Former SCA Head of Content Craig Bruce gives some good advice about Breakfast Shows in his third column for radioinfo.
Listen to his Game Changer podcasts and see past columns here.
Think about your morning ritual for a moment. Some call it a routine, but mine feels more like a ritual.
I get up at exactly the same time every morning.
I eat the same breakfast.
I leave the house at the same time, (if I’m 5 minutes late when I leave then I’m 15 minutes late when I get to work thanks to peak hour traffic.)
Most importantly I absolutely must fuel up on coffee from the same coffee shop every morning. The barista knows exactly how I like it and she nails it every time.
I was thinking about it the other day, what would it take for me to try a new coffee shop? I noticed one that has just opened on the other side of the road to my favourite and have not even for a second considered trying it.
So what would make me swap?
Firstly, the service at my favourite coffee shop would have to slip. These guys make me feel welcome and a part of the furniture. If any of them left, I might consider going somewhere else.
The quality of the coffee would have to drop off. I wouldn’t swap after being served one bad coffee, but if I was given 2 or 3 in-a-row that weren’t up to their normal standard then I would start getting itchy feet.
I’d be tempted if I started seeing line-ups of people waiting at the other shop, or if my friends started telling me about how good the coffee was across the road.
But unless the core content offering of my favourite coffee shop changes, then I’m sticking to my morning ritual.
For most of us a morning ritual also includes our favourite breakfast show on the way to work.
Over the years you’ve grown comfortable with the on-air team to the point where you feel like you actually know them.
Their voices are familiar, you are in sync with their sense of humour and the nuances and natural conversation that makes their show unique.
You like the music they play and trust you’ll receive all the basic information you need to start the day.
In short you’ve grown to like, even love, the show.
So if you’re working on that new breakfast show opening across the road, you need to know that changing someone’s morning ritual is going to take time, effort and a consistently brilliant product.
What you do will not only have to be better, but genuinely different to what is currently on offer in the market.
And as good as you might be in the first 12 months of your launch, you may need to wait for the “barista” across the road to finally take that gap year Euro adventure they’ve been saving for before you get a chance to steal his customers.
Or you’ll need to be so interesting and unique in your approach that your new customers are compelled to recommend your show to their friends.
Changing someone’s morning ritual rarely happens quickly and as the great Lorne Michaels who’s been at the helm of SNL for more than 30 years and is recognised as one of the best talent coaches in the world said about putting together new combinations.
We don’t bring in anybody we’re not rooting for. Sometimes they succeed in week five, but for most people it’s two, three, four years before they become who they’re going to be. You have to allow for that growth.
If you’re in a new breakfast show try not to worry about those 8 survey results in the first year and focus more on the long road ahead of building a product that is consistently good enough to become a morning ritual for someone
About the Author
Craig is the former Head of Content at Southern Cross Austereo. Responsible for getting some of Australia’s best talent on radio, his true passion has always been the development and mentoring of young talent. He now works as a talent coach and radio consultant.