Coming from student radio, I have heard too many people respond to the question of prep’ing their shows with, “Nah, I like to be spontaneous.” Fab.
Seriously, their thought seems to be, “I’ll just turn up and wing it for 2 -3 hours, and it will be great! I will love it. The listener will really love it!” Except, I’ll let you in to a secret: you won’t, and they won’t either. If you think being spontaneous is about just saying what comes in to your head, then your listeners will do the first things that comes in to their head and turn you off.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
This was the mantra taught when I did my teacher training. It’s a truism you can take with you everywhere in life. You need to plan. You need to prepare.
A well run station will have a play-out log scheduled well in advance of your show. Not even the play-out computer is just playing the first things it thinks off! If you want to make great radio, you need to put the time in to planning and preparation.
Now what does this really mean? Plan an hour for every hour your on air? Get a file of material? Well, there are as many ways that people plan as there are people; we’re all different. In one of his blogs, radio giant (quite literally – have you seen the size of the man!) John Myers says:
“There is no myth about all this. What ‘prep’ is about is simply working through what is required to ensure your show can be the best it can be. What do you need to do, what do you need to prepare ahead of time or put in place so you can deliver the features, content and information to make it a winner.”
Real spontaneity comes out of your preparation. And good preparation is like money in the bank. You can go off on a tangent and if it works, go out with a bang by hitting it with a prep’ed ‘get out’, ending or audio item. However, if it doesn’t work or flops, you can still go out with a bang by hitting it with a prep’ed ‘get out’, ending or audio item!
Boom! Either way, good prep helps you make it a winner.
In my next blog, I’ll give you some tools and recommendations to get your prep started.