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#LectureNotes: Basic Rules Of The Show Prep

#LectureNotes: Basic Rules Of The Show Prep

October 19, 2017 Broadcasting Lecture Notes 4645

Show prep is essentially getting yourself ready for your show…it is the piecing together of information, organizing materials and how they go on air. Just Like a general would never go into battle without a plan, as a radio personality, you should never go on air without curating what and how your show is going to go on air. Having a great show is hard work and as a creative person, a radio person, show prep is 24/7 …what you read, experiences you have, what you watch,conversations you have…all serve as show prep and everything goes into your show.

Here,  we will look at how to gather information for your show, how to organize and structure it and of course how to deliver it which is your performance

What is Show Prep:  Show prep is the work that u put in to have a good show. It includes your research, your vox pop, your music, your guests, it is the plan of how the show will go. it is a 24 hours, 7 days a week preparation. Everything in your life, everything happening around you is show prep.

Why have Show Prep? (Importance of Show Prep): It is about having a plan and putting in work to have a good show.If you do not prepare for a good show you won’t have a good show. Our preparation is real but often invisible.

How important is show prep:

It is never an accident when a show is number one. It takes hard work! The best personalities compile a stack of materials from various sources. Radio, TV, newspapers, magazines

Everyone has their way of organizing show prep materials. Good talents utilize everything!


1:Go with the Moment:

Also known as the rule of “out the window”… Meaning if something spontaneous happens on air better than what u have prepared, go with it.

2:Always ask: why are we doing this?

Unless it’s an interview based show, use guests only as spice!

3:Be prepared, always have a note pad. Thank God for phones, record interesting things on ur phone. Write down ur ideas

4:Know your target audience, meet people,stay curious, understand the people u are broadcasting to and their way of life so your show can be relatable

5:Take a test drive: run your ideas by someone. Bounce your ideas off people!

Preproduce: Get your soundbites, ur music, anything u need to use for ur show should be close at hand.

6:Double Check: Before u go on air, always ask: Is it relevant? Does it matter? Do u care? Do ur listeners care? What will u do if the topic gets boring? Do u have a fall back plan?

7: Experiment: Try new things and take what works for you

8: Make friends outside the business: Spend time with normal people

9: Dig deep for talkable topics/Engaging questions: You don’t always have to go with what is on the front page even though you need to know them anyway

10: Look for sources: Look for credible sources. Verify your sources…if need be, protect your sources. Understand the difference BTW personal and private

Life is prep. Keep a notepad or phone with you at all times. Read a magazine or watch a show you’ve never tried before – it will give you new ideas. Over-preparing can be as bad as under-preparing; remember that radio is an art form, not a science.

Prep methods…how do you select your topic? How do you know what to talk about

  1. Know your audience, who they are, what concerns them, what they like talking about…this means you have a form of social life so you are talking about what people want to talk about, you should be familiar with their experiences so you are relatable
  2. Ask the who, how, what, where, why questions…like: who is in the story, what happened? how did it happen? where did it happen? why should anyone care?
  3. Ask yourself, do you care about this? Just because it’s on the headlines does not mean people want to hear you talk about it or that you should talk about it…interested is interesting… If you care about it chances are you could get your listeners to care as well
  4. What question can you draw from this that will be engaging for your listeners?

Structure: Now you know what to talk about, how do you piece it all together?  Broadcasters organise their show prep in different ways. There’s no right way, just the way that works for you and of course the format of your station and your show. Here are some things to consider when you structure your show:

  1. Do you need vox pops…where do they come in, are they ready?
  2. Be sure of your guest and where they come in…the questions to ask
  3. Know when you want to drop the engaging question

If you are playing music, what songs are you playing and when?

  1. If you are taking breaks, at what point do you go on a break…are you doing half an hour conversations or 15mins per talk time?
  2. Schedule your program elements on paper so you know what comes when

Delivery: This is the performance part of the job, as an on air personality, you are a creative person and whenever you turn on that mic, it is a time for a performance…this is usually the make or break point for some Oaps …they have done their research and put everything together but then they fall flat at delivery… Here are some things to consider when you go on air to deliver your show:

Use Humor:

You are on radio which means you may find yourself droning on and on…humor is always a good ice breaker…what if you’re not a funny person… You should at least have a good sense of humor and that can be acquired…Read books about humor, watch funny shows, watch comedians, be specific on details, that’s where comedy emergies…find ur humour…

Story Telling: This is such an essential part of your delivery…if you do not know how to tell stories, you may lose your audience…Remember the fairy tales of childhood? Sure you do! Why? Because they were simple, they were told in a conversational, one-on-one tone, and they were structured. The storyteller used the structure of beginning, middle, and end. The storyteller painted word pictures to stimulate your imagination. You must do the same with every  story.There are no boring stories, just boring story tellers

As a broadcast reporter you will need to take each story and figure out what is the most important fact. You should ask yourself before you begin any story, “Why do I care?” Find a way to care about the people in your story. If you don’t care, how the hell do you expect the audience to care?”

Listeners have little time for a slow build, it is important to acknowledge they can zone in and zone out depending on what they hear and the distraction around them. Andrew Stanton filmmaker says: “Storytelling is like joke telling, it is knowing your punchline, knowing everything you say from the first sentence to the last  is leading to a singular goal

Scientists call the result of a well told story, ” neural coupling” the brain of the storyteller and the listener show similar activity with the listener marginally behind. The tale connects the broadcaster and the listener in an unforgettable radio experience

Memorize specific details, paint pictures with ur words, take ur listeners on a journey with you!

If it’s true that the ear commands a story, the language used is vital. Nelson Mandela said: “Talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. Talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart.”








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