'Rules of Engagement'
August 28, 2012
We have been talking about 'Story Arc' radio over the past couple of weeks.
This means developing great content and finding "storylines that have great depth..........."
Common traits for great story arc radio include;
A strong premise that evokes emotion
A great cast including a hero and villain
Primal themes like anger and lust
A critical path with various twists and turns
A false climax
A compelling conclusion
A moral to the story
There is a little more to it though.....
Having a great idea is one thing but you still need the great execution. You need the right planning........and the right plan. In many markets this is called a "critical path".....the steps that take you from conception to completion.
Some stations take this a step further.
Think about Â some "Rules of Engagement" for your station. A set of non- negotiable Program Director Rules that underpin not only a specific promotion but also the complete sound of the station.
Here are some examples;
- One great benchmark in the 7-8am hour. It does not move and you get famous for it.
- The word "ok" should not exist. From aÂ programming perspective on air content is either "good" or "not good enough". Too many PD's report back that something was "ok". "Ok" usually means someone has not spent enough time thinking about maximising potential.
- Insurance calls in the morning show are not optional. By this I don't mean 'fake ' calls. I do mean you seek out listeners with great stories and you get them on the air. Facebook is a great tool.
- The daily morning show planning finishesÂ with the PD and team agreeing on the 8 great pieces for the following day(the number usually required for a great show...that's one every 15 minutes for the key 2 hours of the show).
- Not delivering on the agreed 8 great pieces on the day equals "a fail" on that day.
- Hooking and teasing is delivered by the anchor ."Next and later" is the standard approach. No generic teases. Most winning shows use the "next and before 9" (end of the show)approach. Payoff and Tease is another option.
- PD's must be able to distinguish between "functional" and "engaging". Functional content is often totally forgettable and therefore pointless. Functional could be a standard celeb interview that everyone gets handled in the same way as everyone else. I recently heard a 5 minute Katy Perry interview on morning radio where music was not mentioned.
- PDs must play back audio as a standard part of the daily morning show team air check sessions. 3 Days a week is not enough unless you are number one by 5 points.
- A sample "contest set" is to be sent to the PD for approval before every survey promotion(major piece of on air activity) begins. It is also played to presenters. This way there can be no excuses.
- Major survey activity must be 'thumped' on air. 3 promos across a 3 hour morning show is not enough. Double it and you may be getting closer. Don't hide great content. Many stations do!
You may agree with some of the above..........you may not.
That doesn't matter.
What does matter is that you have some rules and systems in place that guarantee you will execute great ideas well.
Consider what your "rules of engagement" should be then communicate them and hold everyone , including yourself, to account.
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