January 4, 2018

By Jeff McHugh

Here is a radio history lesson: Of the 144 top-rated radio shows that Bob Hope did for NBC back in the 1940’s, only nine were in the studio.

The rest were done around the world for troops during World War II. Bob succeeded in the ratings by making certain that every moment on-stage played for the huge radio audience back home, and not just to the small group of soldiers in front of him.

Think about that if your show is hitting the road to broadcast at a resort or theme park this year, and consider these points as your show packs the sunscreen and headphones.

1. Do the regular show, but better. Keep all the regular features and benchmarks. Play just as much music, not more, not less. Do your usual interactive contests, but play them on-location with people standing there in front of you instead of on the phone. Remember: there is zero listener benefit from you getting a suntan. Make the show fun for the folks at home.

2. Plan more. If you spend four hours a day on planning a show in the studio, plan to spend six for an on-location show. You’re going to have opportunities to send your producer down a water slide or broadcast from a stand-up paddleboard. But pulling off that sort of content successfully means overcoming more obstacles than a typical show.

3. It’s a show, not an infomercial. Don’t: get bogged down in describing the all-inclusive buffets and the resort amenities. Cover that in recorded sponsorships that fulfill required mentions with minimum verbiage and in the minimum amount of time. Do: tell stories about the fun things you are doing at the resort.

4. Record and edit all interviews. The goal of all resort spokespeople is to eat up as much of your airtime as they can, and they are apparently experts on how to cause massive audience tune-out. Tell them before you accept the promotion that all guests will be pre-recorded. Hook up a laptop with a basic audio recording and editing program into the sound mixer at your remote.

5. Get an audience.  Set up where there will be people around. Make sure that you’re not doing your show from a conference rom when you could be out by the pool with drunk vacationers. If the show is early in the morning entice people out with free breakfasts or prizes. Hearing audience laugher adds a new dimension to your show for listeners.

6.  Multiple mikes are a must. If you have four people on the show there should be four mics on location. Mics for guests are additional. Some engineers mistakenly believe that sharing a mic is OK, but it dramatically changes the normal dynamic of your chemistry and conversation.

7. Bring audio to the show. Listeners want to experience your fun trip with you. So bring all manner of recording devices, record on your iPhone and your video camera. Capture your inebriated co-host and use that on the air. Let listeners hear the sound of the ocean surf on the beach. Record the exotic accents of local people. Use that audio on the air.

8. Practice storystalking. Everything you do around this trip is content for the show. Pay attention to what happens as you are packing, driving to the airport, going through security, flying, getting lost on the way to the hotel and write things down. It is also an excellent time to try something new like parasailing or snorkeling and bring those stories to the show..

9. Be chill with technical problems. Know in advance that something goes wrong on almost all of these remote broadcasts. Insist that it get fixed of course, but stay calm. Your freak-out won’t help fix it and may hurt the fun vibe of the show. And that leads us to the tenth commandment…

10. Have fun.


The Ten Commandments Of Resort Broadcasting