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Show Opens: Yes or No?

2-8-2013

Most great radio and TV shows have opening theme music, songs, or stagers that become familiar to listeners or viewers as a signal that the show is starting. Its an opportunity to brand your show and engage the audience. Several approaches can work.

Consider these points in your show open:

-- Keep them short. Even signature songs like a good parody work best when they are 60 seconds or less.

-- Use great clips from your show to give listeners an idea of your content and/or characters. Jeff and Jer on KyXy/San Diego use a funny clip from the day before. Ace & TJ, Channel 96.1/Charlotte, Syndicated, start their show with one of the best clips from the previous day, or they replay part one from a bit the day before and tease part two thats coming up on todays show.

-- We also like the idea of playing a characterizing and entertaining clip of each show player. The clip could be from the day before or any previous show. Its important to keep them fresh. Pop culture drops can be used sparingly, yet not in lieu of clips from your show since they are not part of your brand.

The opening talk break ideally contains a big topical story or three buzz-worthy stories for people just waking up. Engaging personal conversations can work too. Aimless chit-chat just to get you warmed up does not work because theres nothing in it for listeners. Have the host introduce each show player to set up the show so the listeners not as familiar with the show can follow who is talking. This technique is similar to the way TV shows open by listing and showing the characters.

End your first break with an enticing 80-20 tease of content thats coming up in the next segment. Create enough mystery in your tease that it compels listeners to stay with your show to hear it. Avoid laundry listing everything thats coming up in your show because its early and thats too much information for peoples brains to process. The exception of hitting more than one tease would be for something huge coming up later in the show like a big guest or money giveaway.

Since only a small percentage of your audience is going to hear the show open at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m., and people start listening to the show throughout the whole morning, consider having a show open every hour where the lead host introduces everyone on the show and teases or resets the content.

Email randy@randylane.net
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