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 Relatability and Content

By Joel Marshall

Relatability and Content

A topic is relatable if other people have experienced, or are currently experiencing it. What does everyone do? Eat, Drive, Work, Watch TV, Get Laid and Sleep. Driving references are always relatable since most people are listening from cars. You can mix and match topics for optimal efficiency. Ask every commuter who's eating and having sex in their car to flash their headlights twice. If this results in an accident, you'll get tons of free coverage. A word of caution-when discussing TV shows, try and talk about what was on the previous night since your 7-midnight guy might not appreciate your plugging that night's "Party of Five".

A. Visualize It’s not necessary to have an out of body experience like the girl in the Talking Heads ‘And She Was' to imagine what your listeners are doing. Don't wait for a phone call from a pizzeria to salute dough-slingers everywhere.
Working listeners are:
  • Goofing off

  • Typing
  • At a computer terminal
  • Harrassing co-workers or subordinates
  • Waiting on customers (retail)
  • Answering phones

  • Having get-down gorilla sex in the supply closet
  • Plowing through the big pile of junk in their "in" box

Non-working people are:
  • Getting beered up

  • Playing Poker,Volleyball,Darts, Frisbee
  • At the beach
  • Playing guitar along with Dishwalla
  • At the Gym (unless you're a PAR station)

  • Rattling coffee cups of change at passersby
  • Dumpster diving

B. Being Topical
Magazines like People, Spin, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Details, and Entertainment , are tax deductible barometers of that happening "pop culture". Tabloids like The Globe often scoop the mainstreet media on the fabulous doings of pop icons. They would appreciate it if you attribute any quote to their rag, especially if your subscription is comped.The Celeb "A-list" is always mutating, but chances are, if Liv Tyler's on more than four covers that month, she's top-of-mind. Avoid extremes - "Readers' Digest" subscribers may be shocked to hear about "Details" columnist Anka whipping herself into a frothy foam, whereas the tattoos and piercings crowd may be similarly nauseated by a cute story from "Life in These United States".

Try not to be partisan on extremely divisive issues like abortion, politics, and whether Jenny McCarthy used to be a man. If you dog Dole, then crack on Clinton,too.
Pres. Clinton: "As soon as we finish jogging, I'm gonna tear Hillary's panties off!"
Secret Service Man:"Horny, Mr. President?"
Clinton: "Hell no, they're riding up the crack of my ass!"

Hot topics for Summer, 1996 are a mix of old and new:

  • "Trainspotting"

  • The National Football League (no-brainer. Why not propose an "NFL sings" CD, like "Time For Me to Fly" by Emmitt Smith, "Benny and the Jets" by Keyshawn Johnson, or "White Lines" by Michael Irvin. Customize to your format and hometeam.)
  • "Quake" (computer game from makers of "Doom")
  • That friggin' Macarena- Hokey Pokey for the 90's or a sign of Armageddon?
  • Hot Tours: Kiss, Rush, Smashing Pumpkins
  • Comics: Dilbert/For Better or Worse/Bizarro/Robotman

    Remember, keep it under 10 seconds, because then it’s time for the TSL contest with 12 sponsors 14 taglines the contest activator, five minutes of spots, and the winner playback with the legal disclaimer. That reminds me....

    C. Edit, Edit, Edit! Say a scoped aircheck of your four hour shift takes 12 minutes. Subtract everything that you’re merely reading from a card , like weather, live liners, and promos, and how much truly original material do you have to come up with? Maybe you are being paid too much. If you are expected to be timely and topical, then highliters, except for black ones, are your friends. Using only the articles with the biggest headlines on the front pages of each section of the newspaper, highlight the first three words that aren't "and", "the", or "if". The PD wants you to keep it under fifteen seconds, your station liner takes up ten of it, how will you fit that content in the :05 you have remaining? That two page article on game four of the NBA Eastern finals where Jordan got 45 and yatta yatta yatta? That’s boiled down to one syllable - "puh". If the listeners are not on your plane, tou.....

    D. Wise Guy, Eh? Humor, when done properly, is at someone else’s expense. That's why it’s impossible to crack any kind of joke without offending someone. In some instances, the wounded party will call and let you know. Apologize off air, but don't let it ruin your show. The Bush-Butz act of 1979 made it illegal to crack on Blacks, Jews, Gays, Asians, Minorities, Vertically Challenged Individuals, and Aleuts (Banned bumper sticker: "Be aleut, the world needs more leuts"). Humorists responded by reworking those old ethnic jokes and substituting Blondes, White Males of European Descent, Bosses, and Newt Gingrich. In fact, the very mention of Newt’s name in any context can often pass for actual humor amongst a rock and roll crowd. Same with "Tiggy Legge-Bourke".

    Self-deprecating humor is always acceptable because you're offending noone but yourself, and other losers like you. And chicks dig that whole David Schwimmer thing.

    If you are not naturally funny, and your morning guy is the only one who gets to use the faxed comedy service, learn how to browse the world wide web or usenet newsgroups for humor archives. One newsgroup, "rec.humor" has a few ongoing threads that are car related-perfect for drivetime. "The Best Bumper Stickers Ever" has yielded such treasures as "Honk if you've never seen an AK-47 fired out of a car window" and "Help-he's farted and we can't get out!". The "Best Vanity Plates Ever" thread gives us: "3M TA3" (read it backwards, like in your rear -view mirror),"NE14ORL6", "H8MYXWYF","6UL DV8", and "NOPCME" (on a urologist's car).

    People have short memories for jokes they've heard, so you can recycle old lines by plugging new names. For example, "I don't care if the critics hate 'Striptease', I'd pay $7.50 to see Demi Moore read the encyclopedia as long as she was naked!" was actually written about the greek actress Hermaphrodite in 200 B.C


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