Content Kryptonite #1 Tune Out: Listener Attention Spans

Content Kryptonite #1 Tune Out: Listener Attention Spans

by Tracy Johnson

In Chapter 1 of Content SuperHero, we share six important findings that cause listener tune out. We call it Content Kryptonite.

The #1 reason for tune-out is when tune-in never really happens. When they’re not paying attention, they get itchy fingers, and those fingers quickly find the scan button. That’s physically tuning out your station.

But there’s another, equally damaging type of tune out. It happens when the audience just isn’t hooked. They may not physically tune out, but are disconnected from the content. They may have the radio on, but they’re not hearing it.

When attention is not gained, they’re tuned out. And that’s kryptonite for personalities.

That’s why you need a quick start: A compelling, interesting hook that commands attention immediately.

That requires you to identify the most exciting, provocative and relatable essence of the break and get it on up front. How up-front? How about in the first 7 seconds.

Listeners tune out needless chit-chat at the beginning of breaks. Like those habits or crutches that get in the way of keeping the audience engaged. Things like:

  • Hey, welcome to this Thursday morning.
  • Good morning caller. Who is this? Where are you calling from? How are you today?
  • Endless and uninspired repetition of the station name, call letters and positioning statement.

Death.

All this chatter gets in the way of a quick start, yet many breaks are launched with weak content first, easing into the most compelling moments. This is a flaw in the preparation process.

Without a strong hook, what happens? Here’s an example:

Hook comes late

 

Notice that the essence of this break, the most compelling comment, starts at the 1:50 mark (you can see the increase in the lines. Almost 2 minutes in! Nothing before that was interesting. The problem is that by the time the hook was delivered, more than 1/3 of the audience had tuned out (pushed the red tune-out button on their dial).

This break never had a chance!

Listeners are vocal about what causes tune out, if we pay attention, but they use different words.

They usually just refer to it as too much talk. What they mean is too much meaningless chatter that doesn’t get to the point. Get to the point and engage them, and it’s not too much talk!