Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Ever watch a baseball game on TV and become exhausted listening to the announcers. Without being critical about
what they're saying, it still may be bothersome to you but you don’t know why. You like the announcers. You love your team, but something is not right.
It may be a loss of “gameygen.” Here's how I define it.
Like oxygen, gameygen is my term for what happens to your brain when the announcers are not saying anything. We all need “gameygen” to enhance our experience no matter what we are doing. Much like going to a game and hearing people around you constantly talking or someone talking at the movies. It’s annoying. Your expectations are not being fulfilled and it becomes stressful. It happens in radio too.
The cure? LET IT BREATHE!
It’s great to have a tight show where music, production elements and talk are a finely woven combination but the momentum at times, needs to slow down just a bit. When it does, the audience listening has a chance to evaluate, comprehend and think of their own response as if they were on the air with you participating. If they’re not given this chance, their attention span shortens and they’re likely to tune out or stop listening all together.
In sportscasting, letting it breathe gives the viewer a different perspective of what they’re hearing while they’re watching the game. When the announcers stop talking, the audience can hear the game. The nuances of the field, the field announcer, the roar of the fans, the crack of the bat, etc. It’s an opportunity to take a breath while taking it all in. This enhances their experience and gives their brain the opportunity to be there without actually being there.
You need to do this for your audience. I’m not talking about long, pregnant pauses. I’m talking about pace. Slow down! Just a bit. Too much bang, bang, bang is exhausting to listen to. I recently heard a morning show host do this. She used a production piece to introduce a topic, quickly explained it, encouraged listeners to participate by asking their opinion, rattled off the phone number and walked right up to the song vocal. WOW! My head was spinning. Yes, all those elements needed to be in the break but her pace was so quick and so tight, it caused me to think, whoa, whoa, whoa. She didn’t let it breathe. In a normal, one-on-one conversation you might think this person had too much coffee. That’s the feeling it causes. It’s not natural sounding and makes personalities sound very mechanical.
Just the way music in a movie builds suspense, fear and jubilation, you need to think about the impact you can have between your dialogue on the air by using it wisely. It may be a simple fix as just letting it breathe.