Sometimes there comes events in that transpond format and style, times when a radio producer has to think and act fast to capture a moment.

One of these times is when musical icons pass away.

Most stations have set plans for big news like natural disasters, and relegate other events to their news segments, but it can be hard to properly mark the death of a huge music talent, especially if their musical genre doesn’t necessarily fit with their stations format.

Unfortunately, over the last few years the earth has lost so many of its great musical legends, so stations have had to develop some loose framework around the events. Done properly, almost all stations can celebrate the work of these singers and songwriters, touching the emotions and feelings of nostalgia in their listeners.

The following is a short list of some ways stations have marked the death of a great artist, take a look and see if any could work for your station and remember, this is not long term programming, only a few days to a week is normally appropriate to avoid burning the listener out.

  • Reshuffle the schedule by introducing a ‘Best Of’ segment, or simply throw a few of the artists big hits into heavy rotation.
  • If a classic artist is truly not a great fit for your format consider more modern collaborations, remixes, or tribute covers to keep your listeners happy.
  • Find clips of interviews and create sound bites of the artist to introduce their songs, or tail off a song into an appropriate quote.
  • Use a main imaging piece and then cut it down for a few shorter ones to use as break IDs to create natural flow, this can create structure easily without too much extra work quickly.
  • Follow it through to social media, consider linking to great interviews, retweet your followers condolences, change your images to celebrate the artist etc.

While it’s never fun to have to think about these sad events it can be a great opportunity for a quick thinking producer to use their creative instincts. Deciding what to do in these situations is one of the only times in a radio career to go off schedule and try something different.

Great radio responds to their listeners thoughts and emotions, don’t forget to be there with them.

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