In my recent “what does the talent need” survey, the idea of crafting a perfect tease came up. Wow, an assumption that teases actually belong on radio and/or podcasts. In my world to tease or not to tease is the question. The answer is in the execution.  For example, if you are performing on an Oldies format (older than Classic Hits), it isn’t enough to simply tease the Beatles. If you are on a country format, letting everyone know that Kenny Chesney is coming up not enough. On Classic Rock, teasing Led Zeppelin fall short….UNLESS, you are simply attempting to reinforce the brand.

For example, I once programmed the structure of the tease telling my staff to pick a 70s tune/artist, and up-tempo song, and a lost oldie to tease. This happened every hour and played the role of reinforcing a 70s core with energy and variety. I never expected any listener to stay to listen—not the purpose in that application.

The effectiveness of a tease begins with the objective you hope to accomplish with it. Do you actually want people to stay with you or do you just want to reinforce the product expectation? You have to decide what you want to accomplish.

Getting a listener to actually stick with you is very difficult. That said, there are some general ideas that will help you craft a better attempt. First, your tease has to be believable. For instance, if you tease Garth Brooks in a Classic Rock environment most will think you are joking and will not consider changing their behavior to stay with you (although they may laugh at you). Garth on a Classic Rock format is not believable. Or, how about a tease that promises the listener that they can lose half their body weight in just two weeks. Again, not believable—except for the most desperate among us.

And so if you really want to be believable, you might say something about the struggle that comes with losing weight and you have a proven formula in thousands of cases coming up. More will believe you as it is reasonable.

Next, the amount of time you ask for has to be reasonable given your listener’s environment. If you listener core is primarily in car (drive time radio), then you’re lucky to get more than five minutes or one song. If you are on an hour-long podcast, I would not stretch any more than 15 minutes for a payoff. Your listener is not setting their watch and/or schedule around you. The more you can relate time to common things, the more effective you’ll be. For example, “a couple songs” or “the time it takes to walk to the fridge.”

There is far too much distraction to expect your listener (on an average show) to stay for hours on end or remember to come back in an hour. Teasing that long is a waste of mic time. Now, don’t confuse that statement with the horizontal tease on radio…reminding folks that “tomorrow at this time” something spectacular is going to happen has a better chance of working because the tease is asking the listener to remember to do something they normally do at the same time every day.

Many schools of thought on directive in teases. Some believe exact time is best. You know, “it will happen at 8:22am.” I’m more logical on this point. Most watches don’t match time, so a generalization is much better—“around 8:20 in the morning.” Others will say that an action presentation is better. “I’ll have that for you in less than five minutes.” I do like this idea; however, I don’t think it is the make or break of the tease. The time is not the motivator. The believable, valid reason to listen longer—to break my plans and hang with you. It’s a game of seconds and minutes to create the hours.

Next, make sure you are not teasing something that is readily available on other media—specifically the Internet. I reminded of a tease I heard on the air when Prince died. “Prince has died, details in ten minutes right here on [station removed].” You should have heard the sonic boom caused by the wind generated from listeners turning off the radio and pouncing on their mobile phone to find out what happened. That kind of information should NOT be teased but reported immediately. Tell your listener now because he or she suffers from the social media disease FOMO (fear of missing out).

You just wasted your time because it’s wasted energy they don’t get anything out of it it’s not entertaining it’s not funny when it doesn’t seem to fit right so make sure that you’re not teasing something that I should be probably found something interesting about the recent passing of Prince so you can say hey I’ll tell you about it to the Internet.

Teases: Know what you want to accomplish. Make it believable: Calculate the appropriate time to ask for. Make is a valid reason to listen—“must have” information. Catastrophic news (format appropriate) is never teased but reported immediately.