It's that time of year when radio shows hit the road to broadcast in sunnier climates on behalf of a resort or theme park. Almost everyone considers how to convey the enjoyment of warm weather to an audience that is still enduring bitter cold back home. Here are some other points to consider as your show packs the sunscreen and headphones.
1. Do the regular show, but better. Keep all the regular features and benchmarks. Play just as much music, not more, not less. Do your usual interactive contests, but play them on-location with people standing there in front of you instead of on the phone. Listeners love your show so don't stop doing the show they love, because they are still in their car waiting in traffic back at home hoping that you will entertain them. So don't change the show just because you are on the beach.
2. Plan more. If you spend four hours a day on planning a show in the studio, plan to spend six for an on-location show. You're going to have opportunities to send your producer down a water slide, broadcast from a stand-up paddleboard, and interview friendly dolphins. But pulling off that sort of content successfully means overcoming more obstacles than a typical show.
3. It's a show, not an infomercial. Don't get bogged down in relaying information about the resort. Do that in recorded "sponsorships" that can fulfill required mentions in the minimum verbiage and in the minimum amount of time. You do want to tell stories about all the fun things you are doing at the resort, but don?t waste airtime in describing the all-inclusive buffets and the resort amenities.
4. Record and edit all interviews. You'll probably be required to talk to someone from the resort on the air. That's OK. Make sure you understand what your contractual obligations are to the resort in terms of exactly what you are committed to do with resort representatives, and fulfill obligations to the letter. But tell them in advance that your company requires you to record all interviews off the air. Have your engineer hook up a laptop with a basic audio editing program into the sound mixer at your remote. Try to schedule interviews before or after regular showtime. If guests come by during the show, just record quick conversations during songs or commercial breaks. Then, edit them down until they are really entertaining. Don't air anything live. It will suck. Trust us.
5. Get an audience. Set up where there will be people around. Make sure that you're not doing your show from a conference room when you could be out by the pool with fun people around. If the show is early in the morning, entice people out with free breakfasts or prizes, then have fun with them on the air. Hearing the people laugh at your jokes will be fun for you and it adds a new dimension to your show for listeners.
6. Multiple mikes are a must. This should go without saying, but it often does not. If you have four people on the show back home and they have four mikes, they should have four mikes on location. Make sure the engineers aren't thinking that two people sharing a mike is OK. It is not.
7. Bring audio to the show. Listeners want to experience your fun trip with you. So bring all manner of recording devices with you, record on your iPhone and your video camera. Capture your co-host in a drunken slur and use that on the air. Let listeners hear the sound of the ocean surf on the beach. Record the exotic accents of local people that you encounter. Use that audio on the air. You can even edit audio on apps like Recordium and use Soundcloud, Dropbox, or UStream to get audio back to the station.
8. Practice storystalking. Everything you do around this trip is content for the show. So pay attention to what happens as you are packing, as you drive to the airport, go through security, flying, getting lost on the way to the hotel, etc. Write things down as they happen and bring those stories to the show. Go purposefully on experiences so you'll have something to talk about. What fun is it for the listeners if you sit by the pool reading trashy novels and eating your weight in free shrimp cocktails? Get off your bum and try something new, for your own sake and for the good of the show!
9. Be ok with technical problems. Know in advance that despite all best efforts, some on-location segments will most likely be a technical disaster. If you tend to get wigged out by dead air, just be ready for it. Something goes wrong on almost all of these remote broadcasts. Insist that it get fixed, of course, but in the meantime, stay calm. Your freak-out won't help fix it and may hurt the fun vibe of the show. And speaking of which, that leads us to the tenth commandment...
10. Have fun.
Jeff McHugh is a 30-year broadcaster with a background in marketing and talent coaching. Jeff works with radio and television personalities, public speakers and presenters to add storytelling, drama and character to their content. Visit his website at www.jeffmchugh.com
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