There are few things more exciting than speaking to a microphone connected to a live radio transmitter. What better feeling than knowing that a large audience is listening to your every word at that very moment?
But live radio has its limitations. The spontaneity and unpredictability that is such a rush in the studio is sometimes more fun for the hosts than for the audience, who is easily bored and will tune out quickly.
And, let’s acknowledge that replaying a hilarious moment from a previous show is not as fun in the studio as doing something live, even though you know the audience loves it.
We recommend morning shows do a mixture of live and prerecorded content. Here are seven reasons why:
- Interview-proof your show. Guests can be a PPM trouble spot when live, but you can skip straight to the good part when recorded and edited, or just play the best clips.
- Podcasting. This is big part of your future. You will certainly prerecord and edit your podcasts to make them excellent, so why not go ahead and do the same for your radio show?
- Learn from successful television. Watch Today on NBC or Good Morning America on ABC. They do a mix of both live and recorded segments. Even Saturday Night Live is not all “live.” There is a full dress rehearsal from 8-10 PM, and parts of the show is prerecorded and edited.
- Learn from successful radio. NPR’s successful drive-time programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered are largely prerecorded with live anchors popping in to setup segments. The syndicated Kane Show records each segment about 45 minutes in advance, allowing time for producers to edit and perfect each before airing, while maintaining that in-the-moment vibe. Brooke and Jubal have succeeded in part by producing much of their show the previous day.
- You are more daring with a safety net. Experiments and possibilities for creativity expand when you are prerecording. You can edit out the weak moments, or choose to not air it at all.
- The listeners don’t care. How many times have you aired a “best of” replay and gotten reaction? Go listen to Howard Stern’s Soundcloud right now. Pick any segment. Are you less entertained because it is recorded? No.
- Better teasing. If you already know what is about to happen on your show because you recorded it the previous day, you are better able to create specific, compelling teases and extend time spent listening.
You should not become “voice tracked,” like so many shows that are thoughtlessly rushed through because the host covers five stations.
You should also not use pre-production simply because you want to sleep in later or go home early.
You should be present and live to talk about relevant topics and news events that are happening now. Mix that with well-executed, pre-produced killer content, and thank us when your show outperforms your station.