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In The News

The Believability Index



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.