A Formula for Your Breaks

Posted on May 10, 2012


Don’t worry. This won’t be on the test.

The fact is a lot of us got into radio to avoid one thing… math.

But don’t panic when I bring up the idea of a formula for your breaks. I promise it will all be in english and won’t involve trains leaving different cities, traveling in different directions at different rates of speed.

I actually saw this in a post on the ProBlogger Web site talking about how to craft topical blog entries. The author suggests this formula: Topic + Theme + Style + Format

Now the author, Brad Smith of FixCourse.com does suggest what this will equal but he does explain each element and I think you’ll see that taking your content and running in through these four filters will help you refine what you discuss on the air.

Topic: Start by picking a topic. Now, in his post Smith points out that some topics are in more demand than others which is true. As a host you want to focus on the ones that are in the highest demand.

Theme: Then he suggests you decide how that topic fits into your show’s overall positioning. It’s here he adds the best advice of the whole piece writing, “It’s not enough to simply rehash popular topics. You need to take popular topics and connect them with a deeper meaning.”

Style: When he says style he means your on-air presentation. In the case of a radio host it’s all about presenting the information in a one-to-one style your audience can relate to.

Format: This isn’t about rock, top 40 or talk formatics. This is about break structure. Lead with a statement that grabs your audience’s attention. Hit them with some facts and your observations in an order that’s easy for attention-limited listeners to consume and consider.

Apply that four step formula to preparing your breaks and you’ll do a better job of communicating with your audience on the topics they want to discuss in the way they can digest the information best.

And now you’ve done math too. Congratulations.