This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Consultant Tips” series, written by Charese Fruge on July 3, 2020
As we approach another summer holiday more and more talent in the business are taking their vacations. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had conversations with Market Managers about whether or not it’s better to use “Best Of” bits in place of having someone fill in for the morning show or having the show do it with a primary member missing. Let’s face it, it is extremely rare that a show sounds good with a primary member missing. The only way to keep the chemistry alive is by using someone who is extremely famous as a fill in or at least as lovable and familiar as the person you are trying to replace. The truth is, the best option is to use very well produced bits from previous shows that have a pay-off to cover for you while you are out on holiday.
Think about it like this, we bang the HITS in power rotation when it comes to music. Why? Because people want to hear their favorite songs over and over again (until they don’t). Think of your “Best Of’s” as your greatest hits. But they need to be tight, produced well, have a pay-off, be strategically scheduled and fresh and surrounded by the hits. And if partners vacation at different times, you can utilize one talent to keep the bits moving forward and keep up with social media.
Why are “Best Of’s” the better option? Because even when the greats like Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, James Corden, or whoever your favorite is, find guest hosts for their shows, unless it’s Miley Cyrus (or someone with her star power) the show that you watch religiously becomes unfamiliar, and at times uncomfortable. Even worse, if it’s something completely different from what you are comfortable with, you feel a certain loss.
I’ll be honest, The Daily Show is one of my absolute favorites. I plan my day around it and I never miss it. But Trevor Noah gets a lot of vacation time. So when he’s out, they just fill in his slot with something else. When I find out, it literally ruins my day. He took the week of Memorial Day off. The first two nights they played re-runs of South Park and for two nights, I sat in my chair flipping through channel after channel searching for something to entertain me. I was frustrated and bored. And on the third night, they finally played “Best Of” bits from the Daily Show in its time slot. I was so happy just to have the familiarity and a good laugh that it didn’t bother me that I had already seen the stories and bits.
That’s the kind of bond you should have with your audience so that your “Greatest Hits” will never get old. That’s the kind of loyalty you should develop and never sway from to ensure that you don’t give any of your listeners a chance to discover anything else. Because when they don’t get what they want when you are out on vacation they will either find something else to entertain them or they will turn your station completely off.
Radio is different from television. People don’t listen the way we think they do. They don’t listen like Market Managers do (religiously). It’s likely your audience will be hearing the bit for the first time. If not, and if you keep them fresh and in a good rotation, it will be just as entertaining as it was the first time.
It’s important now more than ever as listener studies and analysis have indicated that they are looking for comfort and a break from the reality of COVID-19, social injustice and sometimes their kids. But your “Greatest Hits” better be just that, there is nothing worse than the replay of a bit that doesn’t go anywhere. Edit, Listen, Repeat! Make sure you’re really are giving your audience the best of your show in your “Best Of” bits