How Long Is The Perfect Break?


“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter,” Blaise Pascal, 1657.

I’ll keep this short: The personalities on many music radio stations talk too much.

It was hard enough for radio stations to compete when the competition was only a handful of other stations within range of your receiver. Half a century ago, Bill Drake, the legendary top-40 radio consultant and inventor of the Boss radio format, knew how to capture listeners’ attention and keep them. While our music and culture has changed a lot since the 1960s, the fundamentals of effective communication have not.

Forget PPM, Just Remember PCM.

Bill Drake put a sign in the studio that read, “Preparation. Concentration. Moderation.” With his PCM mantra, he took KGB in San Diego from last to first in 90 days. And KHJ in Los Angeles, with jocks like the Real Don Steele and Robert W. Morgan, went from twelfth to first place in 1965.


If a jock does not have time to prepare a show, why do one? Would listeners not prefer more music and fewer interruptions over breaks from an unprepared host? Wouldn’t you? Most everyone in radio today wears multiple hats; on-air jock, promotions, PD, GM, etc. It’s just a reality. That said, the show must go on. But only if it is adequately prepared.

A show must have a plan. Every break crafted, edited, curated to create the best experience for your listener. No plan, no break.


Shut down the Instagram and focus on your performance. Sit with your content and find the emotion. Why prepare for a show if you can’t execute? You have an audience of hundreds or thousands … if you were about to make an announcement on stage in front of a stadium full of people, would you be checking Facebook as you walk up? Concentrate on what you are doing and the experience you are trying to create for your listeners.


There is a veritable cornucopia of audio options from which to choose available with the ease of a spoken command to Siri, Alexa, or Google in cars, kitchens, and everywhere else. Why would someone stick around to hear anything a jock has to say that isn’t well prepared, executed, and leaves them wanting more, not less? The perfect break uses just the right amount of words and no more.

If you’d like a copy of some guidelines for better prep, just send me an email and I’ll be happy to share them with you.

This post was originally published as an article on


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