During four years as a sports talk host at ESPN Radio Network, I never figured out what to do with actualities. I knew it was supposed to improve my show to include them so I played them, but I didn’t know how to use them to make my show better.
Here are two tips I wish I had known then . . .
1. React to the audio
Play the clip from the newsmaker, then say, “Here’s what he said and here’s what he means.” Interpret the coach-speak. Help your audience read between the lines. You can also share your opinion about why what the person said is right or wrong.
2. Use audio as your co-host
Actualities are especially helpful when you are hosting solo. They break up the monotony of a single voice and serve as your co-host. They give you something to respond to. Play the clip then explain why you agree or disagree, or why you think what was said is absurd.
While we’re on the topic of audio, here’s another suggestion . . .
Start an audio library
You never know when you might be able to reuse something that is especially funny, unique or otherwise entertaining. Maybe it’s Allen Iverson saying, “Practice? We’re talking about practice?!” or Jim Mora with his whiny, “Playoffs???“
Keep notable clips that are relevant to your audience. You can do this as easily for local shows as for national programs. If you find a clip that is funny, amusing or otherwise entertaining, archive it so you can recall it at any time.