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Creating A Great Morning Show Now

A great morning show is difficult to find and harder to build. Ask around.

It’s nearly impossible if the chemistry is not right, but once you have players with the right chemistry, you must work to fully develop your show.

Here’s a hint. It isn’t about being better than another competitor. It’s about being unique, compelling and developing fame and what I call “Familiar Surprise™.”

If you make your living from creating a morning show, your number one goal should be to create a morning show that can be recognized by others as really great (and especially listeners).

But how to do you create a truly great morning show. Let’s look at important building blocks:

  1. Know who you are. Morning show talents who don’t know who they are get lost. It’s easier than you think. If you get lost, you won’t be winning anything and it will be challenging to grow a real tribe around your show. Listeners most identify with people who know themselves. Make certain you know who you are and portray that on the air daily.
  2. Provide lift. When you pull apart the DNA of any great morning show, you will find that these shows provide lift, bounce, joy, fun. You can create this in your planning regularly and you should.
  3. Make your show consistently interesting and fun. Making something interesting requires variety and the unexpected. This element of your show should center on consistently generating interesting variety that can surprise without making listeners uncomfortable. This is based in staying within the expectation of what listeners expect from your show. (See “Know who you are” above).
  4. Understand how important ‘fame development’ is for your show to thrive. There is only so much room at the top of any market. Shows that don’t develop fame don’t stick around. This is the single largest task for a new morning show. To get where you really wan to go, you will have to penetrate fame in your local market. Don’t take this for granted. Ask yourself, “What will this show be famous for?” You should have a way to generate fame opportunities from the content you are airing regularly and that requires a roadmap and process for seeing what content gets traction with your audience.
  5. Develop new content opportunities regularly and have a way to evaluate them weekly. You certainly don’t want your show to be stale. Everyone gets that, but most shows don’t have a system of development so they can consistently work on fame development (see number four above). In today’s world you have to stand out. Part of standing out is consistently developing new content for your audience and clearly evaluating the value of each piece of content regularly.
  6. Recognize that you are giving a performance. So many shows are really just “on the air.” That’s not enough today. While I am a big believer in being yourself, you must understand that you are giving a performance. So, you have to plan opportunities on your show and consistently hit your marks. You are not just “on the air.” You must give your audience interesting, uplifting performances that are meaningful in their lives. That means putting in the work in your prep and show development before you get to performance.
  7. Keep an eye on your sound hour. Just like the music on any great music station, your sound hour (represented by each individual quarter-hour) has to be balanced so you are communicating a well-balanced variety of content for new listeners all the time. Listeners come into your show at a wide variety of different times in the morning. Be ready by offering consistent quality.
  8. Have strategy for performing a show that is balanced. What kind of roadmap does your show have? How planned out is your morning show? The best shows have a strong roadmap and know what they are going to be doing on any given morning and have a plan for each quarter-hour.
  9. Know how to define and communicate roles within the show. Each player on your show should have a unique role. It should be something that can be communicated quickly and each player should have opportunity to develop that character for the audience, the emotion of that character and to allow the audience to get to know them during the show.
  10. Connect with your audience. This goes back to not just being “on the air.” Connection with audience is one of the most important concepts for a morning show. Radio is about companionship and being relatable. You must develop this in every part of your morning show. That starts with connection, vulnerability and how you regularly choose to connect. Study people who are great connectors and make sure that every player in your morning show has opportunity to connect with audience and show their uniqueness.
  11. Be authentic. (Perhaps I should have made this number 1). Being someone else is the kiss of death on a morning show. Be yourself. Listeners can smell when you are faking it. Being authentic, vulnerable and then being able to communicate these important qualities is powerful.
  12. Engage audience beyond the signal. If you haven’t learned how to use video, take amazing photos, develop memes, take some time and go learn it from someone who does it well. You are not an on-air talent in the 21st Century. Today you must be a multi-media talent. The better you are at this, the better armed you will be to grow your show (see “fame” above). Get with an improv group, become the sharpest social media person in your market. 
  13. Surround yourself with people who are passionate about the show, the consistent prep, the daily performance, the nuts and bolts of putting together a great show and being a good partner. Work with any resources your company gives you to develop your show and seek outside advice, development help, mentors and education on how to build stronger communication and stronger connections.

Bonus: Please don’t show up in social media only with impression management. Again being vulnerable and imperfect will score more points for allowing listeners to get to know the real you.

Building a great morning show isn’t always easy and it doesn’t happen instantly. It takes being the most prepared morning show in your market, doing work when others are “coasting” and a willingness to care about your audience and share your care daily. However, if you work hard, have an open mind and focus on developing compelling content, creating balance so that listeners get a sample of what makes you great in each quarter-hour, work hard to bring fresh great performances and always communicate your authenticity, you can absolutely build something big in your market.

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities and helps clients develop strategic programming and sales leverage to expose their brand or brands to higher ratings and revenue success with RPC. Listen to his podcast The Encouragers™ The Radio Rally™ podcast (Apple, Audible, Spotify). Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or