Beyond Benchmarks


(By Randy Lane) Is your show relying too much on tried-and-true benchmarks? I’ve seen many shows get stale by simply filling in the blanks with too many features. It’s time to move beyond your comfort zone and create fresh, new content.

It’s true that a few well-executed benchmarks provide value to your show through appointment tune-ins which drives time-spent-listening, and they deliver to P-1 expectations. However, too many features running at the same time daily and weekly are a recipe for predictability and boredom.

Original content gives your show the elements of drama and surprise. Top-rated shows have a balance of consistency and unpredictability.

Consider these prompts to get you rolling on creating original content:

  1. What’s on deck? Top shows generate so much material that they have an overflow of content waiting to go on-air.
  2. Mind map your audience. What’s going on that is topical, relevant, and local to listeners? What are listeners thinking, feeling, and talking about? What relationship drama is going on with well-known people in the entertainment, sports, and business world?
  3. What is going on in the lives of the cast? What personal stories will relate to listeners? Is there a personal story that can become a storyline that plays out over multiple shows? What relationship conflict (couples, parenting, co-workers, friends, neighbors) is going on?
  • Can someone on the show be vulnerable about something going on in their life, a regret or shortcoming?
  •  Create a clash of context by putting a character in a situation where he/she doesn’t belong and then exaggerate it for comedic effect. For example, a character with a fear of heights goes zip-lining.
  • Run all content ideas through the character filters. What are the positions and perspectives taken by each player based on their character?

4. Look for opportunities to:

  • Set up and resolve conflict
  • Address or create dilemmas
  • Resolve something with an interactive topic
  • Go on a quest or mission
  • Write a skit or sketch comedy bit
  • Create a Top 5 list on a topical story
  • Debut a new interactive game
  • Include audio in most content segments
  • Book a guest who is relevant to the audience or the show
  • Book an expert to shed light on an issue (look for personality experts)
  • Create a viral video.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here