The Power of a Great Benchmark

What do you think of when I say the name James Corden?

If you’re on Facebook like the rest of the world it’s likely your answer will be….”yeah, he’s the guy that does those Carpool Karaoke segments with famous singers…”

Yes, that’s the one.

How good was the Adele episode of this segment? Surely some of the most sharable digital content in a very long time.

When programmers annoy the hell out of their breakfast shows, banging on about finding a benchmark that can give the show a point of difference, this is what they’re looking for.

As simple as it sounds, sometimes you only need to be famous for one thing to separate yourself from the pack and that one thing can often catapult your show into a leadership position where everyone else is chasing your tail.

Matt TilleyOne of the best examples of this would be Matt Tilley, who had already been incredibly successful with Tracy Bartram on the Fox during the late 90’s and early 2,000’s before he went to whole new level.

Matt had a gift for character voices and is a shit-stirrer by nature. In fact he would often tell us about ringing through to 3AW pretending to be some crazy old man and having a long conversation on the air with the poor unsuspecting mid-dawn announcer whilst he was driving into the station to do his breakfast shift on the Fox.

He was sitting on a gold mine of content, and with just a little bit of convincing, (alright, make that a lot…) we finally got him to turn what was essentially the stuff he was doing to amuse himself into a benchmark that became the biggest segment on Melbourne radio for more than 5 years.

Matt was the king of Gotcha calls.

If I was standing next to him right now, he would punch me right in the face for saying that, because he is so much more than that segment and has a track record to back it up.

However there’s no question this benchmark became a magnet for listeners who would never normally listen to the Fox as they tuned in every morning at 7.50 and then again at 8.55, (yes, we rode that horse as hard as we could for as long as we could…) to hear the daily Gotcha calls.

The challenge of finding a benchmark that you can be truly famous for is not something you’ll be able to solve overnight.

A simple place to start though is to think about the type of content that is unique to your personality and plays to your natural strengths, in Matt’s case it was his character voices combined with his wicked sense of humour that made the Gotcha call such an obvious fit.

If you’re a show like Lewis and Lowe in Adelaide for instance, where both of the hosts are very competent musicians then you might think about a segment like the one James Cordin is doing, (suburban songs anyone? *cough*)

There’s an old saying in radio that you’re either famous for what you say, or famous for what you do.

Looks like it might be time for another brainstorm session on that one benchmark you could be famous for.

About Craig Buce:

Craig is the former Head of Content at Southern Cross Austereo. Responsible for getting some of Australia’s best talent on radio, his true passion has always been the development and mentoring of young talent. He now works as a talent coach and radio consultant. Find out more at

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