This serious question was posed to me, or should I say this question was seriously posed to me by someone studying Radio – and my mind ran through a list, a long list it turns out of words – but they surprised me with the insightful choice of the word “WORK”. They are right of course.
Tom, a mature student studying radio in the UK sent me a couple of questions via email – and this one was great.
When I was explaining it to one of our on-air jocks they asked me why – so I ran through a very brief explanation, and referred to Tom’s emails that we had gone back and forth on.
Remember that you always feel different when driving in your car in the afternoons, compared to in the morning – Listeners are in ‘work mode’ in the morning, setting goals, ordering their day in their minds, and looking to accomplish their goals. And radio helps. For example “I know if I am crossing the bridge before the 7am news, I am on time” said Tom “therefore I know I will have a good day because I won’t be running late, and there will be carparks available at work.”
Fair enough, but what about on the way home?
On the way home, you don’t want to think about work, you are on your own time and you need to unwind. You are either thinking about what you will do tonight, or the weekend, or your spouse or partner. You want to escape, not face reality.
Tom said… “I don’t want to think about work, hear about work or even think about working tomorrow. I want to relax, unwind, and be entertained.”
You are only EVER thinking about work if something went wrong, or really, really well for you during the day – there is no middle point.
I didn’t believe Tom – so I checked myself over a week and damn- he is right!
Because of this, as a listener you don’t want constant time updates, news highlights should be sparse – unless it is a major, late breaking story – what you want is a distraction – because this time is the ONLY time that listeners get to be alone with their thoughts until they get home.
As such, as a jock, you don’t want your show to be predictable, nor boring, or dull – you want a bit of excitement, energy and enthusiasm – but not toooo hyped up.
Realism is what you are aiming for in most cases, and as Tom said in his email to me – he HATES hearing lists, charts or complex trivia questions in competitions on the air – the simpler the better. “I don’t want to work for a prize, I want a simple cue to call in Drive” and that’s a great point.
In my back and forth with Tom I asked him what he expected in a drive show then – just to see if it fitted with my thoughts and we were almost word for word the same… but he did have some extras which I have included here in bold.
- Promos for other shifts
- Weekend promos for shows AND remotes (outside broadcasts)
- Referencing – but only in passing of the breakfast show
- References to: pop culture, memes, celebrities, tonight’s activities (meals and tv) and topical news
- Traffic conditions
- Fantasies – vacations, prize wins, etc
I asked why fantasies – as I didn’t really get what he was talking about – but Tom said to me that the best radio he heard was at 5.45 in the afternoon on a wet November, when a Jock in the UK talking about her fantasy holiday if she won the lottery, and she built the picture perfectly… so much so that Tom stayed in his car when he arrived home for an extra 5 minutes listening to her set the scene and activities she would do – it played out like a movie to him. It was pure escapism, and such a beautiful talk break that effected him so deeply, he chucked in his job in a call centre 2 weeks later, to study radio and follow his dream.
I ask you – would that have happened if the same thing had been said on air in the morning show – no – because Tom would have had to get to work.
Its a great point, and one that I hope you will take to heart in your next Drive Shift!
Until next time – catch you on a beach somewhere!