So much about what makes a morning show great, or not, is so subjective. This is my take and I hope there is something of benefit for you!
Scott & Sam arrived in Seattle at KCMS. Within a year the Scott & Sam show was Top-5, in a most unchristian market, in women 25-54, and it stayed Top 5 for a decade! Our current playground is in LA at Salem’s 95.9 the Fish. We were excited to be with people who are Pros, do the research, and have a winning attitude. I hope there is something below that will help you find a that special kind of broadcast joy!
- If you don’t care, no one else will. After many years of being a PD who does mornings … burning a candle at both ends with a blow-torch to the middle … I’ve found it’s really hard to do both excellently at the same time. however, after almost 20 years of CCM, all in mornings, I am devoting more time to the morning show craft than ever before because it gives me the most joy. Of course the advantage of being PD as well, is you have more control over the AMD dance-floor, if you know what I mean. I really like that …. I’m kind of a control freak & love research. So on this “if you don’t care” point … you have to ask yourself what really feeds you … makes you feel alive. If it’s having fun with that morning show canvas, you’re in the right place!
- Hang out with really smart people. Sometimes it means reading books. But really, it means finding a mentor. Someone who will respond to helping you grow after you put down your pretensions and get vulnerable with them. This would be a great place for me to name-drop … but I’m not going to do that because you really should find someone you can ask hard questions of who will give you constructive criticism without ripping your heart out. You’ll do this if you care about your craft because it will become a priority for you.
- Find someone to mentor. Or, maybe it’s about letting someone find you and mentor them. There is a really cool consultant, pun intended, that I’m working with who has written, “if you’re teaching, you’re learning twice.” I have sure found that to be true. There is a joy in taking time (that you don’t have) to share what you’re learned to benefit someone else. I’ve also been in the great position of working with a best friend in mornings … she has mentored people, like I have, because people matter, and if you give them a hand up it seems like the Lord will give you a hand up. If you want to grow, the surest way is helping someone else grow!
- If you work with a partner … This one’s a hard one because there’s almost always sacrifice in growth. In order to cut through the chaff of male morning shows with female laugh tracks … haha, I still hear that old tired concept today in some of the most surprising places. God, it’s horrible. Anyway, in order to cut through and go to the top of the market, I’ve made a couple of calculated sacrifices: Working with a very smart female partner and letting her have her voice … it meant that I would sacrifice my precious “mic time” in order to have a better show. A show with more dimension and possibilities than I could have ever imagined. My on-air partner is as interested in the craft as I am. One of the best consultant lines I’ve heard lately, “being consistent is good … being predictable is bad.” Said in another way, “keep them expecting the unexpected.” So the point here is being willing to sacrifice of yourself for a better show; don’t be the one holding the show back … Lord knows I’ve done that far too long. I’m dedicated to trying not to ever let that be the case again.
- DEDICATE YOURSELF TO MAKING YOUR PARTNER LOOK GREAT … and they should reciprocate. If they don’t, get another co-host. Do understand that it takes a little time, like maybe years. And it’s painful when emotions flair up and usually through misunderstanding you find yourself working with a jerk from another planet. It’s going to happen. But if you establish, as often as you can, that you only have good intentions for their well-being and performance, you will win. The total wrong attitude is, “that &$#@&$ is holding me back.” Both of you will need to work on the show … which doesn’t mean winging it.
- We prepare the show a day in advance … we come in and the day’s show is all ready. Uh-oh … something big or spontaneous happens. Be willing to move bits forward to another day or to throw them away. That’s ok … being over prepared will make you shine more often than not.
- We also are always in the hunt for things that appeal to us … we ask why we think the story is good. And we look at building our own characters in the show by telling the story from our unique perspective. In fact, we’re usually working on the show a couple of days in advance. Always be looking to generate material and always work on building your show.
- EVERYTHING IS SHOW PREP. My wife, I remember the sunny wedding day well, “I now pronounce you man and show prep.” Then we had four little show preps and raised them. We attended Calvary show prep. I have to let one of my show preps outside all the time; that show prep barks in the middle of the night, ugh. My neighbors are show prep. Officer show prep recently gave me a ticket for tinted windows. Does the show prep I’m married to like it very much when I talk about her … no she doesn’t but Mrs. show prep has never gone without.
- Sarcasm kills. Mostly guys think they’re clever being a sarcastic wit. Great … you’re probably in the wrong format. Usually everything comes at a cost … so being sarcastic means that you’ve found success elusive. I remember complimenting my wife early in our marriage, and because I was a generally sarcastic jerk, she asked me, “do you really mean that?!” It cut me to my core because I was deeply in love and I was being sincere. In that moment I understood for my marriage (and show prep) to be successful I would need to cut out he sarcasm so my sincerity would be apparent without having a credibility issue. If you’re sarcastic you’ll come up with a lot of reasons not to change. But if you value sincerity as important in the CCM format’s DNA, then you might adjust and really discover a new level of success. Sarcasm will undermine you at every turn … unless you’re in a rock format. Haha, or in extreme denial.
- Don’t rely on joke services … Yes, they can be a great idea generator for your show; you should get one to help you think outside of your normal thought patterns. Your goal should be YOU! YOU ARE THE CRAFT! If you care you will invest in YOU … no one else will ever care as much … as you.
ADD SOME SIZZLE TO YOUR TWIZZLE
I have no idea hat that means.
~Scott of Scott & Sam