Secrets of a Successful Rock Morning Show

bjshea

BJ Shea has been in radio for 30 years. The last 15 years he’s been entertaining listeners in Seattle. In 2006, The BJ Shea Morning Experience took over for Howard Stern in the morning on KISW. Unlike, David Lee Roth, Rover, and Carolla – he’s seen ratings and revenue success on the heels of Stern. So much so, Entercom just renewed his show for another multi-year contract.

BJ and LarryI spent the morning with BJ and his crew this week and interviewed them for the Radio Stuff podcast. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Everyone on the show has a character profile. They’ve gone as far as mapping out the traits on a white board.
  • Everyone on the show — and I counted eight of them — has multiple duties including individual podcasts that support the show brand.
  • They consider the show a performance and they abide by the rules of improv. Always.
  • BJ’s success started when he began to trust his team. The team success started once they were trusted by BJ.
  • BJ and his producer Steve network, go to talk show/morning show boot camps and conventions and can quickly turn the page from performer to strategist.
  • They genuinely like each other. All of them. Everyone is fair game on the air.
  • The “soul” of the show is relationships. Every story they share, every news item that decide to discuss always is framed in the context of relationships (husband/wife, parents/kids, co-workers, girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse/inlaws, etc.)
  • The goal each day is to start the listeners day of with a smile.

As you plan your show, regardless of format, it would worth identifying the show’s characters, people’s responsibilities, studying improv (I blogged about that here), building trust amongst your show unit, networking, identifying the “soul” of your show and having a single mission each day.

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