I have been listening to the radio more than usual this past week and the one thing that really struck me, was the lack of teasing used by presenters.
The Good old Hook and Tease was fairly absent.
I wondered why would this be?
The Hook and Tease is one of the basic methods of getting your listener to hang on for those extra fifteen minutes. Those fifteen minutes that could swing you past the next quarter hour and up your ratings.
So, where was our good old friend gone?
Why was it not being used?
It’s so easy and so effective, it seemed a real shame.
So here – for the goodness of us all (!) is the refreshers guide to the Hook and Tease.
Think of it as a Users Guide, if you like.

Let’s take it that you have never heard of the Hook and Tease before.
“What is it” (you ask)?

Well (glad you asked), the Hook and Tease is a method used by on air presenters to encourage their listeners to stay listening for at least an extra fifteen minutes.
Sounds great doesn’t it.
Next question is, “How do they manage to do this”?
They do this by prepping their show ahead of time naturally, and finding pieces of information or obscure talk topics or music references that they can then take on air with them and use to the max (clever aren’t they)?

Here is an example of a Hook and Tease:
“On the way in the next fifteen minutes an American Superstar who really wants to be an English Duchess”.
OK, it may not be the greatest Hook and Tease you have ever come across, but you get the idea. Let’s face it, it’s better than none at all.
What you have now done is placed the seed of curiosity in your listener’s brain. They just may hang on for those fifteen minutes to find out who you are talking about. They may tune out for a bit and come back to you within fifteen minutes to satisfy that same curiosity.
The fact is, they now have a reason to stay with you.
They now have a vested interest in your show.
If, however, instead of the Hook and Tease, you decide to say:
“Madonna is on the way”, then you have not given them any reason to hang on.
It’s no fun.
Madonna’s on the way. Big deal. So what. I might not even like Madonna.
Give your listener something to play with and the chances are they will respond by hanging on with you for that little bit longer.
Just think of the endless possibilities here. You can use our friend the Hook and Tease in any way you see fit. Hook music, hook talk, hook an event. It’s such a basic skill and yet we don’t seem to be using it so much anymore.
Watch any TV channel these days and they are Hooking and Teasing all the time.
Sky News, for example, will never go into an ad break without telling you what’s coming up and teasing you with some details (but not all).
Watch a TV movie and you can bet they have a way of getting you through the ad break. A lot of the time it takes the form of a question with the answer given once the break is over.
That’s Hooking. That’s Teasing.
TV uses it. Radio invented it!

The reason Hook and Tease works so well is (as always) down to human nature. It’s called  ‘Tension and Release’.
By asking the question or giving the listener something to ponder you have just created the tension.
Now it’s fun for the listener while they seek release.
That release comes in the form of the answer.
Watch anybody try to answer a question that puzzles them. They squirm, they make faces, the grimace, they scowl, they laugh too. They’re really enjoying the process.
Then when the answer comes to them, they smile and laugh even more and look relieved.
That’s Tension and Release in action.
That’s what you can achieve with a great Hook and Tease.

Know when to stop.
Saying something like “On the way in the next hour……..”, will not do it.
I can’t think of too many listeners who will wait that long. Don’t push it!
Fifteen minutes should be the goal here. I will gladly hang around with you on the radio for an extra fifteen minutes if I am sure it will be worth my while.

There is a saying : “Patience when teased is often transformed into rage”.
Don’t bring out the rage in your listener by making them wait too long.
They won’t thank you for it!

Brian Mc Coll
B Mac Media