“Coming up after the news I’ll play you the Stereophonics and Dakota”
Great, I thought, I haven’t heard that record on the radio for at least a day. If that’s the best reason he can find to keep me listening I don’t hold up much hope for the rest of the content. It really wound me up.
Now granted I had been driving for five hours that day so might have been grumpier than usual. And I know every single tease can’t be a work of art. A second of self-awareness let me come up with two reasons to give him the benefit of the doubt.
- Maybe Dakota by the Stereophonics has some mystical pull to an audience I don’t know about and by mentioning it he would be sure to have people flocking towards the station. Then I thought; sure it’s a good record and possibly someone’s favourite but is it really so popular that thousands will hang on just to hear it?
- Maybe I caught an exceptionally brilliant presenter having a very rare moment of complete blandness or brain fade.
But really isn’t the truth that the presenter was doing what many do? He was in auto-pilot DJ mode. The news is coming up so I’ll look at what records I’m playing after the news and mention one of two of them. That’s fine if there’s something special about the records or if you can make something special out of them.
And it annoyed me because it’s common, it’s lazy and it’s complacent. This guy did a great bit of content after the news that would have split the listeners in half and got them talking. But instead of alluding to that (and there were a million ways he could have) he decided to promote the most mundane thing he had coming up.
He’s not alone and when I hear it I always think it’s so thoughtless and complacent.
Imagine if the trail for the next Bond film simply said “Come and see it there’s a guy called James Bond and he’ll go after another bad guy”. What if ITV said “Tonight on Coronation Street it starts with the theme tune”?
People love to stick with something to find out what happens next. It’s why continuing drama is the most popular form of TV content from Game of Thrones to Eastenders. Its why sports makes such good TV.
Excite your audience about what’s coming up – find the thing that makes it different or find the hook that will leave them wondering what happens next.
But please don’t be complacent or lazy or on auto-pilot. I might hear it on my next five hour drive.