7 seconds. It goes by fast. But that’s exactly how much time personalities have to win listener attention when launching a talk break or changing a topic. I call it the 7 Second Challenge.

Because of shrinking attention spans, the 7 second challenge is a relatively new condition that challenges performers to be tighter, quicker and more immediate than ever. And it’s affecting everything, not just radio shows.

Many industries have already made changes.

Music has adjusted,. Remember the good old days when song intros were about 20 seconds? Those ramps were great to talk over. Now? Intros are a second or two. And the hook starts immediately when the song comes on. It’s establishing a fast hook to get attention from an audience that has little patience.

It’s the same with movies. Check out any recent action film. The chase scene happens immediately, and viewers don’t even know why. The hook is on the action that takes place before the storyline is set up.

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Television? Same thing. The story starts immediately, and the show’s intro doesn’t even happen for several minutes. Some dramas identify the show 10-14 minutes after it starts. That’s why Wheel of Fortune starts with a puzzle already on-screen, hooking viewers on playing the game before they even know who’s playing.

The 7 Second Challenge

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