Do you know why a program director puts a limit on talk breaks? They’re usually not just trying to show who’s boss. There is usually a good reason. Because every time a talk break begins, the station enters a high risk zone.
The risk is real. Every time the entertainment element changes, listeners are much more likely to change stations or go away.
It drives programmers crazy because they can control just about everything on the air. But they can’t control what comes out of an air personality’s mouth. The mic goes on and their stress level rises.
And it’s true that many listeners punch the button. They’re gone (quickly) before the talk has a chance to get established.
It reminds me of a quote from Fran Lebowitz, a journalist from three decades ago:
Radio news is bearable. This is due to the fact that while the news is being broadcast, the disc jockey is not allowed to talk.
That may seem unfair. But the high risk zone is a real thing. And it’s not just because programmers can’t control the content.
Nor is it because talk is weak or personality is bad, as you will see.
It’s because every time a personality turns on the microphone, they are disrupting the listening experience – every single time.