Remote Controlled

By Mike Collins

Imagine someone in his or her car driving down the street tuned to your station. They love your station. They love the music, the DJ’s, and of course, the information your station provides. The listener thinks to herself, “Life is great!” Then all of a sudden, BOOM! Your station goes to a live remote broadcast at Harvey’s Hardware Store in downtown Boringville! Well, I don’t think I have to tell you ( but I will ), listeners find live remotes pretty boring. Even the faithful listener who loves your station just changed the dial or turned the radio off.

“Hey, remote broadcasts really help out with our sales goals,” you just said to yourself. And I agree; they are a very important commodity to sell in radio. Reason number one, your customers regard their purchase for radio airtime as an intangible. They can’t see it, and they can’t touch it. Therefore, it must not be worth the money or time. But when you are broadcasting from their place of business, they see as well as hear the announcer doing what they have paid good money for. They see the equipment, as well as your station logo and call letters hanging outside on the station banner. But most important, they see the response from the listeners immediately. And with that, they see dollar signs, which of course makes you see dollar signs.

Everyone always wants to improve these broadcasts, but they only focus on the remote announcer’s performance and the exciting atmosphere that is overflowing to the listener from the remote location. So, what can we do to improve the broadcasts from the control room or station end? How can we make them attractive and stand out? Well, there are a few things you can do to spice up the overall sound of your two-minute info-mercials.

You must look at the remote as a show within a show. When you start looking at it as something special, you’ll start giving it the attention needed to make the listener see that it is something special. Production elements are something that can breathe new life into the stale and dry atmosphere of your live remote broadcast.

First, create a personal, well-produced open liner or stager as the cue for the remote announcer. Have your “station voice” or whoever it is that does your voice-overs cut individual liners for each specific live remote broadcast. Work closely with the sales team on this, and you’ll be able to keep your costs down by getting the names and dates of all clients that are scheduled to air live remote broadcasts within the next couple of months early. This way the talent cutting the vocals can do them all at one time.

Write creative, individual, and specific open liners that will accent the rest of your station elements. Then add the desired effect or stinger to make it stand on its own. The liner could be as simple as: “Keeping you in touch with today’s best music, WVOW. Cellular One wants to help keep you in touch with the ones you love. Broadcasting live from Cellular One in Logan, here’s Dave Allen.”

A music bed should be mixed with the liner as the remote announcer starts their broadcast. A great idea for the music bed is to take the two-part station music bed/jingle that’s used for top-of-the-hour IDs or weather and loop the music bed for about three minutes or a minute longer than your normal live remote broadcast. Just like when you finish the weather or top-of-the-hour rap and hit the jingle, when the remote announcer sends things back to the station, the jingle is played, ending the broadcast. Then you go into music or commercials.

Anyone can just play music under an announcer broadcasting live. However, when you take the time to personalize each and every live remote broadcast on your station, not only does it make it less boring to the listener, it also makes it more appealing and satisfying to the client.

Did someone just see dollar signs?

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