Does Your Show Need a Fast-Forward Button?

 In Blog

Your audience is in a damn big hurry. Consider these recent media headlines and think about what they mean for your radio show or podcast.

Shorter hit songs. The average pop song is now 3:33. In 1975, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was six minutes. The #1 song on Spotify at this writing, 7 Rings by Ariana Grandeis 2:58.

Ten-minute TV shows. Quibi (short for “quick bites”) is a new network producing short-form programs from CEO’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman.

60-Second clips. Executives I work with at social media companies tell me that hardly anyone watches anything past twenty seconds.

Skip and speed-up buttons. Podcast listeners are accustomed to players that can zoom around boring parts. Many run the playback button at 2X to get through the podcast faster.

Low tolerance for commercials. At Podcast Movement, Coleman Research revealed a study indicating that ads longer than thirty seconds lose audience. Some Spotify listeners use ad blockers to avoid commercials altogether.

Your audience’s content filter is higher than ever, and their attention span is lower than ever.

Today’s top media performers bond with listeners through authenticity, personality and emotion, but they execute content with urgency.

The question is what and where to cut. To keep your show on pace with today’s impatient audiences, consider these execution tweaks and content updates.

Go long on stories, short on information. 

“A Star Is Born was nominated for ‘Best Picture” is information. Devote more time to stories involving human behavior“During the table read for A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper burst into tears rehearsing the final scene between Jack and Bobby in the car.”

Cut reiterations, zig-zags and circular conversations.

Talk hosts sometimes make a statement and then re-state using different verbiage. Practice making your point once, then illustrate your point with stories and examples. Allow for team improvisation, but get the conversation back on track quickly.

App-proof your show.

Most consumers wake and immediately reach for their mobile device. They have weather, traffic and sports scores long before they turn on a radio. Consider limiting that info to a couple of sentences unless there is breaking news.

Commercials: shorter and fewer.

If you voice endorsement commercials, work with sales to make them 30 seconds instead of a minute. Read sponsor tags for giveaways only once. Turn away non-profits seeking a segment on your show to solicit donations.

Segments and sub-segments.

Established shows with longer talk segments might consider breaking up a 12-minute segment into three 4-minute segments.

Last tip: Your setup – what you say in the first few seconds of a segment — is crucial. A headline teasing upcoming dramatic audio, funny stories or a confrontation can intrigue audiences into staying through to the end.

Photo CreditMichael Hiraeth

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