This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Consultant Tips” series, written by Charese Fruge on November 19, 2019
You hear them all the time on the radio: “The Tease.” The message that’s supposed to keep you tuned in or get you to stick around during the commercials. Let’s be honest, we hear a lot of them that go right over our heads because they aren’t that creative. In a recent conversation with Brad Booker of Mix 94.7 in Austin, he mentioned to me that the perfect tease is one of the most important things radio talent should master. “We know we probably aren’t going to break someone’s listening habits, but I feel a perfect, intriguing and compelling tease could earn us an extra quarter hour,” according to Booker. “But we better make damn sure the expectations are met with outstanding content!”
Both of those statements are true. I hear a lot of generic teases or morning show promos that don’t move the needle or create a need to stick around or tune in. Especially when it comes to regular morning show bits or cash giveaways. With all the competition out there, every second of airtime counts and every word counts. So, saying “coming up after the break War Of The Roses, or Second Date Update” isn’t enough. You’ve got to give the audience some juice. Find something in the bit that is compelling enough to keep your audience, but that doesn’t give away the outcome. For example, “Fred and Gina of (insert city here) went on their date this weekend. You won’t believe what Gina did before it even started. Did she win him over? Find out next on Second Date Update.”
If part of your ratings strategy is a cash contest, you need to add some creativity to your teases for this as well. Let’s face it, everyone in the market and nationwide is doing a cash contest and most of the time it’s always during the same time frame. The message gets watered down and becomes background noise because winning cash is no longer exciting, and the average listener is often skeptical about it. You’ve got to make the payoff sound huge or lifestyle. So, saying “tune in tomorrow at 7:20 for the code word in our workday pay off” isn’t enough. You must make it sound larger than life. Focus more on what you can do with the extra cash and make it fun. Or take a previous winner’s exciting audio and use it to get the audience excited about the contest as well. Get to the juice and send them to the website for details and instructions.
The same can be said for podcasting and digital and social media. The perfect tease is critical for grabbing attention. I can’t tell you the number of podcasts I see from morning shows that are basically just a post of the entire show entitled Episode (enter number here) with the date on it. Really??? And you wonder why there are no streaming numbers or comments. Find someone one who will pick apart the bits piece-by-piece, produce them and create compelling titles (or teases) for them. Those are the Podcasts (and shows) that move the needle.
One other very important asset that requires the perfect tease is a morning show promo. The challenge is, unless it’s a HUGE interview, or everybody’s favorite, a 4-pack of park hopper tickets to America’s happy place, listing what’s happening on the show tomorrow isn’t that exciting. And most people aren’t thinking about the topics you are going to address a day later. Morning show promos are the best way to advertise your show in every daypart. It’s free advertising on a giant media platform. What’s sounds more exciting? “Tune in tomorrow at 7:10 when we talk about your worst dating experience?” Or a play back that is short and sweet of your funniest bits from previous shows. A quick set up, and then a payoff that is funny. But back to Booker’s point above. You better make damn sure there is a payoff on everything you do. Find the person who is editing your Podcasts to do the same thing for your morning show promos. If it’s done right, you’ll have tune in, and prove that you’re worth listening to versus just making a promise to be funny and entertaining the next day. If you must go with “tomorrow on the show,” make it compelling and relatable to one of the characters on the show. “Kelly went on a date this weekend with her military guy. She had the most humiliating experience ever. Find out what happened tomorrow at 7:10.”
Get creative about everything you do. There is so much competition out there and oftentimes everybody is doing the same thing and talking about the same things. You’ve got to set yourself and your show apart from everyone else. A great tease will ensure that you grab your listeners’ attention, and if the payoff is good, eventually, you’ll grab their loyalty too.