No, this isn’t about “dumbing it down.” It’s about not making it more complicated than today’s attention span will accept.
Today’s listener doesn’t read much. (No patience.) And we’re a nation of channel flippers. Fads come and go at warp speed. A lot of “relationships” between supposed “soulmates” last only a few months.
So if you’re going to get in sync with today’s “short attention span theater,” you need to keep things simple. The old “stop by each one of their 6 locations to pick up your card” contest is D.O.A. in today’s world. People have lives. They’re busy.
ONE thought (besides the formatic “basics”) per break.
ONE thought per Imaging piece.
ONE thought per phone call.
ONE story or reaction from a winner.
ONE step to win something, see something, hear something, or post something.
If you make it more complicated than that, you’re going to see gradually sagging response, and eventually, gradually sagging ratings.
The good news is that this actually takes us back to what radio used to be all about: a quip, a piece of information, or a short story, then BANG!… on to the next element. This is what great radio was founded on: MOMENTUM. (Not “going fast.” Just being succinct.)
I can hear the rebuttal already: “That’ll never work.” Oh yes, it will. And I’ve got about 350 stations I’ve worked with that can prove it.
Tell you what, just try it for a month and see what happens. Feel the burst of energy that comes from each air talent knowing that the one comment he or she made hit home, then Momentum took over and swept the listener forward.
(You can always go back to being long-winded and boring, or everything trying too hard to be noticed, or too complicated for anyone to care. And hopefully, that DOESN’T define your station.)
As always, my greatest hope for anyone reading this is to be the very best they can be, and to have a great time every day in a job they truly enjoy.
Tommy Kramer is a talent coach for Radio, TV, & Voice Acting, as well as a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.