Monday, 16 January 2012

Program Preparation

Everyone's prep time is different and how you spend it depends on the kind of material that's appropriate for your station and your listeners. But there's a pretty bare-bones minimum daily requirement of at least an hour's prep for a morning show. Among the things you should be doing in that time...
Read the local paper (yesterday's, if it's an afternoon paper). Check the local TV station web sites (and other web sites carrying local information).

Inform yourself about what's going on in the town. Look for "little" items that interest you. If you find yourself responding emotionally to an article, it's potentially something you'll want to Share with a listener.
Scan your news sources for major national stories. Also, look over the features and show business news. Be on the lookout for silliness, absurdity, irony, and what I call "throat-lumpers" (things that make you want to say "Awwwww"). Watch for anything that relates to current artists you're playing.

Look out the window. Better yet, go outside for a few minutes; look at the sky, smell the air; "experience" the day. Familiarize yourself with both the official forecast, and the "look and feel" of the day.

Look over new copy for promotions -- so you'll understand how a game works before the first time you have to do it. Read any new ad copy, if possible, and rehearse it out loud.

Glance through publicity releases or any other material you may have on current artists. Some stations keep a "book" on all artists who will be appearing locally over the coming weeks.

Set up any raps you want to do with your news person. You don't have to script them, but the other person should at least have a broad idea of what to expect, and where the bit will end.

There is no substitute for prepping your show. There is no way you can be your best without doing the work. You expect it of your jocks; how can you expect less of yourself? - Jay Trachman

Compose your raps. Be they Life Content -- which you should be gathering 16 hours every day -- or Local Content -- the best kind is that which you experience personally, rather than what you read about -- they should be pre-thought-out. My personal preference is to script my raps, word for word.

Some prefer to make notes. Depending on format, you should have about two prepared raps for each hour of your show. And you should have on paper, if not the entire rap, at least a topic sentence (what it's about) and your closing line, or "kicker."

Should everything you do on the air be prepared in advance? Of course not! But by entering the studio with a sheaf of papers in hand that will provide you with more material, of various kinds, than you can possibly use that day, you free yourself to be creative as the impulse arises. It's very hard to create when you "have to."

When you don't have to, you can relax and enjoy whatever creative sparks fly.

JA adds: you may win by not doing all of these things routinely... until someone across the street from you does so.


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