CCM Coaching Tip #3: The 5 Subjects -- How To Choose Content
October 30, 2015
by Tommy Kramer, KramerMedia.net
Without a doubt, the thing I get asked about the most is Content; what to talk about each day—and it's the thing that ALL air talents need to pay the most attention to. Especially in Contemporary Christian Music radio, choosing the right Content is crucial to doing a great show.
Some of your Content is provided for you with station promotions and events, contests, special listener "clubs" that give feedback on the music, stuff like that. And of course, in a music format, there's always stuff about the artists (IF it's interesting), concert dates (if an artist you play is coming to your area), and whatever special musical features you provide on the air or online.
But that's only about half of what you need. BESIDES STATION STUFF, here's a good "default setting" list of The 5 Subjects that will always work:
1. Job Stuff. This is "the wallet" factor -- or "pocketbook" factor, as my friend Valerie Geller calls it. Not enough money, you're unhappy. Plenty of money, you want to safeguard your family's future by protecting it. Plus, everyone can identify with the ups and downs of The Job, and how it affects everything. Everyone either already has a job or wants a job, and that job may make them happy or not. And we're always comparing our jobs to other people's jobs. Take working at Walmart, for instance; that's worse than being the President of a bank, but a lot better than being the one who puts the pins in hand grenades. : >)
2. Entertainment. America is an Entertainment-driven nation. I remember being thrilled when "Joan of Arcadia" was on TV for two seasons. In prime time on a major network, we saw a modern interpretation of Joan of Ark's life, complete with her conversations with God and how it affected her life and how she was perceived by others. (Pretty fertile ground for a Christian.) But I've also been stunned by how many people in this format view the Entertainment world as something to avoid talking about. Over the years, I've seen athletes all gather in the middle of the field to hold hands and pray for a player who just got injured, a new tribe on Survivor praying on the beach together in the first episode of the season, etc. Plus, what's your listener's favorite show? If she'd talk about it with her best friend, why wouldn't you talk about it on the air?
3. Relationships. It's all about relationships, really. Man to woman, parent to child, us to Christ. Our relationships—good or bad—shape everything we do. If someone is a "P-1" listener, overwhelmingly, that means she considers you to be a friend…an entertaining friend; the person she'd invite to the backyard barbecue because her other friends would like you (and her, for introducing you to them).
4. "The Buzz." Something today is the thing that everyone's talking about. To NOT talk about it is being an ostrich, with your head stuck in the sand. Social media is a huge help, but (of course) you want to avoid things that go against the Value Position of your station. Being salacious doesn't fit this format, but there's something to be said for taking CREDIT for avoiding a touchy subject, rather than just seeming unaware of it. Part of the reason people tune in is to be informed, so you can either be the one who does that, or someone else across the dial can be. Your choice. Choose wisely.
5. "Things that grow out of the show." This is the most nebulous category, but you have to recognize and use the things that are unique to you if you want to stand out in the sea of noise that is radio. In future tips, I'll tell you what specific techniques to use in talking about yourself -- they're important -- but suffice it to say that a huge ingredient in becoming great on the air is cracking your chest open and showing us what's in there.
If you want to talk about something that doesn't fit under one of these headings….well, don't. I've tried for years to think of other ones, and there aren't any.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The key to any subject is Relevance. If it's timely and something that the listener actually cares about, it'll work. But if it just drops out of the sky like a bowling ball, you're asking a lot if you expect it to really engage anyone.