May 24, 2011
You found remarkable content, a true story: A mother whose heart stops while giving birth to triplets, is left with severe brain damage.
While the babies are all okay, she is totally disabled and cannot take care of herself, much less the infants. She is left blind, unable to eat or walk, and cannot talk.
Her husband files for divorce on the triplets first birthday, and the wife's parents eventually move her back to the family home in South Carolina to give her the 24-hour care she requires.
The husband resists attempts by his former in-laws to maintain contact between the triplets and their mother.
You know the honest emotional reaction you have to the facts as you know them.
You've done the work necessary to speak to one of the principals in the story, or have found a local attorney or ethicist willing to defend the husband's actions.
You've got far more "tape" than you can use, so you've spent the time and energy to edit the real meat of their remarks, the parts that add to the emotion of the content piece. And, you've saved all of it for a full-length production you are going to post after your show on your station's website.
Next step? You tease it today, in every segment, releasing just enough information to build anticipation, and make a specific appointment when you'll flesh this out "tomorrow." You're going to debut this in your biggest quarter-hour, even though you'll probably keep it alive the rest of the show.
Every performer is unique, but I might suggest you begin by making this a "What if" story.
What if I told you a young couple had tried to get pregnant for years, that having a child for this young woman -- Abby -- had been a dream since she was a little girl? So much so, that they eventually went to a fertility specialist -- and it worked, as she gave birth to three perfect, healthy triplets!
It's a happy story, right?
But what if I told you that it was a difficult delivery, and that at one point the young woman's heart stopped, and before the doctors could help her, she suffered severe brain damage that left her blind, parapalegic, unable to speak or eat or care for herself?
What if I told you that on the triplets' first birthday, her husband -- Dan -- filed for divorce, saying it was time he and his children moved on with their lives?
And what if I told you he doesn't even want his children -- THEIR children -- to visit their mother, who is now cared for by her parents, across the country in South Carolina? They flew from California once and he claimed it upset them.
Tragically, this is a true story...
Abby can't speak, but I'd like to introduce you to her mother...
And I will do that and let you hear her story "next"...
Hey, we have to keep it real, and in the PPM world, your PD isn't going to let you have more than a minute or two per break, right? So, run your traffic and spots, and use your tape coming out of the set.
You will have edited her comments, but she may require more than one segment, and if so, tease it, and play your music. This is compelling. Listeners will stick with you, if they can, and if not, they'll be motivated to call and ask you about it, giving you an opportunity to move them to your station web \site.
It may take you a full half-hour of breaks to get that side of the whole story out, which I would be fine with, because it's all compelling, emotional content. Just keep moving your listeners forward.
If you've done your prep, if you've edited the remarks, and if your reaction is honest and authentic, your phones will explode, no matter what side you take.
And that is how you turn a one-minute "bit" into viral radio that creates an emotional response in everyone who hears it.