COUNT … SO DOES CREATIVITY
By Pam Shane
Radio announcers say the same things all the time.
Partly because it’s necessary. The station name, dial position and slogan
must be repeated so listeners know what they are listening to and will
remember it when they’re filling out a diary.
But there are clichés and “radio-isms” that are
repeated by announcers young and old. They don’t mean anything and they
bore the jocks themselves, as well as listeners.
As I listen to morning shows, I know stations could get
more out of the time checks. All talent has to do is make a morning
relatable remark in connection with the time. Here are some ideas to get
your staff thinking. The times are included to show how it works, not
because anything should be locked in to a specific time.
“It’s (6:08) in the Shenandoah Valley, don't hit the
snooze button again"
"6:15 - time to plug in your curling iron."
“6:15 - If you're out of coffee, turn up the radio
for (song title)” (before a rowdy song)
KXXX time is 6:10 - Don't you wish you could be the
last one to get up just one morning?
6:23 - Time to hit the shower!
Weather is another place where radio falls into a
boring routine. First rule: Don’t read the forecast as it comes from your
weather service. It will be too long, too full of weather jargon and mostly
irrelevant. In the morning, the temperature should be given every time
there is a time check. These are the two most important services your
station provides and they should be tied together.
Example: “6:23 WBBB time, better get in the shower
now!” Follow it with, a weather relatable such as, “Or you could just walk
outside – it’ll be pouring rain in about 10 minutes.”
And as for the word “chance,” keep it for contests.
Meteorologists hedge their bets by saying “a chance of scattered showers.”
Your staff doesn’t need this word.
When we pre-sell music or want to tease a contest or
event, most announcers say “coming up.” These must be the two most boring
words on the radio. If you’re not saying it right now, then of course it’s
“coming up”! Challenge your staff to come up with at least five ways to
vary this. How about “next”? Or “Right after the news”?
Use these ideas as part of a brainstorming session or
during an aircheck. All air talent feel the burden of repetitiveness when
they work. Challenge them to find fun, interesting ways to vary what they
say. It’s good for them … and for your listeners.