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It’s done. Don is now golfing in Florida and Joe is the new President of the United States, in what was a very different kind of swearing-in ceremony.

Inaugurating a new President isn’t easy! Even on a normal day, the intricate planning involved with an event that grand would make even the most seasoned organizer’s toes curl – but in 2021, there were the added concerns of a divided America as well as the necessary safety and distancing issues of the pandemic. Imagine the to-do list. Security. Venues. Police and traffic management. Lady Gaga. Technical and broadcast setups. An incredible poet. Catering. Florists. A grumpy Bernie Sanders on a lawn chair. Red carpets. Podiums. The world’s largest bible and about ten million American flags.

So much to do. So much more than simply grabbing the calendar and a black pen, and scribbling INAUGURATION on the January 20 square. It seems obvious – but when it comes to audio creation, way too many shows do exactly that when they are ‘prepping’ breaks. Deciding what you are going to talk about is not prep – it’s the start of the prep conversation. Prep is about deciding – WHAT you are going to do (choosing the blend of the Big 5 of the day plus personal observational bits and human stories and then agreeing on the angle with which each of those stories will be spotlighted), HOW you are going to do it (diving into your show’s toolbox to establish whether it’s a discussion piece, a parody song, a phone topic or a produced piece), and WHO is going to do what (you should know who is generating the content of the break and who is reacting, not to script it and lose authenticity but to plan the best break you can). Prep is about balancing all of these things and then ensuring you are honouring the Big 5 (bringing the moment to life) every 30 minutes. Finally, prep is about asking the tough creative questions – ‘what else can we do to bring this topic to life?’ or ‘how can we make this memorable and distinctly ours?’ or ‘how does this live online as an extension of what we do on air?’.

Heavy lifting in the planning phase makes the execution, mics on, Showtime phase easy. And that relaxed, planned ease, that less stressed environment, will allow your talent to shine.