Shall We Laugh? || Finney Media

ON AIR HUMOR AND HOW TO ADD IT EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT FUNNY

Throughout the year, we do research with Christian radio listeners across North America to gauge where their heads and hearts are for what we provide on the radio. You’ve heard and read much about how these listeners want encouraging, positive, hopeful songs and messages. All of that is true. And on-air humor is a part of that.

There is another side, though.  We’ve seen this from less churched listeners all the way to more legalistic believers and from all different denominations. This other side angle seems to be especially true now that we’re in lockdown, wearing masks and under restrictions and folks are just sick and tired of all the negativity.  

The other side is this. They want us to lighten up. Have fun. Be funny. Use humor. 

I’m not kidding. 

The last few times we’ve played things in Focus Groups and music tests that were fun or funny, listeners rated the humor high, commented on how they loved it, wanted it from us, hoped we would play more of it.  

They just need a break from all of the hopelessness in the world around them and just want to laugh. 

Examples of Effective Humor

So, how do you add humor and make it effective? A couple of cautions. First, if you’re not funny, we’re not recommending you begin telling jokes. You should consider incorporating fun and funny into your show or station, but don’t try to be funny if you’re not. For what it’s worth, I’m not naturally funny, so it’s generally better if I don’t try to tell jokes. 

Secondly, be careful with the type of humor you use. Some types do poorly with Christian audiences. And I don’t just mean bawdy humor.  But self-deprecating/self-reflective humor.

We’ve seen some kinds of humor work really well. Other kinds work not at all (ask me sometime about the piece I played in a music test where I thought the respondents were going to throw things at me). Sorting through what kinds of humor work and what doesn’t is something we can help with.

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