Let’s talk about storytelling, here’s one, it’s true and I lived it the Halloween I was in the 8th grade.
A local doctor had a gorilla costume, Hollywood level quality. Little kids would come up to his door and he’d run out from the side of the house and scare them so much they’d pee in their pants, I know this for a fact because my sister did pee in her pants one Halloween, after seeing the gorilla…
My 8th grade friends and I were doing Halloween for the last time, there were 4 of us. One of my friends Ron was one of those 13-year-old boys who was already a grown man. Ron had hair on his chest and he shaved every day. Ron was around 5-9 and weighed 165, you can imagine what he accomplished in Jr High football, nobody wanted to or could tackle him.
We followed a group of little kids up to Dr. H’s door, he came out from the bushes beating his gorilla chest and the little kids started to scream, maybe they peed their pants. Ron took off as he did on the football field, the doctor turned to run, halfway across the yard, Ron tackled him. Ripped off the gorilla head and came back like Conan the Barbarian holding up the King Kong head. Ron tossed the gorilla head out in the street and left to the adoring cheers of the little kids holding their trick or treat bags. The Doc never did his gorilla act again.
George, I’ve given that true story to 4 different jocks over the years. Each one of them used it to great effect. One used the story to generate calls from his audience about their great Halloween moments, he got almost 2 hours out of it from 8 to 10 AM
Another pre-produced it with music and sound effects and narrated it like an old-time radio drama.
The other two told it and sold it as a stand-alone.
The story worked every time, no matter how they used it.
Good air talents are the kind of people you want to sit next to on a long airline flight or strike up a conversation with at a bar. In short, storytellers.
Bobby, it’s like you and I talked about. The moment you buy a lottery ticket, you start fantasizing about what you’re going to do with the winnings. Unfortunately, it’s only the buying of the ticket that kick-starts the dreams so I would suggest when the money gets enormous, the whole morning crew buy a ticket and start sharing their fantasies. It won’t be long till the listeners will chime in, and now you’ve got a whole show.
One of the best ever storytellers was Jer of Jeff & Jer fame. I always loved coaching them because their show was so fun to listen to. The thing about Jeff & Jer was that they didn’t hang out together so when they saw each other every morning they always spent some time catching up.
Jeff was the marrying kind with a bunch of kids and lived modestly. Jerry, on the other hand, was also married but lived a totally different lifestyle. He lived in the hills of La Jolla overlooking the ocean and dined out each night with superstars.
The premise of Jef & Jer’s act was that they only had a few listeners and they didn’t make a lot of money so Jerry was always looking for bargains. (highest paid un syndicated talent in the biz) Jerry, of course, was reluctant to talk about his real personal life but Jeff was genuinely intrigued by whatever it was Jerry did the previous night which always led to a great story.
On one of my visits, I remember hearing Jeff ask Jerry how his family reunion went back in Michigan over the weekend. Jer said, “I don’t want to talk about it.” Jeff said, “You don’t want to talk about it, you drove us all crazy for months about how excited you were about seeing all your aunts and uncles and cousins again, and now you don’t want to talk about it?” Jerry then proceeded to say “I didn’t go.” What,” Jeff says, “You didn’t go, why not?” Jerry replied, “I told you, I don’t want to talk about it.”
They got an entire show out of Jeff slowly prying the story out of Jer. They did their regular radio stuff but then Jeff would keep coming back to his inquiry which was hilarious. I won’t bore you with it all because there is no way a blog can reflect how they did it on the air. However, Jer finally confessed to Jeff that a friend of his who worked for the airlines had given him a buddy pass. The way a buddy pass works is that as long as the flight isn’t sold out, you’re on the plane. Jer supposedly was at the airport for the whole day but was getting bumped off of every flight. Only Jeff & Jer could do a whole show out of being bumped off an airplane.
Bob, as the saying goes, “Great morning hosts are great storytellers and their listeners tell great stories about them.” Geo