Effective Teasing


(By Jay Stevens) In response to Monday’s Jeff McHugh column (Why You Should Not Tease), there is an art to teasing and promoting upcoming content on your radio station. “I’ve got some Janet Jackson coming up next” doesn’t get it done, and I hear that kind of thing often. Actually, I am not even sure what “some Janet Jackson” means.

Why do we tease and promote upcoming content? It’s simple, a tease done well drives TSL. A good tease being able to collect few extra minutes of listening is impactful.

Back in the day, there was Kasey Kasem hosting American Top 40. His teases for long distance dedications and backstories on artists are legendary. Kasey teased content long before PPM and really was ahead of his time. As a kid listening in Rochester, NY, I was glued to his countdown through every stopset. He hooked me because his teases were so engaging, there was truly FOMO. You can check out Classic American Top 40 on the iHeart Radio app; listen for yourself to the master of teases.

When coaching talent, I would use Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio as a strong example. Their teases into breaks such as “you’re not going to believe what Jerry Jones said in the locker room after yesterday’s Cowboys game” were sticky and engaging. I many times found myself as a listener, sitting in my car in the parking garage, waiting for the payoff.

Teasing is used successfully on TV as well. If you still watch TV news, check out the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt tonight, and you will find they do a great job of hooking you with compelling teases for the latest on the Coronavirus.

Award shows, sports broadcasts, even the Internet is in the teasing game. How many times has it piqued your curiosity so you click on the article about losing belly fat or the most attractive female billionaires? I know you do…..

Compelling teasing is critical to driving listening and traffic. We’re all busy and have short attention spans, so the need is greater than ever to cut through and grab your consumer’s attention.

Don’t take it for granted, spend time with your talent and coach them on successful teasing and promotion. The payoff can be big.

Jay Stevens is the President of Tenshare Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or the old-fashioned way at 301.785.3398.


  1. From the examples you give, it’s easier to do good teases with talk content than with a music format. If all a station does is play someone else’s licensed music, and doesn’t add anything more in the programming, there’s not much else to tease, other than say “we’ve for more Janet Jackson.” Maybe you have some examples for music formats.

  2. So right on!! It doesn’t have to be about music either. Want proof? Check your local TV station websites. At the bottom you’ll see the “click bait” headlines – perfect teases for worthless stories that make you want to know what’s up there..

    “Tiger Woods Ex-wife is Almost 50 And Doesn’t Look So Good Anymore”

    “Johnny Carson Daughter Finally Confirm The Rumors”

    “New bill could make it legal for unmarried people to have sex in Virginia”

    Just make sure you have a method of paying off the tease. Teasing the song that started out “My cigarette got wet” means nothing if the listener doesn’t hear the payoff…that’s you working that answer into a well-crafted intro to “Sunglasses At Night” (Corey Hart.)

    The challenge is to make these teases interesting enough to get the listener to stick around-or come back (after the 7 minute stopset).

    Casey was the best-and he had a staff of writers to help. You probably don’t, but if your station is like most these days you’re not introducing every song. You’ve got time to plan and then-execute.


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