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Create an Action-Packed Show

Imagine that you are weeding through a stack of content ideas for your newscast, podcast or radio show. Aside from newsworthiness and relevance, what content filter do you use in determining what is A, B or C material?

Go with stories involving action. If someone is doing something interesting, that gets priority over content involving statistics, announcements, physical items or opinions.

In other words, “stories, not stuff.”

The more actions that take place, the better the story usually is and more airtime you allow for it. Compare these two recent news stories for example.

A brewery is releasing a beer that tastes like Lucky Charms cereal.

A novel story with just one action: beer being produced. On a local news show, anchors might debate if they would try it, if they ate Lucky Charms as kids, etc. It is a fun topic worth a couple quick moments, not more. It is an announcement about a physical thing.

A dog was elected mayor. “Duke” just passed away after many years in office.

There are a lot of actions here. Duke was elected and reelected four times. In 2016 Duke got 100% of the mayoral vote! Duke wore a hat that said “Mayor.” He rode in parades, appeared on talk shows and ate burgers at the local pub. Duke retired from public life when arthritis set in, and today citizens of Cormorant, Minnesota are planning memorial services at town hall.

That is a story worth more airtime. I like how NPR did it: dedicating nearly three minutes to Duke, the Mayor Dog, but only 26 seconds to Lucky Charms Beer.

As you plan your show, consider stacking together 2-3 lightweight stories like the Lucky Charms beer headline to fill a couple of minutes. Reserve expansive, first-class airtime for more dramatic stories involving action, behavior, emotion, conflict and life.