You hear some broadcasters talk a lot about “live and local”. While I will never say there’s anything wrong with live radio, the reality is…most radio these days isn’t live.
There are some who will say voice-tracking can never sound live. Frankly, my experience is as long as it’s done correctly, the audience has no idea you’re not there.
Case in point: I was working at my teaching job at the college one night, when I got a Facebook message from a guy with whom I went to high school. Seems he was stuck in a traffic jam in town and was listening to my show on radio and wanted to know how big the backup was. I called our news desk and found out, fortunately for him, the backup was small. I relayed the message via Facebook Messenger and he replied, “Man, thanks. I see the end of it right now. I was just listening to you and figured you’d know.”
I couldn’t resist. I told him, “Well, thanks. But I gotta “truth” you…I’m sitting over at the college right now teaching my radio class. What you’re listening to was recorded about 3 this afternoon.” He replied, “You could have fooled me!”
So much for the thought that voice-tracking can never sound live.
Here’s a few other things I do that make my overnight shift sound local.
My first stop set break every night features a “Q & A” with one of our meteorologists who gives a general look at the weather for the region overnight and into the day ahead. It’s more regional than local because we have the biggest signal in the area and can be heard for about 80 miles around.
I do send ups to factories, plants and businesses that work third shift. How can you find out such things? Try Googling “third shift jobs in (town)”. Sites like snagajob and indeed will list plenty of businesses looking for third shift workers.
I do a one line weather forecast over a record intro once per hour…and twice per hour in the 4 am hour. Why? People are getting up earlier…those listeners at 4 am are early first shifters. Go to weather.gov and put your city’s zip code to get a forecast.
Yes, I talk about station activities. But, I also talk about festivals and other local events coming up for the weekend.
And oh yeah…go to your local newspaper website and get the schedule of high school football and basketball games…talk about games being played Friday night or Saturday.
If you’re really froggy, get your morning show to do your LAST break of the night with you. It’s a great handoff.
And no one listening will likely know…or suspect…you’re not there.