by Tracy Johnson
A big mistake most personalities make is in shallow preparation. They launch content with a strong topic but no plan of execution, hoping to magically find an exit. It usually doesn’t happen.
You hear this when content just drifts and wanders, looking for an out.
That’s why payoffs are so critical. And payoffs must happen regularly to keep them interested. A strong exit alone isn’t enough. Breadcrumbs must be dropped. These are mini-payoffs that keep breaks interesting.
Here’s the danger: Listeners lose attention quickly and it’s hard to get it back. They re-evaluate every 30-45 seconds and make decisions on whether it’s worthwhile.
Consider the graph of this break.
The topic was terrific, but there’s limited interest. It never gets going. And worse, ½ of the audience has tuned out. They’re not coming back. There’s no hook, but worse, there’s no breadcrumbs that pay off for the attention invested.
The entire break is lower than the AVERAGE SCORE of ALL SONGS in the music test. This is an example of a show that talks too much from the time the microphone turns on. They would they be better served playing another song. In fact, any song in the station library.
Compare that to this break. this is Jagger & Kristi on Magic 92.5 in San Diego playing the game, Thousand Dollar Minute:
It’s a great example of a break that builds momentum through constant payoffs throughout.
When you drop breadcrumbs, with regular, consistent payoffs every 30-40 seconds, interest remains high and tune in stays strong!