The morning show is both a coveted (lots of listeners!) and dreaded (I have to get up at what time?) time slot in broadcasting. You have to be relevant, you have to be quick, and you have to be informative but not boring. You also have to avoid too much repetition but also repeat yourself for people who are tuning in on their morning commutes so that they have a chance to hear the news and also be able to follow along with whatever the discussion of the day is. If they can’t figure out what’s going on or aren’t interested, they’re going to change the station. Too much of that and you’re out of a job!
Every morning show needs at least one really good on air personality. Usually, it is a team, like we have here at Wake Up Ontario. Sunny and I get along great and we can really bounce topics off each other and get a really interactive discussion going with our listeners. This is crucial. People have boring commutes. They want to hear lively opinions on current topics to talk about with coworkers during lulls in the work day or on their lunch breaks. They want to be informed and entertained, and the show’s hosts are the ones who are going to keep listeners on the station. If you’re boring or don’t mesh with the rest of the crew, your days will be numbered.
A good morning show also needs a great production crew. There’s so much going on in the morning—all the news from overnight, traffic, weather, all the things that people miss when they’re asleep or are looking to find out when they wake up. You need to have great people who are able to sort it all out, culling the things that have the no interest to the target market, so that the only information going over the air is the information listeners can use and relate to. For example, if you’re a rock station, and you spend a half hour talking about the death of a country singer, chances are people are going to hit that scan button on their car’s radio tuner. It may be news, but it might not be relevant news. A good team will be able to determine what’s worth simply mentioning and what is worth discussing.
There also needs to be someone with finesse and good people skills manning the phones. Spirited callers can add spice and energy to morning shows, but you have to watch out for crackpots and people who just want to go on the air so they can say crazy, offensive nonsense. A good call screener needs to have the ability to sift through the lines quickly and accurately, allowing the interesting people on the air and preventing the radio station from becoming a mouthpiece for lunatics. The more lines you have and the more popular your show, the more critical this skill is to the success of a show.
When you have a great crew like Sunny and I do, you’re comfortable with your cohost, and you know your audience, you’ll find yourself with a very successful morning program!