|(By Gary Berkowitz) Some programmers think that we’ve lost traffic and weather to our phones. I disagree. It still has a place on radio, especially if you believe that local counts.
Doing traffic and weather may seem simple, but it’s easy for both of these services to become “wallpaper” or just be done the wrong way. Since most radio stations do both of these daily, check out these tips and instantly see how great they sound on your station. Your listeners will appreciate it too!
GIVE ME THE TRAFFIC REPORT, PLEASE. Nothing annoys listeners more than hearing the traffic intro and then the jock goes off on a tangent, talking about everything but the traffic. When the intro hits, get directly to the report. Save the “schmooze” for other places.
WHAT DID THEY SAY? Have your traffic reporters developed their own language? Make sure they speak with easy-to-understand words. At the news station here in Detroit, they always refer to 75 as “The Chrysler.” Problem is, nobody calls it that. People call it 75. Traffic reporters are the only ones who use that name.
SLOW DOWN. Many traffic reporters speak so fast to include everything that you end up hearing nothing.
THEN WHY DID THEY DO THE REPORT? Avoid “Nothing is going on.” If that is the case, why are we doing a report? Avoid this “traffic reporter crutch”: “Things are winding down.” What does that mean?
BETTER TSL. Avoid using traffic reports as a tease unless you are going to cite a specific problem. “There’s a problem on 95 South by Salty’s billboard at exit 56. We’ll tell you why next on 92 PRO-FM.”
RATINGS HINT: Get credit by attaching your call letters to traffic reports. Avoid “We’ll check traffic next.” Better: “We’ll check Lite 101.9 traffic next”
ONE-PUNCH JINGLES SOUND BETTER. Two-punch weather jingles never sound as good as one-punch versions. Have a longer emergency bed only for use on bad weather days when necessary.
ELIMINATE “PARTLY TO MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH HIGHS IN THE MID TO UPPER 60s.” Use fewer words. Eliminate the use of words such as Highs, lows. Do the weather format the same, all the time. This is a great one from Don Kelley when he was PD at Magic 106.7 in Boston. Example:
Sunny Today, 78
Clear Tonight, 66
C’MON, I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO DRESS. Like with traffic, once the jingle hits, get to the weather. This is not schmooze time. Now that we’re into Fall, how about “What to Wear Weather.” or “School Day Weather.”
RATINGS HINT WITH WEATHER: When doing weather back to music, make sure your format includes a strong station benefit. Example:”Sunny and 89 with another 30 minutes of ‘Today’s best music’ starting now”
TV PEOPLE ARE GOOD FOR YOU. Have a relationship with a TV station and its meteorologist in AM Drive. Use their name on weather reports throughout the day. Make sure they do not get too technical and involved. Keep it fun, simple, and concise (TV weather people are notorious for going too long).
Once you get these on your station, let me know how it’s working for you.
Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit-based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. Contact Gary at (248) 737-3727 or [email protected] – www.garyberk.com