I was listening to a syndicated radio show the other day. I won’t mention the presenter’s name, but she has a nice voice and plays a good selection of music; and as far as it went it was a pleasant show.
Unfortunately every single link between the songs was nothing more that “that was, and this is”.
After half an hour I started to feel a bit short-changed; I wanted more than to know the name of the performers and the title of the tracks. It was almost as if she couldn’t really be bothered. Maybe she voice tracked the links in three minutes flat.
Before the internet came along many of us oldies would scour the music press to keep abreast of who was doing what and read performer biographies on the tracks we planned to play during our shows. Top radio personalities have people who do this for them.
But I’d write down key points about the artist along with live performance dates etc on a card and pop that in the vinyl sleeve or CD case.
It took a fare deal of time and work; but over the years I built up knowledge of many artists and that has stuck with me. It meant I could speak fluently with some knowledge about the tracks I played and hopefully inform my listeners – to tell them something they might not already know.
A good resource at the time, in addition to the musical press, was the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles which proved very helpful for a listener request show I was doing back then.
Today it is much easier; two minutes online can deliver tonnes of information about most any artist, their bio, past releases, new albums…anything you might want to know. And because it’s so easy, research can almost be done while a track is playing so you have an interesting outro to the track you just played..
Expanding on a link to go from mundane to interesting doesn’t mean you have to ramble on.
Small snippets of information such as the name of the album the track came from, tour dates, the artist’s website URL, their age, where they were born, and the instruments they play; or name the people they have played with can make all the difference.
Any one of those will add a bit of interest to a link, inform the listeners and show you really care about what you are playing.
To take this one step further; listeners really like hearing about you and your life. It helps create that personal connection, to make you real – and not just a voice on the radio.
Many people do go under a pseudonym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about the funny things that happen to you; the car breaking down, the amount of homework your children get and other talking points that show you live in the real world like the rest of us.
If you are satisfied with delivering mundane links without trying to build a relationship with your listeners then you are only one up from a jukebox.
Entertain, inform and engage your listeners by offering more than the bare minimum.