Are You Cramming 3 Minutes of Content Into a 7 Minute Break?


It drives listeners crazy when you waste their time. They love it when you entertain them. But when you cram 3 minutes of content into a 7 minute break, there’s one solution: EDIT.

It’s the same for books, magazines, newspapers, television, sales people, phone calls, text messages, emails, church services, advertising and everything else in life.

Nobody goes to the concert to see a long show. They come for a great show.

Admit it: You start tuning out even your best friend when they take too long to tell you about their problems.

The Power of  the Edit

You may think this is a recent development. As human beings are inundated with more sources of stimulation for their limited time, it’s reasonable to assume that attention spans are shorter.

Not the case. It’s been this way throughout history:

Editing is hard. Editing while live on the air requires self-discipline, paying attention and performing with the conscience of the listener. Trimming the fat without taking out the meat is sometimes difficult.

I once worked with a PD who was working with a morning show. In the air check meeting, he played the first break, looked at the talent and said,

“You know what I like about that break? It was short!”

Talk about deflating! It’s not about keeping it short. It’s keeping it from being longer than necessary.

Editing is one of the keys to winning on the air. It’s not about how long you talk. It’s about how effective you are when you do.

Improving Your Edit

The more you work on editing yourself, the better you get at it. Spend time every day evaluating your content and performance. What could you do better? In what way could you have turned that 40 second break into 30? What was wasted?

Work with your PD or consultant or talent coach to objectively lock in on what is essential to adding value and what was redundant. Hint: Anything that takes you off-topic or on a detour is a waste of time.

If you don’t have someone working with you, practice the art of editing with frequent air checks. It’s hard to self-critique, but applying some of the techniques here will help you.

Most of all, don’t beat yourself up about it. Be diligent and focused, but not obsessive. Tomorrow’s another show, and another opportunity to shine.




Tracy Johnson is President and CEO of the Tracy Johnson Media Group, offering programming & promotion consultation, talent coaching & development and digital strategy consulting. Get more information at or email

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