Best Practices

Tough Love: Best Practices

Executing the Feature

Tough Love is designed to fit into your station’s format and interact with air talent.

There are many ways to deliver the feature. It’s flexible and easy to adapt to your format, station and show.

Options

Here are several ways to use Tough Love:

  1.  Daily Feature, asking either Siri or Alexa 2-3 questions per day. 
  2.  Daily Feature, asking Siri and Alexa the same question or alternating questions between them.
  3.  Weekly Feature, such as Tough Love Tuesday, with the feature airing every 30 minutes or so. 
  4.  Recurring Feature, using specific episodes to provide a definitive answer to a dilemma or topic on the show. 

Some stations have the personalities ask the questions. Other solicit questions from the audience and air the question with a listener’s voice. Still others read the question, but credit a listener submitting hte question by email. 

Producing The Feature

Produced elements are available to download from the resources page in your account. This helps with intros and outros, sound effects and music beds.

Be sure to get the short audio drops from Siri and Alexa, too. They’re great for interacting with the talent. If you want more, just send us a script and we’ll produce them for you. 

Customized promos, intros and ID’s are available anytime. Just send the script and we’ll have them back to you in no time.

Example

Here’s a typical structure of the feature. 

Station voice/over: “Need life advice? We know who to ask. (Siri intro insert). It’s Tough Love on (station).”

Personality: Using the question in the download box, ask the question. It usually works best to assign the question as coming from a listener in your area.

Option: Record a listener asking question via phone.

Another option: Personalities can stay out of it entirely and make it strictly listener/Siri interaction. 

Play a short activation sound effect for Siri or Alexa 

Play recorded response

Option: If playing a second question, which is highly recommended, go to it quickly and get to the second response as soon as possible.

Personality: Outro: Then invite listener participation (submit a question by phone, text, Facebook or via form on website).

Option: Tease the next episode (“Coming up, we ask ______. Tough Love, this morning at _______”)

Recorded outro: “Tough Love (times) on ________”

Note: Download work parts for production on the Resources page.

Scheduling Tough Love

Daily Feature: The feature is effective when programmed daily.  In fact, most stations air it multiple times per day, at least when launched. 

Weekly Feature: Some stations have had great success making it a weekly feature. If you do this, air it every 30-40 minutes during the entire show. It’s best to brand it as Tough Love Tuesday.  And it’s usually best to use 2-3 questions in each episode. 

Episodes: You get 5 new episodes each week with a response from both Siri and Alexa, but may need more. That’s no problem. You also have access to Tough Love archives. Use as many as you want. Make sure to highlight and save the ones that work best. And use them often!

When launching the feature, schedule new episodes at a key appointment tune in time. For example: 7:10am. Pair it with a previous question (from yesterday or an archived episode).

For Best Results

Involve personalities, but don’t upstage the response. This is about the clever and funny responses, not about competing for the best line. Most every time talent tries to add to the break, it falls flat. End on a high note. A good way to finish is inviting questions and promoting the next episode.

Leave the microphone on. Laugh in the background, as if you’re the studio audience. Short responses add a lot to the comments.

Invite listeners to ask questions. Let them submit by text, phone, email, online form, etc. It sounds great to introduce a question as, “(Name) from (location) is asking for Tough Love… _______”.

Listeners can, but don’t need, to ask the questions. Some stations put listeners on the air asking the question. That’s fine, but isn’t necessary. In fact, it can get confusing with the additional voice, and it’s often hard to hear the question clearly.

Research has shown that listeners don’t really care about whether or not it was a person leaving the message or you reading the question That being said, if you find listeners love hearing people ask the question, there’s nothing wrong with it either.

Introduce it quickly and get to the answer quickly. But don’t rush. Keep the questions short and get to the payoff-the answer.

Topic Launcher: Some stations use a comment or topic in Tough Love to launch a phone topic or discussion. This can work really well, as long as you’re using it to move forward.

Promoting Tough Love

Promote the next episode by teasing the question you’ll be asking, or playing a portion of the answer (but not along with the question) as a tease.

Tease it! Each episode comes with a special tease that can be used a few minutes before the feature airs. You can use it with your personalities or produced as a stand-alone promo. It also works great for promos outside the show to drive audience to tomorrow.

Promos: We’re happy to provide custom promos for you at no charge. You supply the copy and we get it back to you. Have a sponsor? No problem. Have Siri and/or Alea promote the client.

Create a Tough Love page on your website, with a few recent episodes available on demand. Be sure to make sharing easy. This allows fans to spread the word about the feature. Try to promote the exact times to listen on the air every chance you get.

Include an invitation to submit a question they’d like answered. Create a form on your Tough Love page. Please forward responses to us and we’ll add them to the production queue. Or, to make it easier, provide this Javascript to your webmaster to embed on your page. All responses go directly to us. 

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