It’s a jungle out there in breakfast radio

The Talent Coach: Craig Bruce

Breakfast shows are like baby animals in the wild, they have a fair chance of survival as long they don’t get mauled in their first 6 months of life.

So what should you be thinking about if you’re just about to take your first tentative steps into the tough and uncompromising world of breakfast radio? And what are the coaching opportunities for content directors with new shows?

I’ve been working with a couple of new shows this year both here and overseas and the feedback has been fairly consistent for each team:

Understand that you’re brand new and that no one likes you yet.
That’s because they don’t know you.

Building the story of who you are and what kind of show you’ll eventually be for your audience is supposed to take time and just like any lasting friendship, you’ll build a level of trust and connection with your listeners by sharing moments and talking about the things that matters to them.

Now, when I say “sharing moments” from your own life, there is a trap here if you’re not careful.
 Let me explain. 
If you’re at a party and you’ve just met someone for the first time, the quickest way to bore the pants off them would be to talk about yourself all night, and worst still, over-share. Your new best friend doesn’t need to hear about your deepest darkest secrets five minutes after meeting you.

Let’s continue with the party analogy.

Who’s the most boring person at every party? He or she is the one who doesn’t ask you a single question about yourself. They are totally self-absorbed.
Don’t be this breakfast show, ever.

The fastest way for you to build a connection with your new audience is by actually talking to them on the air. If you’re a new show, you should be aiming to have caller topics and interaction at least once an hour.

I know this might seem really obvious, but too often new shows will get caught up in the race to be better than the show down the road, before they’ve spent any amount of time on the fundamentals of building a new relationship with their listeners. And the foundation of that relationship will be built by selecting relevant topics where there’s a 2-way conversation with you and your listeners, and solid story-telling that includes caller interaction.

Let me just reinforce, you don’t need to make it any harder than launching a new breakfast show in a new market already is by over-complicating the first 6 months. Resist the temptation of the added bells and whistles till the audience is filling comfortable with exactly who they’ve invited into their homes and cars.

Remember you’re a new show, you’re a babe in the woods and just like that baby giraffe with the wobbly legs, it’s going to get really messy if you try to run before you can walk.

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.