Know Your Exit Strategy

Posted on December 7, 2011

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I am in Baltimore at the 2011 Arbitron Client Conference and Jacobs Media Seminar which is full of great speakers and interesting presentations I’m confident will spark a number of great blog posts… next week. In the meantime, you can keep up with the biggest developments at the seminar by following @arbprogramming on Twitter.

While I travel I have engaged a few good friends, who are great broadcasters, to share their thoughts in a series of guest posts like today’s post from Spike Eskin.

Spike most recently hosted afternoons at WYSP in his home town of Philadelphia after working at Q101 in Chicago as PD, APD and MD. While he will soon be announcing a new endeavor he is currently writing lots of great content for his Web site SpikeEskin.com.

We’ve all been there; you’re in the middle of a break. You’ve started, you’ve gotten to the apex, and you’ve got absolutely no way to get out of it. A mild panic sets in, and if you get lucky, it’s a pregnant pause and then the call letters. Mic off, headphones slam down, expletives are spoken. Wait, the mic is off, right? Yep, it’s off. Ok, one more expletive.

I’ve always been amazed by the fact that in radio, there’s often some kind of pride in doing things “off the cuff,” and without preparation. For so many other people in entertainment, whether it be actors, athletes or musicians, practice and planning is a badge of honor. Tom Morello’s hours-upon-hours of practice. Kobe Bryant getting to the gym early to shoot jumpers. Your show should be no different.

In today’s world of radio, where every second is valuable and every word you say should accomplish something, it’s more important than ever to prepare. And that preparation needs to be more than “I’ll just talk about the VMA’s during this break.”

Every break you do should have a pre-determined beginning, middle and end. Make sure you know how you’re getting into the topic, what you’re climax is, and then how you’re getting out of it. If that means writing each of these out and rehearsing before you do them, that’s what you should do. If you practice them enough, by the time you do the break, it’ll sound natural and you’ll execute it well and without confidence. I mean it, rehearsing. If it’s good enough for Academy Award winners, it’s good enough for you.

The pride you should take is in your quality of work, and not whether or not you can do it without preparing.

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