general references on air that will resonate.
What information can you share about the music that they do not already know?
Radio stations today are big on music information. Each song played has a myriad (pardon the pun) of information attached to it. Essentially for each song played there can be up to 7 observations about it you can share.
Your job is to find these observations and make them unique. Finding interesting things out about the music enables the listener to appreciate the music a little more deeply.
Try and avoid saying “Great Video” or obvious things like that. It just sounds dumb.
What can you learn from stand up comedic observations?
Stand up comedians have a skill for looking at the world sideways. They take ordinary items and turn them into entertaining subjects. Watching hours and hours of comedy will help you make amusing references at times; you will be subconsciously educating your humour muscle.
Everyone you met has wisdom. Everyone has phrases that they say, some of these are really quite brilliant. Listen to people talking when you are with groups of friends and use some of the banter terminology and phrases on the air.
It will make you seem like a normal person, and make the listener comfortable that you are like them, just a real person.
Adam Ball a presenter on a Heart station encapsulated this technique brilliantly last Friday in a link:
“As its Friday night and by now I can sense you are thinking about all that weekend chocolate you are going to eat when you get home from work. Yep, calories don’t count on weekends do they?”
We thought that was a beautifully quick personable observation and extremely well targeted for a Heart listener. Although not everyone listening will agree, most of them will understand why and appreciate the virtue of him saying that. He got that from somewhere, and shared it, brilliant.
Which brings us on to the final point.
How can you say what you are about to say more succinctly?
There is a gratification in using fewer words to say more. It is such a powerful and fun skill to learn.
Just as in writing scripts or advertising copy we delete filler words or unnecessary fluff, it works just as well in speech.
Movies are a great example. Ever noticed how in movies you never want to urge the actor to “spit it out” and say what they want to say? That’s because it has been already edited. The actor is saying the words that will make the most impact, with the least amount of words.
Be careful however of over editing and speaking in a staccato radio language. We do hear some presenters speaking almost in their own short hand on the air and we do think it sounds a little false and prescribed.
“Tuesday, Station Name, Great Song, Great Video, Love that….”
“There’s a reason that song has been in the download chart for more than 8 weeks, everyone I speak to still loves it, or could it be that the video is more than a just little addictive, Artist Name, Title on Station Name….
For more read our little success book for presenters here, some of the industry’s legends think its a valuable tome.