Show Prep Isn’t Just Show and Go
So many people come into radio thinking that they can just turn up and do the job and do no radio show prep. A good programme controller or programme consultant will tell you about prep and its importance to creating great radio.
So what is it presenters and producers should be doing with prep?
Do the Research
It’s not just looking through the newspaper or going to websites or indeed to the cut paste prep service. It most definitely isn’t going into the studio with that material and reading it directly to air. So many people read the weather or showbiz gossip direct from a paper as is.
Research is about finding something that relates to you and your listener. If you’re going to talk about something on air it really does have to interest you, it has to spark something in you, and if not why bother? Prep is about knowing your audience understanding what their wants and needs are. Understanding what makes the listener tick and what makes you tick and why are they listening to your show goes a long way to helping you prep.
Own the Content and Make it Yours
Make it yours and make it stand out. There is a view that if people say they have heard something and you delivered as your news, then the listener is likely to credit you if they tell someone else about it. Form a view on the subject matter, tell us why you think Cheryl is great even though some say she mimes, and don’t just say Cheryl clearly mimed on TV last night add something of you to the link.
Speak Like a Real Person
Never take the actual cutting or piece direct form the newspaper, website or live read. Always readjusts for your style of broadcast. It is about making it about you and speaking like a real person and spoken English.
It is a Performance
Radio presentation is about performance, you are on stage and performing and many programmers ask you to make it count. One programmer once said to me that they had spent thousands on getting me on air so I need to deliver when I open the mic fader.
One way of looking at it is most stations are lucky to have someone listen through just a few links. The listener will be doing the usual busy and hectic things that occupy their lives; you have been invited in to that environment.
I know for example when I’m driving away from home towards work I lose the local station within a few records. In addition I like to be entertained, informed and made aware of what’s happening in the world around me.
Therefore make it count. If you’ve carried out the research you should be able to deliver. Don’t just deliver a lame read out of the newspapers link. Make it personal, make it yours and make sure it relates, entertains or educates your audience. Are you changing their day by what you say?
What Else Do I Need?
You could also ask yourself about other elements to make a link work, why should it just be you and speech. What about getting interactive with a caller either to start or end a link, could you include music, an audio cut or perhaps sound effects. What about another presenter to create a cut about the story. A member of the news team could add authority while you add your spin to the subject matter. You could make a dummy advert or a sketch with you playing out the characters or mimicking the event.
It’s Not the First Time
When you open the mic and are ready to deliver the link it shouldn’t be the first time you’ve heard it. You don’t have to read it out loud, some do, but you should have rehearsed it in your mind. It should be researched thought out and made from your heart it should be a performance that is real and about you. That is why we talk so much about prep.