Mic Order: Who Talks First?

 In Blog

Who talks first, second, third, etc.? There are no hard and fast rules for mic order on radio and podcast shows. There are highly successful shows with a fixed mic order and highly successful shows with a varied mic order.

Fixed Mic Order

Almost all shows with one personality’s name on them such as DeDe in the Morning or Ryan Seacrest, talk first and then direct the conversation to the cohosts. Team shows like Star 101.5 Seattle’s Moug & Angie are typically mic one and two.

New shows need to establish a consistent pattern with a fixed structure to help listeners get to know the roles and become familiar with the players. What about new cohosts on established shows? At Saga Des Moines’ Star 102.5,  Tawinee is the new third mic with longtime market vets Ken and Kurt. Because Tawinee is still building familiarity, Ken or Kurt’s familiar voices are always heard first and second.

Varied and Open Mic Order

Once shows are established, mic sequence can be varied or open in some situations. Mature brands like The KVJ Show start segments with Kevin and then he goes to either Virginia or Jason depending on who is the focus of the content.

Ensemble shows typically fall into two categories regarding mic progression.

  1. The host opens each content segment and calls on players by name to join the conversation. Players can raise their hands or use other non-verbal cues when they want to add to a discussion. This efficient mic style keeps chatty cohosts and spice/lightning rod cohosts in check.
  2. The host opens each segment and sets up a cohost, then the mics are open for any player to chime in on the discussion. This requires all the players to be active listeners to avoid stepping on one another.

Alert to male hosts on female-targeted shows: You alienate your core by hogging mic time or interrupting your female cohosts. The woman or women on your show are the microphones for every female listening.

It’s unfortunate to hear egocentric hosts on ensemble shows suck up 80% of the real estate and leaves only 20% of mic time for the cohosts. The best hosts are not mic hogs, they utilize all the cast to create the best content and team dynamics.

Photo credit: flickr.com/mdgovpics/

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