“Peyton has just become statistically the greatest quarterback in the history of football, we will hear from him when we go to his post game press conference live later this hour.. To Baseball now where the Reds and Cardinals were battling for playoff position.. “
What’s wrong with this? Nothing really. Major sports fans are likely interested in historic accomplishment and baseball games that have playoff ramifications. In general, this is a professional way to go from one story to the next that has no link. At major networks, the second anchor would likely be asked to take over the baseball story. That’s a natural transition point. New sport, new topic, one really has nothing to do with the other.
But what if you have both of these stories? Maybe there was a late change in the rundown. These two stories initially were not going to be placed in that specific order. What if the producer structured the rundown this way for any myriad of reasons? What then? Was that transition a good transition?
The answer to this is not yes or no. For the safe broadcaster, there is nothing wrong with this. For the advanced broadcaster, the goal is to find a link and use that to bridge the stories.
This doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact simplicity is the goal. You won’t need to write a sonnet to get to the next story to be memorable unless you make a niche for yourself as the sonnet singing sports guy. Find a link between the two. Are any of these Reds or Cardinals players connected to Peyton Manning in any way? Use it. Do either of these teams have a player who may one day break multiple records? Use that. The point is, find something. If your persona is being witty, put it in that form. If you are a more serious type, stay within that persona.
Reality is sometimes there is no viable link. Sometimes if you try too hard, that link will come off as a reach potentially making you sound like someone who is out of touch. Be careful. If the link doesn’t exist that doesn’t feel natural, do not attempt it. Going from a run of the mill NBA game to a run of the mill NHL game doesn’t always have a viable connection worth mentioning. In that case, stick with the traditional transition of stating some facts about what you are about to see next. But most stories do.
Most good producers place topics in a rundown in a specific order that makes for obvious places to use a transition. It’s your goal to reward them with a better version of whatever they envisioned when offering the opportunity. Remember, you and the production crew are as much a team as you and your co-anchor. Being pro-active and offering a suggestion of story placement to help transition from one story to another is worthwhile. A good producer will not feel like you are stepping on his or her toes when doing so. A good producer will understand that you have a way to get to the next story that will engender viewers to stay through that next story. This is the goal for everyone involved.
Radio that is not governed by hard break times will have little issue with this next issue regarding effective transitions. Most broadcast outlets however has a stipulated amount of time they can conduct an interview. In many cases, this amount of time is never the right amount of time to cover all the topics you’d like to get to. So you will pre-plan which topics you’d like to get to most and prioritize the rest. But the structure of these interviews can feel scattered, like you are going to pepper someone with questions.
Pre-planning will help with transitions especially when you have time constraints during live interviews on set or in the field.
Later this week, I’ll talk about strategies that will help you – on the anchor desk or in the field – keep your interviews tight and interesting when the questions you would like to ask might be unrelated.
As always you can email me directly at: Bram@reelmediagroup.tv for information about speaking engagements or just general thoughts.
Follow me on Twitter/Instgram/Snapchat: @RealBramW