More or less, everyone has access to the same material every day. The show prep services have the same topics. Visit the most popular web sites for current content produces the same basic stories. So how does your content stand out from the competition, including television, blogs and social media? The TESOP method can help develop content that virtually guarantees it will be unique.

TESOP sounds like an acronym for a super-secret government project or something from a James Bond movie, but it’s quite a lot simpler. Following the TESOP steps gets to the emotional connections that lie beneath the surface of topics.

And that’s the key to getting listener attention.

Why does one painting become worth millions while another seemingly similar work sell for pennies on a garage sale?

What is the difference between a best-selling novel and one the author can’t give away to friends and family?

Why does one pop song rise to #1 while another with a great hook never cuts through?

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What causes some online videos to go viral while millions of others are seen by only a few dozen?

When you arrive at answers, and while still thinking outside the box, apply it to radio. Now ask yourself:

Why do some topics take off on the air, igniting strong response and word of mouth, but not others?

In other words, what makes content work…or not? And how can you improve the “hit rate”?

The Science Of Show Prep

Behavioral scientists tell us that creating great content is not simply a matter of quality. The idea that the “best” art rises to the top and reaches the most people doesn’t explain it. It’s more than that.


 Jim Davies, a professor at Carleton University and director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory conduct a series of tests, resulting in his Theory of Compellingness. Read all about it in his book: Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe.

In the book, Davies answers questions such as:

  • Why do some things pass under the radar of our attention, but other things capture our interest?
  • Why do some religions catch on and others fade away?
  • What makes a story, a movie, or a book riveting?
  • Why do some people keep watching the news even though it makes them anxious?
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In a study about speed dating, people were asked about the type of partners they found attractive. Results showed answers before the exercise had not correlation with who they actually found attractive in person.

Davies explains:

We are beginning to understand just how much the brain makes our decisions for us: we are rewarded with a rush of pleasure when we detect patterns, as the brain thinks we’ve discovered something significant; the mind urges us to linger on the news channel or rubberneck an accident in case it might pick up important survival information; it even pushes us to pick up People magazine in order to find out about changes in the social structure.

That’s a clue into how listeners respond to radio shows. But simply putting content on the air isn’t compelling enough to gain or keep attention. That content must be curated. That’s where TESOP comes in.

TESOP Content Curation