As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to pull out one of my favorite radio recipes for digital content: The Thanksgiving Crossover Special. I have always been a big fan of television crossovers, and have often wondered why why radio doesn't do more of this. Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to record a one-off “crossover special” that you can make available to listeners on demand through your digital channels.
The concept is simple: Get a bunch of your on-air personalities who don't normally interact on the airwaves, and record them talking to each other about what they're thankful for. If you have a syndicated show on one of your shifts, invite the hosts to join via Zoom. The recipe below explains how to create an audio recording, but you can also use this as an opportunity to learn some new digital tricks by making a video recording of the conversation, or even streaming it live and incorporating listener questions and comments.
If you work in a building that houses multiple stations, you can also use this as a rare opportunity to involve on-air personalities from different stations in the discussion. As somebody who has stations from many different formats programmed into my dashboard presets, I love the idea of a country DJ breaking bread with the hip hop and rock DJs.
Bottom line: This is an easy, inexpensive, one-shot deal that has the potential to thrill your P1 fans.
The Thanksgiving Crossover Special
Preparation Time: 60 minutes
- A digital recorder
- A camera or smartphone
- Soundcloud or other audio hosting service
- Your radio station website
- Production elements
1) Set up the microphones and the digital recorder in the radio staton conference room. You can also use a large production studio if you prefer.
2) Invite all of your on-air staff to sit around the table, each in front of a microphone. Use the beer as an incentive to get them to come to or stay at the station during a time outside of their normal airshift. (Substitution: Pumpkin pie)
3) Pick one DJ to lead the discussion.
4) Start recording.
5) The DJ leading the discussion should, in the first 60 seconds of the recording, do the following:
- Introduce themselves using the station's call letters.
- Introduce the other air talent at the table.
- Explain that to celebrate Thanksgiving, the air talent will go around the room and each talk about one thing they are thankful for that happened in the past year.
6) Go around the room, with each DJ talking about one thing they are thankful for. For example:
- A concert they got to see
- A band they got to interview
- A station event that was a lot of fun
- An event in their personal life
7) Wrap up the recording with a toast, and wish the listeners a happy Thanksgiving.
8) Take a photo of the airstaff together.
9) Using audio editing software, add a produced intro and outro at the beginning and end of the recording.
10) Upload the recording to a hosting service such a Soundcloud.
11) Embed the audio on a page on the radio station's website. Include a brief description and the photo of the staff.
12) Set up a vantity URL that redirects to this page, such as wkrp.com/thanksgiving.
13) Promote your Thanksgiving recording webpage on the air with production elements and live reads.
14) Share your Thanksgiving webpage on social media, through an email blast, and by using a mobile app push notification.
I love the concept of giving listeners a special “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of the radio station. They rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to hear the DJs interact with one another, so this is a unique holiday treat.
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