Most of us have had moments where we thought a break, interview, or call topic was going to be an absolute hit, totally relevant and interesting to everyone only to find out that we were wrong. It’s a horrible feeling to be wrong as most husbands know.
Mostly, the reason that we can get it so wrong is just that we are not harsh enough on our evaluation of quality and relevance. We will prep a show and often can get more focussed on having ‘something’ and lost focus on the ‘best’ thing.
This will always leave you as an announcer and a show that has potential but that will never take you to and higher levels. Be willing to be wrong before something goes to air rather than after and more times than not you will get it right.
Simply ask yourself, “Who Cares” and make sure that you aren’t defensive about answering your own question. I have asked this question to many announcers over the years and out of a desire not to be wrong they have defended some of the worst ideas.
Let’s say you are a female focussed Hot AC station. You are thinking about an interview with AFL player Scott Pendulbury ahead of the Queens Birthday clash with Melbourne. In evaluating whether this is a good idea you ask yourself, “Who Cares?”
This is a game that always pulls 70000+ even when Melbourne has been a bottom of the table clash. Scott Pendulbury is one of the premier players of the AFL and a Brownlow favourite. It taps into the long weekend and the Monday public holiday and is another big celebrity to add to the list of people I have had on the show.
But Who Cares? An AFL fan cares, which despite the AFL’s persistent selling of it’s female fan base lends itself predominantly to men. As a Hot AC female station that equation does not add up, unless of course something has happened with Scott Pendulbury that makes him relevant to your audience.
For example, if he was a contestant on TV show Dancing With The Stars, or there has been a news story about how the payer has now taken his fame and fortune and bought his mum a house and hired her a housemaid to thank her for everything she did for him when he was growing up.
Even on these ‘angles of relevance’ you need to err on the side of harsh with your evaluation because if you get it wrong, an interview with a star footballer could be the most arbitrary thing to your female audience. If you keep making calls like that, your female listeners will be gone and may never come back.
A short break about a newspaper article suggesting that research shows that eating chocolate everyday is the best way to lose weight in the long term (research fabricated to make my point…settle down choc-a-holics) with carry significantly more relevance and success in connecting and credibility than an AFL interview with a star.
Be honest, and take every break you have planned and ask “Who Cares?” You will probably drop some ideas pretty quickly and others you will keep but take a completely different angle on.
Is a federal budget relevant to your audience? It’s always relevant to our ‘needs’ but is it relevant to interest? A younger, rebellious, hit music station would often not bother about the budget because you would have to explain to your teenage listeners what a budget was. A talk station with a 55+ audience would unpack every last detail it can get. Yet our previously mentioned female Hot AC station might find a couple of things about Family Tax Benefit, the Baby Bonus, or Paternity Leave to talk about if there is something new there.
Not only does the format dictate the answer to the “Who Cares?” question but also your stations personality and your shows time slot and personality.