Building A Great Morning Show


(By Loyd Ford) A great morning show is difficult to find and harder to build.

It’s very difficult if the chemistry is not right, but once you pass that level of work, you must work to fully develop your show.

If you make your living from creating a morning show, your number one goal should be to create a great morning show that can be recognized by others as really great.

That’s the whole: Looks like a duck, walks like a duck. This must be a duck thing.

To build a truly great morning show, you should:

  • Know who you are. Morning show talent who don’t know who they are get lost. If you get lost, you won’t be winning anything. You’ll just be trying things. People identify with people who know themselves. Make certain you know who you are and portray that on the air daily.
  • Provide lift. When you pull apart the DNA of any great morning show, you will find that these shows provide lift, bounce, joy, fun. You can create this in your planning regularly and you should.
  • Make it interesting and fun. Making something interesting requires variety and the unexpected. The task here is to have a proven way to generate interesting variety that can surprise without being uncomfortable. This is based in staying within the expectation of what listeners expect from your show. (See “Know who you are” above).
  • Keep a constant eye on ‘fame development.’ There is only so much room at the top of any market. Shows that don’t develop fame don’t stick around. This is the single largest task for a new morning show is to penetrate fame in a local market. Ask yourself, “What will this show be famous for?” You should have a way to generate fame opportunities from the content you are airing.
  • Develop new content opportunities and have a way to evaluate them weekly. You certainly don’t want your show to be stale. In today’s world you have to stand out. Part of standing out is consistently developing new content for your audience and clearly evaluating the value of each piece of content regularly.
  • Recognize that you are giving a performance. So many shows just seem like they are “on the air.” While I am a big believer in being yourself, you must understand that you are giving a performance. So, you have to hit your marks. You are not just “on the air.” You must give your audience interesting, uplifting performance that can be meaningful in their lives. That means putting in the work in your prep and show development.
  • Keep an eye on your sound hour. Just like the music on any great music station, your sound hour has to be balanced so you are communicating different emotions, different elevations, different sounds and content so that you are well balanced throughout the hour.
  • Have strategy so you know you are performing a show with balance. What kind of roadmap does your show have? How planned out is your morning show? The best shows have a strong roadmap and know what they are going to be doing on any given morning.
  • Know how to define and communicate roles. Each player on your show should have a role. It should be something that can be communicated quickly and each player should have opportunity to develop that character, the emotion of that character and to allow the audience to get to know them during the show.
  • Connect with audience. This goes back to not just being “on the air.” Connection with audience is one of the most important concepts for a morning show. Radio is about companionship and you must develop this in your morning show. That starts with connection and how you connect. Study people who are great connectors and make sure that every player in your morning show has opportunity to connect with audience.
  • Be authentic. Being someone else is the kiss of death in a morning show environment (or any show). Be yourself. Be real with people on the air. The audience can tell the difference. Being authentic and being able to communicate that can make you one of the most important elements you can bring to your radio show.
  • Engage audience beyond the signal. If you haven’t learned how to use video, take amazing photos, develop memes, take some time and go learn it from someone who does it well. You are not an on-air talent in 2021. Today you must be a multi-media talent. The better you are at this, the better armed you will be to grow your show (see “fame” above).

Surround yourself with people who want to work on the show, the performance, the prep, the nuts and bolts of putting together a great show. Work with any resources your company gives you to develop your show and seek outside advice, development help and education on how to build stronger communication and stronger connections.

Building a great morning show isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen automatically. However, if you work hard, have an open mind and focus on balance, great performances and communicating authenticity, you can absolutely build something big in your market.

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. If you’re on the Clubhouse app, you can join Loyd’s radio pro encouragement group “The Encouragers.” Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].


  1. Connect. Authentic. Entertaining. SAME WORDS, DIFFERENT ARTICLE.
    You know why Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan don’t go around talking about the same tired “personality” tactics? Because, they are actually personalities. Radio continues to try and turn “Music announcers” into show business tycoons. Rogan would never take a radio job again, because dealing with boring PD’s and the same old consultants, preaching the same thing has gotten radio where it is today…. The last thing a “DJ” needs to hear is “share stories with your audience”…. that just tells them to talk about what they did over the weekend, and no one really cares.


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