It’s Not Show Friends, It’s Show Business


“It’s not show friends, it’s show business”

– Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) in ‘Jerry Maguire’

Have you ever noticed how many of your friends are not hosting radio shows? They aren’t cut out for it. Your real-life friends probably think it’s easy to do radio … a few of them may even start a podcast but no one, not even you, will listen. Love ya, pal, but who has time for that?

Many Christian radio stations are branded with imaging that includes “your friends” or “family friendly”. That’s a wonderful brand promise: no swearing, talking about sex, or saying anything kid-inappropriate. My dentist is family-friendly too, but I only go when mandated, every six months. We must be more than “clean;” try, compelling.

Lest we forget, radio is show business. You don’t work in a factory and have a shift. You work at a radio station and have a show. Shows are written, edited, and produced. They can’t be winged.

To wing indicates the capacity to play a role without knowing the text, and the word itself came into use from the fact that the artist frequently received the assistance of a special prompter, who …stood … screened by a piece of the scenery or a wing.” Stage Magazine, 1885.

The quality of a show hinges on its combination of prep and production value. Finding show prep (topics) is half the work. The other, harder, half is figuring out what to do with your prep. That’s where the production comes in. Taking the raw prep and creating something magical out of it, that makes a show.

Producing a show requires using everything at your disposal to curate the perfect moment for your listeners. Every break. Filtered, edited, outlined, and re-edited before you open the mic. Let’s examine each step.

  1. Filtered: Do your listeners care about this topic? Is it relevant?
  2. Edited: Everyone has the same access to Facebook and can see what’s trending. Listeners don’t need or want you to read to them what you saw on the internet. They want you to tell them a story in a unique and compelling way.
  3. Outlined: Determine the emotion you’re looking to convey. (A) Now, put the emotion up front. (B) Then, figure out your exit. Finally, practice how you’re going to get from point A to point B.
  4. Re-edited: Could you make it shorter? Should you add some audio candy (a sounder, clip from YouTube, or a perfect piece of music to fit underneath the break)?

For team shows, try putting a 30-minute production meeting on your calendar pre-show to review all your prep and determine what elements are needed to enhance the content. This small investment of your time will pay huge dividends.

Help me…help you. I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at

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