Prep Has To Be A Strategy

Here’s a few ideas to help you craft a stronger strategy for your show:

Prep with your company vision in mind. Look at the platform and the heart of your company. Look for an opportunity to share that heart with your listeners today. Put your company vision in your own words. (Why do we exist? What are our company values? How do we serve our community? What is our company’s hear for this city?) Look for articles, blogs and discussions that share that heart. It’s really easy for your on air approach to contradict the heart behind your content. Heart isn’t something you say, it’s something you feel. Be intentional about communicating your organization’s values through your show and your personal point of view.

Prep your setups for phone discussions before you go on the air. Plan the way you’re going to start this discussion & how you’re going to wrap it up. There should be a point that you’re leading listeners toward. What is that point? Explain it.

Write out questions for your regular callers. Look for ways to make your listeners the star. Before you start your show, write out 2-3 questions that you can ask the people who call in for a request. I record the responses and save them for the time in the show when I’m ready to start an on air discussion. It’s a great way to set up some compelling calls that are already edited. That way I have the time to answer the live callers while staying on time! This is also a great way to build momentum as great calls breed better calls.

Choose a spiritual theme or idea for each show. Think about what God has been teaching you in your personal life. Jesus says, “They will know us by our fruit.” Think about fruit that’s been blossoming in your life. Share it! This is the most authentic way to talk about faith because it’s natural. If you work in Christian radio, you need a personal quiet time in order to connect in the spiritual. As you’re growing in your faith, it will naturally come out in your life. Just put your faith experience in your own words when you go on the air. Explain it rather than read it. Make this more about storytelling and less about information.

Don’t forget your songs. Music really is the meat of your show. Don’t look at your music as filler. Songs are some of your best content. Listen to the words while you are in the studio. Frame what the song is all about. Share the heart behind the words. Remember that most people tune into your show for the music, not your talk. Think about how great worship leaders frame the heart behind the songs at church and give them a personal connection. You can do something similar. If your talk break idea isn’t better than your most popular song, rethink it and play another great song.

Rethink your family stories. Women love kids, but they love their OWN kids best. Think extra hard about the content you share from your life. It’s not about you, it’s about HER. No one cares about your kids unless it reflects their life back to them. A silly story isn’t always better than a great song. Ask yourself, how is this story reflecting my listener’s life back to her? It is more about me, or is it about her? What is she actually taking away from this?

What’s the web application? How am I using social media to bring people back to actually listen to my show or have a new onramp to engage with our radio station brand today? Think about how you’re crafting your questions. The way you craft them to connect on the air may not work on social media. Think about how you build a discussion not an interrogation. Look at your Facebook Insights page. Evaluate what topics connected online and think about how to craft those ideas to apply over the air in different ways!

Look for the big story of the day. It’s the topic that everyone is talking about in your city today. Explain it in own words and you will be original. Make sure you make looking for that “big story” a part of your showprep everyday. What is on HER mind while I am doing this show today at this minute? What’s her biggest stress today? What’s she looking forward to right now? What does work look like for her this week? How am I making this into a story? How am I telling it?

Rethink your station business items. We all have liners and web content that we’re told to share. Think about how you can take the typical boring liner bullet points and explain it in a way that’s engaging and challenging to your listener. Think about the required liners that are scheduled in your show and brainstorm some ways to cast the vision behind them to your listener. Make a concert into a family experience. Make a charity event into an opportunity to serve our city and make it a better place to live. Make a marriage conference into a retreat with your spouse. It’s all about point of view. Cast some vision to your listener and create some excitement!

Prep ways to personally encourage your listener. “Hope” and “encouragement” are the two most used words when listeners are asked “what they expect” when they push the button for their local Christian radio station. Think about how you’re delivering hope & encouragement in every hour of your show. That’s always a win!

-Scott Herrold