What’s the One Thing you’re working to improve this week?
If you need some inspiration for your show or station, just pick a recurring feature, like say, a “farm report”. There’s a #showhack I first heard from Randy Lane that might help when you are working to improve upon a stale feature, simply ask “What else can we do to make it bigger and add impact”?
The greatest example of making something bigger is when Larry Lujack took the Farm Report on WLS in 1970 and converted it one of the most popular radio features of all time, Animal Stories.
Lujack explained the origins of “Animal Stories” in an interview with Bill Schenold in 1985.
In 1970 WLS switched me from afternoons to morning drive. This was back in the days when they still had Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club on the air. Early in the morning, prior to 5 a.m., we had a farm show on the air. It consisted of five minutes of reading the hog prices and stuff like that — which I thought was really boring to do.
I started getting hold of a bunch of farm magazines — you know — WLS having been the “Prairie Farmer” station. Even though we were playing Beatles and Stones, we were still getting these farm magazines. I began thumbing through them and finding these weird stories about farmers and their animals. I started reading them on the air instead of broadcasting the stupid grain prices. A lot of the stories were about farmers getting attacked by their animals, horses having quadruplets — and other strange things. People started calling up the station — and geez they really liked the farm show. I couldn’t believe that. Rock and roll fans were actually calling up requesting that the farm show be made longer. After the farm show got dumped by management, I just renamed it Animal Stories and branched out. Animal Stories was not only about farm animals — but any kind of animals. Without a doubt, this feature was the most successful thing that I’ve ever done from a listener acceptance standpoint. It’s just a great common denominator thing: everybody at one time has had a pet dog, or a pet rabbit, or a pet cat. Everybody likes to go to the zoo — everybody likes animals.