(By Randy Lane) Routines are useful, but the downside is they can create rote behavior. In real life, breaking news, a loud noise, or the ping of an incoming text disrupts our patterns and forces us to pay attention. Suddenly we are alert, focused, and energized.
Intentional pattern disruptions in radio and podcasts work the same way. They are purposeful techniques to keep the listener alert and focused.
When I’m listening to a radio show or podcast that does not utilize intentional pattern disruptors, I unconsciously start checking scores on ESPN. I get bored with the long monologues or uninterrupted dialogues. Non-P1 listeners will switch stations and many podcast listeners will hit fast forward.
Disruptors in broadcasts are preplanned, noticeable changes in patterns. They greatly increase the odds of maintaining the audience’s attention and will boost time-spent-listening.
10 pattern disruption strategies:
- Air a caller or introduce a guest.
- Pause for dramatic effect before and/or after a prominent point.
- Use vocal variation to punctuate narratives and viewpoints.
- Start stories with a headline tease. If you’re skilled at doing voices, Illustrate stories with a character voice or impersonation.
- Deliver a lightning rod or dramatic statement.
- Include audio clips when referencing a movie, TV show, or celebrity.
- Use a generous amount of audio in newscasts and features to help tell stories and break the pattern.
- Change music beds when switching topics.
- Sprinkle in pop culture drops and sound effects to add humor, entertainment value, and dynamics.
- Hit a punchline.
- Change camera angles and scenes every few seconds.
- Disrupt the pattern with B-rolls, voiceovers, music beds, and interactions
For another perspective on pattern disruptors, take a look at Cary Paul’s article
“The Power of Pattern Disruptions as a Vehicle for Change.”