There is a famous quote which states – “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Before you even attach your microphone to the internet it is important that you sit down and do some planning about the show you are going to present. Record this in anyway you want, but ensure that you have some idea of your show before emailing the studio. Your show will change and adapt as it progresses but it is important to establish some points right from the start.
Show content: Audience – It is important that you start off by thinking who you will be broadcasting your show to. It is good practice to sit down and imagine your listener. Consider how old they are? What do they do in the spare time? What do they like and/or dislike? When I am presenting I often look at my webcam and talk to that. Interestingly I think I am actually talking to my ‘listener’. I use the singular form of the noun here on purpose. I have one person in my mind and I talk to them. I feel that I have a personal connection with this person and always use the personal pronoun of ‘you’ when presenting. Knowing your audience will help you create the rest of your show, for example if your audience is a lady called Mabel who is 60+ then asking her to send in selfies to the show and playing the latest number one is, generally, not likely to keep her as a listener. I know we are talking about generalisations but be general when you start with your planning – you can always alter this later.
Show content: Music – The content of radio shows vary a lot. When you are thinking about your show, first start from the music which you are passionate about. If you are passionate about it, then it follows that other people out there will share your passion and will form the audience of your show. Try to keep the genre focussed or a theme which runs throughout the show. For example, currently we have the Musical Show. This is a show which is focused purely on songs from the musicals while the Decades Show time travels through the years playing two or three tracks from each decade. both of these shows are valid. Once you have thought of the type of music you want to play, it is a good idea to see how much of this music you have. Remember that all the music you play you have to own. For my own shows I plan to have eleven tracks per hour, although this includes a lot of chatting between them. Check how long each track lasts and then calculate how many of the tracks you will need. Then multiple this by the number of shows a month. You will soon find that you need a lot of music so be prepared for this. Remember the station can not provide either funding for the purchase of music or music itself.
Show content: Segments – As well as music, there is also the opportunity to do segments within your show. These are times when you are talking about things or interacting with your audience. These need to be planned and prepared in advance so be aware of this when considering the amount of time you can give to the station. Segments can be anything from news about celebrities to jokes and quizzes. For example, within the Musical Show, segments include information about the musicals which have been featured and the lyrics quiz. In the Waffle show the segments include gaming news and guess the theme tune. You don’t have to have quizzes and you can keep the ‘chat’ to a minimum if you want. Just remember, less chat equals more music within the hour.
Show content: Name and ‘feel’ – Once you have got your audience, music and segments sorted then you are well on the way to creating the ‘feel’ of your show. I think this is really important since this is almost the ‘alter ego’ which you take on when you are presenting. No-one wants to tune into a show if the presenter is sad and depressed or even bored. They want to hear someone who is passionate, keen and ‘up beat’ about things. I’m not saying that you have to be smiling and loud all the time, but I am saying people don’t want to hear what a bad day you have had or that you are bored etc. When I am doing the Snuggle Show, I try to keep my voice quite neutral, while the Waffle Show I can get quite over the top and super keen! Hopefully these ‘moods’ reflect the feel of the show. As well as the feel you should also consider the name and ‘sweepers’ for the show. Keep the name simple and ensure that it reflects some aspect of the show. Try to avoid the use of weekday names in your show like ‘Monday Madness’ since this becomes confusing for your audience if you are actually broadcasting on a Friday. As well as the name, think about your sweepers. These are little sayings which are played in your show, with dry sweepers having no musical content and usually sitting within the introduction of tracks. An example of a dry sweeper is the one within the musical show which is – “Sing a long to the musicals – on Wilson Waffling Radio”. You can create more of these as the show develops but it is a good idea to have at least one ready to develop and promote the feel of your show.
Once you have some ideas about your show, I would suggest that you have a go at putting an episode together. Decided on the tracks the content of the segments and how the show will flow. This will allow you to see how the show feels and whether or not you have enough content. If you record the whole show you can listen back to it and reflect on it and whether the planned ‘feel’ comes across. Sometimes it can be painful to listen back to, I know, I’ve done it several times, but it is really good practice and will support you in the long run.
If you have any thoughts about the content of this post or any advice for creating your own radio show, then please add them in the comments below.