You've just finished playing a song on your station and now it's time to get your voice on the air before transitioning to another track! Are you confident with having conversations with your listeners? Sometimes it's easy to prattle on about music news or other current events before the music break. Other times, you may have a loss for words. Some days are just slow. That's no fault of your own, but as a DJ/broadcaster, you do need to know how to fill the dead air – no matter how uneventful life can get.
We've noticed that experienced broadcasters tend to talk about the same things during those slow moments. Additionally, there are other linguistic practices several broadcasters use in order to make things seem more natural and have their radio show flow. In this short-but-sweet article, we're listing 6 things you should regularly be saying to your audience while on air. We hope these pointers help you make some much-needed noise! If anything, they'll help you connect to your audience better.
1. Your Station Name and Your Own Name
It's not a bad idea to repeat your station name and your own name to your audience every now and then. Something along the lines of, "Hi, I'm John Doe and you're listening to Smash Hits Radio." Doing this helps new and intrigued listeners get a better sense of you and your station's vibe. You can also use the introduction to plug in other important things – such as your social media handles or upcoming events for your station.
While implementing your station name and your own name does fill dead air and is a great starting point to get into other topics, it does come with some caveats. First, it's a bit awkward to tell listeners what station they're listening to if, for instance, you play your station's jingle beforehand. The purpose of stating your station's name to listeners is to inform them about what they're listening to. If they already know what they're listening to and you immediately repeat that info with your own voice, it's just going to sound redundant.
Second, name dropping too often can get annoying for listeners who've been tuned in for a while – so use your introductions sparingly. We'd say doing it once every hour is okay. If it's easy for you to talk about yourself, we highly recommend identifying yourself and your station to listeners in order to break the ice!
2. The Last Word
When you've got live guests featured on your show but you're the owner of the station they're talking on, you are the ringleader of the conversation. It's your responsibility to keep the conversation flowing in the right direction and, when time is up, successfully maneuver a transition into a commercial or music break.
How do you handle this transition? By getting the last word in your guests' conversation. It can be a difficult skill to master at first if you're a timid speaker or new to having guests on your show. It can also be a more forceful endeavor if your guests are locked in a very deep debate or chat. It's hard to cut people off from speaking, but sometimes it's got to be done.
Having the last word basically requires you to politely tell your guests their time is up once they're done talking, and redirecting the energy of the conversation towards your audience. For example, once your guest is done speaking, you can slip in and say, "that was a good point, Linda. All right, don't go away folks: we'll be continuing this conversation after our commercial break." It's simply turning your attention from your guest to your audience, and closing things out.
3. Positive Language
We've always wanted to talk about the power of positive language on air and just how much it can make listeners engaged! We're not necessarily talking about giving motivational speeches on the airwaves. Rather, we're talking about making your audience believe good things will happen to them – either because of a choice they make or because of something you will do to help them. For instance, if you're playing a call-in game with your audience, don't say, "call in for your chance to win." Instead, say, "Call in to win!" It's a slight change, but the assurance of the second sentence is far more inspiring. Even if the person doesn't win, they're more likely to call.
Additionally, the biggest way to kill the power of positive language is by using the word "try." Don't tell your listeners you will "try" to get their favorite guest on your show or that you'll "try" to get a specific song on. When someone uses the word "try" in real life, it usually means they're not going to do the thing they're promising to do. It kills the vibes. Just say, "Yes, I WILL do that! I will get that song on! I will get that guest in!" Even "no, I WON'T do that," is fine given the appropriate context. Just avoid the word "try." It's too wishy-washy and gives off the stench of indecisiveness.
4. The Time
Yes – we know it may seem weird to state the time on your radio station given everyone can just check their watches, clocks, and phones these days. But for the busy person in their kitchen cooking breakfast and getting ready for work while tuning into your show, stating the time every now and then can save them the energy of having to check it themselves. It's a very small thing, but it will make your audience a lot more gracious to be listening.
Becoming a speaking clock can also lead into other ways of connecting with your listeners. You can remind them to make a cup of coffee, ask if they've gotten out of bed yet, or say that at this time of night, you'd normally be curled up on the couch watching a cool new show on Netflix. Just like with name dropping, stating the time – when done well – can be a little way to express your personality more.
We previously mentioned this in our "How to Get a Great Radio Voice" article. When talking to your listeners, you should always refer to them as "you" instead of "you all." Basically, you should always say things to them in the first person. Instead of addressing all of your listeners as a collective group ("Hope you all are doing fine! You are such a great audience!"), just say things like, "I hope your day is going well. Thank you for listening!"
Doing this will make it feel like you're talking directly to every single listener. It's not always possible to do all the time, but using first person as much as possible will really make your fans feel special.
6. Weather Discussions
You know the old saying: when there's nothing else to talk about, talk about the weather. We know it's super cliché, but seriously: some days there will really be nothing much to talk about, and the weather is all you've got. It's the reigning small talk topic. The great thing about the weather is that it either changes frequently, stays the same, or gets wild every now and then. All are equally intriguing points of discussion!
Don't just mention the temperature and cloudiness to your audience – really dive in deep about how you're feeling about the weather. You can even tell stories related to the weather to your audience on air! For example, if it's a nice sunny morning out after days of cold weather, mention the group of bikers you saw on the side of the road enjoying the day, or how nice it felt to feel the warm air on your skin while driving to work. Don't just mention the weather...discuss the weather. Debate about the weather. Heck, you can even be nostalgic about old weather if you're hating the current weather. The weather will save your butt when you've run out of things to say to your audience.
That's it for our tips today. If you're looking for more DJing/broadcasting tips related to talking to your audience, check out more here. Until next time, happy broadcasting!
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