Here’s a good technique that keeps you from sounding generic. If you want to talk about something that isn’t local, unless it’s a giant national headline, it’s likely that you’ll get a “who cares?” reaction in the mind of the Listener.
So whenever I hear a Talent struggle with this, I ask, “How do I get there from here?”
Usually, this happens because the Talent is staring through the wrong end of the binoculars and looking to find things that are “interesting” instead of things that are actually relevant.
But suppose you have chosen something relevant, but it’s just not local. Here’s how you get there from here: Compare whatever it is you’re talking about to something that is local. Now you’ve tethered it to my life by referencing something familiar – something that I know about – that’s right here, in this city today, instead of just abruptly bringing up a story from somewhere else.
Example (from a Dallas perspective):
“Imagine walking into that Comerica bank on Lemmon Avenue, and the first thing you hear is “Everybody on the floor! This is a robbery!” That’s what happened to this girl in St. Louis yesterday…” Now you tell me all about what that poor girl went through, and because I can visualize it better, I’ll be more apt to listen.
If you can’t get there from here, don’t go there.
Tommy Kramer is a talent coach for Radio, TV, & Voice Acting, as well as a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.