Morning Show Focus

Dave Charles – ByrnesMedia

By now, many of you have the ByrnesMedia Morning Show Prep Guide. The essential prep basics are covered there. However, there’s more to connecting today’s morning show to your audience.

Here are the new essentials to add to your mornings shows:

  1. More live comments on a big local story or issue of the day. Listeners can often give you their perspectives which have commonality with other listeners. Find experts and people with knowledge on a local issue or subject that will add more information to the story. The key is to play back highlights as morning show promos in other dayparts to demonstrate that your morning show digs deep to get the story right.
  2. Music spikes. Look for those ‘oh wow’ songs or one hit wonders to add some energy to mornings. Some morning shows are playing it too musically safe. Music is still part of the morning menu and should not be treated as a backdrop to the rest of the show. You need your listeners to be saying to themselves, “I can’t believe you played that song.” Make your morning music special and take time to find those magic songs that really relate. One of my favourite songs by Boston group, the Standells, ‘Dirty Water,’ was played the other morning and I cranked up my radio. 
  3. Relate to a listener’s morning routine. Everyone has one. We are finding the pressure overbearing for most, due to demands of family and extra work to keep ahead. The average time from wake up to work arrival is around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Longer if you have to co-ordinate your family activities. Time stress is a huge issue that is increasing with all the complexities in life. A strong relevant morning show can cut through that clutter. A new promo might go something like this:

“We know that in your morning wake up routine you don’t have time to mess around with newspapers or watch morning TV to get your local updates.  On 95 FM you can get up-to-the minute traffic, local news, weather updates, sports and entertainment while we get you ready for a new day with Larry, Billy and the 95 FM Morning Team

  1. Promote the morning show with live promos in afternoon drive. Get your morning talents to call the afternoon drive show live and do a promo for the next day’s show. Live personal promos make a much stronger connection with the audience. The live promos need to have hooks. This means you need to do more than let your morning show listener know that you’ve prepared something for them that will peak their interest. EG. ‘We’ll be talking to Mayor David tomorrow at 7:45 am to find out more about the city’s newest dog by-laws. All we can say is pet owners beware.” Give them some fixed time feature to tune in for. 
  2. Make local news a priority and get the rest of the story. Often, if you interview local people in the news, you can get more depth and details about the story. If it’s a human interest story you need to focus on the human side. If it’s a controversial story you need to get both sides of the issue and then invite response. I’ve heard many situations where these interviews created more information than the original story. You also need to use these new quotes in promos. EG ‘This morning, Alderman Peter Stafford talks to Larry and Bill about a new water tax that will affect all households. The City is now clamping down on water wasters. Check out the 95 FM website for all the new water restrictions and times when you can legally water your lawn.’ Anything that may affect your home or family is always high priority and you need to be aware of it and update these stories.
  3. The essence of a morning show according to a great consultant, E. Karl, from his report ‘State of the Art.’ He said it best and in the simplest of terms:
  • Over prepare
  • Read everything you can
  • Make it matter
  • Have things to say
  • Be very real
  • Have fun
  1. Don’t crush the morning show egos! I say that from experience. Those great performers who rant and rave need their egos intact to have the confidence to perform at their best. But you need to focus that ego energy and use it to achieve quality showprep. Your job as PD is to manage your talent and know that they put it together every day. Every talented performer needs to be managed not mangled. PD’s need to be a part of their morning show’s debrief and prep sessions. If you’re not setting aside at least 30 minutes every day for the morning’s talent, you’ll not be a part of the growth. Your role is to make sure that great showprep is being done and you are a part of the resource and support process.
  2. Dave Sholin and Ross Britain Tips for Morning Talents:
  • Over-prep the day before.
  • Do the things your listeners do.
  • Don’t be afraid to push the envelope.  If you don’t, you’ll become bland. Risk vs. reason.  You’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelette.
  • Structure your break before the mic opens. Use post-it notes to arrange your content.
  • Don’t feel the need to be funny every break.
  • Be concise in your talk breaks. Your bits need to be remembered. This can only happen if you craft them in a focused way. 
  • Keep the show moving forward. Go back and replay a great piece that your audience, now tuning in, might have missed.  Recycle your great bits and use them in promos.  
  1. Your station’s New Media connection is now vital. Get on Twitter and Facebook for immediate engagement for your active audience. You can also throw out a question or topic of the day and ask for feedback.

ByrnesMedia is offering free our new Morning Show Prep Guide.  Send us your details and email me at (dave@byrnesmedia.com).