Morning Show Tips from Scott Valentine of Star 99.1 NYC
Why do I visualize someone grabbing the back of my undies like the pull cord on a lawn-mower?
Our friend Bill Scott, CCM prankster extraordinaire, asked me if I’d do a thing on morning show radio tips. My first response was, “What on earth do I know about morning radio?” And I think I’ve proven that over the years, haha.
First, about your show, are you having fun?! If you’re not, everyone will know because it’s hard to hide. If you’re not having a great time, find another party, fast!
I owe all my success to The Lord and Samantha, of Scott & Sam, with whom I’ve worked for many years. It’s good to assume your on-air partner is more talented than you are; we have never fought over mic-time. Instead we both go out of our way to make each other look great; when she was editing, every day she’d give me an additional 10 IQ points. Now that I’m editing, I give myself another 10. A great show is also easier to do if you understand each other’s roles with respect to the listeners. “Oh yeah … What’s in it for them?”
Sometimes we’re laughing so hard that we’re blowing snot … But if it crosses a boundary for the listeners, ya gotta throw it out & don’t let it hit the air. That’s always been one of my little filters, “when in doubt, throw it out.” For instance, in my experience sarcasm comes at the expense of sincerity & is a CCM ratings/fund-raising killer. It could have killed my marriage … So I showed sarcasm the door and told my wife again how much I love her (& Bill Scott).
WHAT ABOUT DIMENSION, PUCKY?! We’re always thinking about that last bit into the next one. One of radio’s oldest rules that I just made up is, “be predictably unpredictable.” Change it up. Be honest about what types of material you offer the listeners and mix it up vertically and horizontally.
Say What?!?! There are the words and there’s what’s between the words that listeners really hear. “Heart touches,” last longer than anything else and you touch the heart with what’s between the words you use: Everyday when I get home from work my family greets me at the top of the stairs with kisses and hugs, one after the other, and finally our wiener-dog, Jett, like a fuzzy period at the end of a sentence. What’s the sub-text? Ok, your eyes were glazing, let me see if I can up my meager game.
Earlier I mentioned roles. What is your role? I’m a dad of 4 older kids in a successful marriage (whatever that is). I’m trying to be the families “spiritual leader” which somehow means I’m supposed to drive everywhere and carry everything; To be as fine a Sherpa as I can be. Sam has a toddler and a stepson who wants to grow up to be a garbage man, because they only work one day a week. On air Sam and I are honest about life’s struggles, and it resonates with listeners because, well, they tell us, (and more than a decade of research). The only sugar coating we have is using humor to share the pain, or to help lighten the listener’s burdens. We each approach the bit with who we really are and our honest responses within our role.
Clubby Christians. There are so many people trying to do Christianity well, super equipped with all the “pat answers,” like me for most of my saved life … I finally gave up. Modern Pharisees! Don’t be like that. Be willing to be honest and let an awkward ending hang there. Sometimes in life there’s nothing you can (or should) say … That’s ok, convey that you have no words, or just be quiet, because it’s honest. Dropping all the “Clubby Christian” crutch word verbiage and talking like the rest of the species will help your show to grow. I’ve had Christian brothers tell me they’re going to “gird me up in prayer.” Why do I visualize someone grabbing the back of my undies like the pull cord on a lawn-mower? “He yanked & girded me up the hedge of protection.” Aaaagh! On the Christian “bell curve,” Crusaders (the first five rows of any church on Sunday) only make up about 9% of the U.S. Christian population. Talk like them and you can alienate the other 90% of your potential audience. However, if you speak like an unchurched Christian (like I used to be, even having read the Bible through many times), no one will be alienated. Listeners will actually understand you and will love your unpretentiousness, and your ratings will probably climb.
HERES THE HEADLINE, You only have 8 seconds! Now to build a bit that will keep PPM’s on you until your ending … thanks to insight Jon Coleman of Coleman research, with what we shared over lunch. Jon’s probably studied PPM more than any other researcher … Uh oh … Know when your bit is over, usually by that little twist at the end …
“Scott and Sam”
Home base: Star 991, New York, mornings
ScottAudio Syndication, Major Markets and beyond with stellar ratings in every daypart.
13 years of great (mostly, haha) ratings on KCMS-FM (mornings and PD)
Happier now than ever!