Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Perfect Morning Show

Let's face it. No one is "perfect." Occasionally, some of us attain perfection for a few seconds, a couple minutes. But, perfection that lasts the length of a typical morning show? It rarely happens.

I apologize for the fact that this is starting to sound more like an essay on Buddhist philosophy than a treatise - with examples - of the ingredients of one of those rare morning shows that DOES occasionally approach perfection.

This week, as the Spring ARB is about to begin in diary markets, I have been collecting some excellent country radio examples and bits to share with A&O client programmers - stunning examples of morning perfection - perfect phones, perfect stunts, perfect prep, perfect localization.

Yeah, right.

Truth is, even the best ones aren't "perfect," but they are very good at being themselves in consistent, bigger than life ways.

Bit #1: a clever music relate and backsell on an artist's name. Consistent basics. Station name, show name. The host transitions into a tightly-edited phone bit about a local university holiday.

Their sense of how far to go - allowing the listener to do the 'dirty' stuff and appearing shocked at what he says - is a device that permits the show to deal with more adult material than a country morning show could otherwise. Traffic and forecast, related nicely to the spring allergy relatable.

Then, a segue into their stunt guy, who going to be giving away bras for Mother's Day in May at the area's largest employer. Quite a number of different thoughts in one set, but tightly edited, well-prepped and constant momentum.

Bit #2: Great show biz in the "$1,000 an hour" contest promo. Creative production values, believable listener drops.

Bit #3: They forget the basics - no backsell, no position statement, no station name, no time or weather mentions, BUT - are relentlessly LOCAL - going to a listener on the phone in a community south of town where a big local event is going on.

Not one set without listener involvement in topical, local BIG events. Not 'perfect,' but mighty GOOD.

The set wraps up with three hooks of upcoming songs for a powerful music set into news.

Bit #4: "The news..." and "6:31 now" "that story and all the news comin' up" are hackneyed DJ crutches. A "New Generation/Millentials Country" station would be more effective either doing street talk or at least avoiding the jocktalk words.

Bit #5: "Things you need to know." That big local event going on now. Sex harassment at youth services. Coffee shop murder. FBI search for Florida shooting facts. Cell phone risk. Donut cologne. Good story count and story variety. Leads with local, ends with human news, everything sounds like it's the latest info on something happening right now, no rehash of last night's TV news.

Bit #6: Bra giveaway phone bit - stunt guy cut-in. They should have planned where he was going BEFORE asking about it on the air, but they are very tightly edited and exhibit good equal involvement of all characters and viewpoints.

There is almost nothing that happens on today's show that doesn't reflect a 'big event' in local lives (gax prices, planning for what to do getting ready for Mother's Day, Bra) and do it making use of real listener phone calls.

In fact, using two listeners to describe the ongoing local big local event this morning is no doubt due to the need for economy, but it also strengthens their impact and relatability.

This huge positive makes me 'forgive' the occasional lapses in basics and other imperfections.

Other good elements of this typical day's show: Random Poll (Gas prices), one of the hosts spoke to business English class yesterday and got the mention of the appearance in naturally as a part of the phone poll.

I love the way they appear to have a great rapport with phones, edit them tightly and incorporate them effortlessly into everything they do, without losing topical and local top of mind content.

The stunt guy has great inflections, gets lots of meaning into every phrase.

It's almost too much of a coincidence that two callers in one hour happen to be watching the ongoing big local event. Obviously, they are prearranging these calls, but they sound perfectly spontaneous.

Follow-up phone call from girl who was reunited with her father was another example of this.

Lots of heart, emotion and storytelling in every break.

Great promos: "(market) #1's Country" music menu production ID, "the station you have dialed in," "$1,000 phone calls" is handled VERY well, sounding fresh and immediate and freshly-updated daily jock cross promote to midday.

Mother's Day remote morning show broadcast at the big local Mall is already being pre-promoted. You feel like it's going to be big, fun and if you're celebrating it, THEY are celebrating it.

Things I think they could do to improve: They tend to neglect the basics - time, weather mentions, position statement, station name first thing into and out of music far too often. Doing these things improves memorability, thus ratings, and services listener needs. So, why NOT do them consistently?

They aren't consistently back announcing titles and artists of the songs. Music relate is extremely important to all country listeners, especially country fans. On one hand, maybe they are over-reacting to PPM (find ways to abbreviate these items but don't fail to do them) and yet on the other, The Random Poll gas price phone calls went on too long.

They were good, but I thought 30 minutes on the one topic was too one-dimensional, dubious the average listeners would have been able to hear the entire conversational thread in a world of 2:30 listening occasions.

Too many unrelated thoughts per set - perhaps the worst example: going from the Mother's Day brunch promo into a bit about a new artist's album. They got into advocacy on the gas price phone calls, which elicits somewhat irresponsible callers which should not have been aired.

Overall: it's definitely NOT perfect. But it's a pretty good example of a darn good day on a darn good morning show. If you didn't find a few ideas to borrow for YOUR morning show, perhaps YOU should send me an mp3.

Maybe YOU are the perfect one?

1 comment:

stace said...

Jaye...I read your blog for several reasons...but the biggest is because everyone needs a coach. For those of us who have been blessed to have been consulted by you and Mike, we know first hand what you bring to the table...(I miss ya, btw!) but now, I look to your blog to get the coaching that I miss on a weekly basis due to budget cuts. Thanks for the reminders of the outside perspective...This could have been my show on any given day, (assuming I had a partner again) The basics are never basic. Thanks, Coach!!

Be blessed!

Mix 99.3/WOW Country