— Start some content segments with attention-getting audio to instantly engage listeners.
— When you reference a movie or TV show, play a clip of audio to illustrate your point and to give context to listeners who are not familiar with it.
2. Learn from serial podcasts: I can’t wait to get back to NPR’s S-Town podcast. I’m not only captivated by the story’s unfolding mysteries, I’m wowed by how well it’s produced. (S-Town, Chapter 3)
— S-Town holds your attention by breaking up the narrative with music beds that change and match the nature of the content. It uses foreground music beds not only as a transition to a new topic, but to swell suspense for what will happen next.
— S-Town uses the actual voices of characters from a true story to create dialogue with host Brian Reed. Sound effects are woven into the story to paint a picture in the listener’s mind.
3. Staging and branding features with audio: Produced intros with music, effects, and voiceover get the listener’s attention. Even a simple signature music bed can serve as a trigger that a familiar feature is imminent.
— A stager can also assist as a pattern disruption to re-engage attention when you shift gears to a new topic. A produced “close” that time-stamps regular daily and weekly features helps to generate more appointment tune-ins (e.g. “The Hollywood Buzz, weekday mornings at 6:20 and 7:20″).
— “Tease stagers” at the end of content segments going into commercials and music serve to regain the audience’s attention, hold listeners through commercials or a song they don’t like, and give them a reason to keep listening. Listen to this example from Chaz and AJ, WPLR New Haven.
Successful videos maintain viewer attention by changing the pattern with straight-to-camera shots, B-rolls, music beds, and voiceovers. Radio and podcasts accomplish this best by incorporating audio into content to help tell a story, give context, and add dynamics.
Building an audience for radio shows and podcasts comes down to engaging the audience within seconds and re-engaging their attention throughout every content segment.
Radio without captivating production elements is like television without pictures.