The Case For Format Rules

02 Jun

A friend of mine broadcasts baseball games on radio.

Occasionally he moves to television for a game of the week.

It is interesting to hear the difference in the broadcast on the two mediums.

The radio call is more relaxed, less structured.

On television he is tighter and has less freedom. But the structure actually seems to help the flow of the broadcast.

Granted he lets the camera tell more of the story on television. The radio play by play has more word detail.

A well structured format will help anyone sound great, whether it is in a morning show, baseball game or jock shift.

Bill Drake understood the power of format. He took Top 40 and tightened the rules and in doing so built big ratings.

Drake is often said to have taken personality out of radio. Yet, many of the talents on his stations became some of the biggest personalities of the era.

The Drake jocks knew how to make the format work for them. They could bend the rules enough to fit their personality into a break.

A jock could still sound great by ‘leaning on the format’ on those days he might feeling a little flat.

What rules do you have in place to help your talent sound great? It can be very tough especially for ‘imported’ voices without a format in place.

Here are things to think about to make sure your talent is supported and your station is consistent.

  • How do you introduce music? Are there rules for title and artist identity?
  • Is your song to song production consistent jock to jock?
  • What rules govern your station ID? Are all the jocks saying the station name the same way and how you want it?
  • How much talk is too much? What kind of talk is allowed and what is out of bounds?
  • Are there rules for weather, time checks, and language that is specific to your station?
  • How do new jocks learn the rules, is there a format guide?
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Posted by on June 2, 2008 in Radio programming


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