Bit Development

Article 7 min
Watch Senior Airman Hannah Malone of the American Forces Network (AFN) Radio Refreshers to learn about bit development, engaging your audience, bit timing and bit consistency.

A bit is a short- or long-term, sometimes recurring, special part of your show. It provides an interesting way of entertaining and delivering command information to your listeners. Bits can be complex, including audio elements, guest call-ins and social media integration, or they can simply be one break of your show. 

The basic anatomy of a bit is hook, setup and payoff. You want to entice the audience to look forward to your bit, execute it over one or multiple breaks then deliver the big payoff.

Engaging Your Audience

A bit should engage your audience. This can be as simple as delivering entertaining content in a fun way or having them participate with you on air. This works even better when the listener has an incentive to participate with you. They do love their prizes!

Look to current events, DoD campaigns, local initiatives and things that bring out your unique on-air personality when creating a bit. Maybe you're a big nerd or a pop-culture enthusiast. Build bits around those topics, and have fun with it! Be subtle with the command information.

Symbol of an ā€œiā€ within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: Make sure you know who your target audience is. Being subtle with command information can be strategic, but it can also be deliberate. Some audiences prefer a more direct approach, but you must be authentic as the on-air talent.

Bit Timing

Is this a bit that fits nicely into a one-time break that you tease? Is it worthy of a whole hour? Maybe this bit delivers a hook daily, and the payoff happens at the end of the week. The scope of the bit should match the payoff for the listener. 

What time of day is it? Does your listener need an easy win with a "Guess the Song?" Maybe they need some quirky info to brighten their day. Is it the end of the day? Are the kids in the car? A good bit adapts to what the audience is doing at the time it airs. The possibilities are endless. 

PRO TIP: See the AFN Radio Refresher on Clock Orientation!

Let's see the difference between a short recurring bit and a long-term one.


What is that soothing sound? It's time to guess the theme with Senior Airman, Candin the Candy Man Muniz. Know the theme? Give it a shot. Call in with your guess. If you get it right, you're entered to win Shape Cinema Alliance Auditorium tickets. And today's theme...

That's a weekly entertainment bit. Let's check out a more involved bit.


It's impossible. It's impossible, and we did it. What is this, Mission Impossible? It's the Impossible Question of the Day: your chance to win a great prize from MWB at the end of the week.

That's a bit that airs daily with a partial daily payoff and a final weekly payoff. Notice both are enriched with specialized audio elements that explain how the bits work. Work smarter, not harder.

PRO TIP: See the AFN Radio Refresher on Personalizing Show Elements.

Symbol of an ā€œiā€ within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: A recurring bit is another way to build a following over time through consistency, so the audience knows when to tune in.  "Taco Tuesdays" or "Wedding Wednesdays" are examples of recurring bits.

Bit Consistency

Decide how your audience can participate. Is it strictly an info delivery bit? Can your audience call in? Do they respond to a social media post? Get wild, but remember, consistency is key. Your audience becomes conditioned to expect your bits at the same time on the same day. If your audience responds to a bit, you're doing something right.

A bit should enrich your show, not replace it. The Eagle format makes room for the fun bits and the command information to exist. Bit development takes time, try things outside the box and know your bit may take time to catch on.

Get creative, try new things and, most importantly, have fun. Practice makes perfect. Have a great show!

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