This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Consultant Tips” series, written by Charese Fruge on October 22, 2019

As the radio industry seeks to extend its brands to create non-traditional revenue, talent, both seasoned and new, need to understand that they are in the sales business too. While we as an industry try to determine the best way to monetize digital & social assets, streaming and podcasting, it’s important to make sure that the traditional assets we already have are being maximized for revenue purposes as well. I’m referring to the assets we’ve been trying to take advantage of for years now, like remotes, endorsements and NTR events. At the end of the day, the personal, local and compelling touch is going to be the most successful way to get the audience’s attention, especially in smaller markets. And by the way, these assets are often the best way to supplement income for talent who need the extra cash to survive. So, while we continue to focus on digital growth, it’s important to keep our eye on the ball when it comes to the opportunities that are already right in front of us.

I was driving around in my car last week and happened to stop on a song I liked. Immediately out of the song, one of the station personalities said the call letters and then started to talk about being out at a car dealership in the middle of a weekday afternoon. The talent did not identify themselves; the talking points were a long list of deals and all over the place. Finally, the break ended with Joe Blow car salesman on the air and then the station went right back into another song. The break hit right in the middle of a “commercial free” music sweep. As a programmer I almost drove off the road as I was yelling at the radio. If I had been an average listener, I would have been gone in less than 10 seconds. If you’re going to stop the music or content to do a break like this, at least “try” to get me to stick around. It’s not only got to work for your listeners, but it’s also got to work for the client. I realize there will often be pressure from the sales rep on copy points and putting people on the air, but at the end of the day, it’s your name on the line and you are getting paid to help people get excited about the client and what they have to offer.

So here is a refresher course on the art of remote breaks. The three-step process can also be applied to writing promos, endorsement spots, event planning, podcasting, and just about every other kind of presentation you can do in radio.

First, identify the client and what they have to offer. As you read through the copy points pick out three things that grab your attention and would actually make you consider dropping by a remote. Edit them down as much as possible and be ready to bullet point them. Get to “the juice.” Don’t worry if there is a long list. You can rotate them with each break.

Second, when you get there, look around you. Are there activities going on at the dealership that look like fun? Face painting, balloons for the kids, big concert tickets to giveaway or discounted tickets to a big event, bounce house etc.? Try to find something to work with. If there’s nothing, you are going to need to rely on your talent and humor. You are going to need to entertain both interested listeners and non-interest listeners. And if you must put the client on the air, like a good producer, talk to them about the one bullet point he or she wants to drive home. Explain to them that you are not in a hurry, you just want to make sure that the biggest priority and benefit is conveyed and the message doesn’t get buried by too much information (this is why you should always get to remotes early and begin to build relationships with sales reps and clients).

And finally, when you go live or kick off the remote break, please identify yourself. You are 95% more likely to keep the audience’s attention, whether they need a new car or not, if they are familiar with you or can make a connection with you. By the way, the first thing out of your mouth should be the most compelling part of the break. You literally have about 6 seconds to get a listener’s attention. If you are in a music sweep, make sure the next song is a smash, and that the audience knows what it is. This could be the one thing that keeps a listener who is not interested in buying a car to stick around.

So, to recap:

  • Identify the product, client or topic and the top 3 benefits they provide.
  • Identify the surrounding circumstances or fluff that will get your audience excited about the product, client or topic.
  • Identify with the audience. Tell people who you are and how this product, client or topic makes you feel. Make a human connection.

Three very simple steps you can apply to make anything from remote breaks to live broadcasts to podcasts, promos etc. matter. If it doesn’t work for the audience, it won’t work for the client. If it doesn’t work for the client, it won’t work for you as talent or your brand. That could lead to potential loss of the buy, which means a loss of money from your pocket.