Creating On-Air Listening Guides

Working with personalities on CCM stations is rewarding experience, but can be frustrating in some ways.

Many programmers and personalities are reluctant to apply sound principles of teasing content because they feel it’s manipulating the audience.

Well, it is, to an extent. The goal of effective teasing is to create curiosity that causes a listener to stay tuned or come back to the station to increase listening.

Think of teasing as an on-air listening guide. Most listeners aren’t paying much attention to what’s on the air. And they’re unaware of the terrific content offered.

If youve driven on a highway in an unfamiliar area with a gas gauge creeping toward empty and an empty stomach growling from hunger, you start paying very close attention to signs. Whats off that next exit? How far to the next rest area? Where can I get a hotel for the night?

Highway signs are ads, of course, enticing consumers to visit their business and leave some money behind. Its self-serving to the business. But highway signs also provide a service. If I need to fill up my tank with gas, they’re a service!

Doesnt it make sense to providelisteners what they need to listen more to their favorite station?

That’s what teases do. What is going to be on the air in the next few minutes that listeners willlove?Tell them about it. Don’t be shy. Be bold and creative.

Pre-promotion is absolutely self-serving, but it provides listeners with the benefit of knowing how to get more of what they love.

They already like you. Thats why theyre tuned in. Let them use you more by telling them what to expect on their listening journey”.


Tracy Johnson
Founder/ CEO, Tracy Johnson Media Group

Recognized as one of America’s most innovative radio programmers and managers, Tracy Johnson’s broad background in traditional and digital media has influenced hundreds of radio stations, programmers and personalities.

Johnson’s radio programming success began in Lincoln, Nebraska and included stops in Kansas City and Jacksonville, Florida, eventually leading him to San Diego in 1992. There, Johnson led KKLQ (Q106) from 19th to 1st.  The “worst to first” achievement was soon duplicated when he directed KFMB-FM from 22nd to 1st. 

Applying his strategic expertise and creative promotion and marketing tactics, the stations earned dozens of industry achievement awards, including named Radio Ink Magazine’s “Best Programmer in America”. In 1998, Johnson became Market Manager of KFMB AM and FM.

In all, Johnson has programmed and consulted over 200 radio stations in more than 15 countries.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to apply this experience and knowledge full time, Johnson became EVP of Audience Engagement for Triton Media, advising over 700 media companies (radio, television, newspaper) to create synergy in their traditional and digital offerings to create new sources of audience engagement and revenue.

As founder and CEO of the Tracy Johnson Media Group, Johnson offers programming, marketing, promotion, talent coaching and digital consulting services. 

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Wise, Weird & Welcome: Learning and Leading with the Lepers and the Locust Eaters

We’ve all read the same books about teamwork, leadership, communication, and culture that everybody reads. We’ve mastered Maxwell, studied Sanborn, Sinek, and Sun Tzu, and liberally cribbed Collins in aborted attempts to go from good to great, but…

How’s that working out for you? 

What if you left St. Louis with an entirely new lens through which to view and act upon improvements in:

Let’s examine how this all connects together, but approach it from an entirely different angle. Don’t just think outside the box. Kick the box to the curb and start at zero.