Personalizing Show Elements

Article 8 min
Watch Senior Airman Candin Muniz of the American Forces Network (AFN) Radio Refreshers explore fully personalized shows, kickers and liners, show openers and bit openers. 

Your listeners tune in to hear you. They come to expect your personality and perspective to shine through every moment of your show. Your on-air breaks are an obvious place to show your listener who you are. However, transitions in and out of spot breaks, news breaks and the beginnings of hours and bits offer you the opportunity to take a generic Eagle DJ moment and transform it into your Eagle DJ moment. 

Personalized Products

Your affiliate has a pre-built library of generic Eagle kickers and liners that are used to transition between different parts of a show. These are great, but let's take the pieces that make them and create a unique, individualized product that brings your creative personal flair into every moment of your show. Plus, making these things is a ton of fun. 

You have a wealth of online resources, such as Wise Brother Media, AFN is licensed to download audio elements from. They have quotes from popular movies, memes and iconic news moments available for your creative use. 

Symbol of an “i” within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: Benztown Branding is one of the largest repositories of liners, quotes and other audio elements available for use. 

You are always able to record audio in your studio and use it in your personalized products. You have a whole community of potential voice actors to pull from. In addition, your affiliate has a library of sound effects, transitional sweepers and zingers and official Max McGill "The Eagle" audio clips. Maintaining consistency across the brand helps people recognize the product. That's why we use pre-constructed AFN "The Eagle" and AFN affiliate branding elements, which are required in liners.

Symbol of an “i” within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: Songs may be licensed to air on AFN radio, but consult Legal before remixing, posting to social media or using as personal bumpers due to copyright laws. Find more information on releases, permits and copyright licenses in DoDI 5040.07 (Enclosure 4) and AFN Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 80-01. 

Kickers and Liners

Switching between different parts of your show, such as going from a spot break into a song, can be a jarring transition. Soften these transitions by using kickers and liners to cue the listener that a change is occurring. This is a perfect opportunity to create personal, fun and unique kickers and liners to be used in place of the pre-produced generic ones. Kickers and liners are very similar, but there are some differences. 


A liner should tell a story and provide a message. It can be funny or silly to the listener. 


He's the Candyman. 100% sugary fun. Don't be afraid! It's really quite harmless. The Eagle.

AFN liners should:

  • Contain your on-air DJ name.
  • Use a Max McGill AFN "The Eagle" or AFN affiliate audio element. 
  • Tell a short story.

You normally do not speak after a liner, as it is a transition from a spot break, or talking to a song or from song to song. Liners are often used after spot breaks to return the listener to music. They remind the listener who their DJ is and build anticipation for your next talk break. 

Symbol of an “i” within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: When introducing talking points, anything you say daily would be a "liner." Anything said in a "liner" does not need to be repeated when live.


A kicker is shorter than a liner and doesn't need to tell a story. It is a quicker, more compact transition often used before a spot break or news break. 


Someone's listening to me. Now I know how a radio feels. Candyman.

AFN kickers:

  • Should be short (less than 10 seconds).
  • Do not need to tell a story.
  • Should remind the listener who is on air by using your on-air DJ name.

Notice that both of these have transitional elements, sometimes called switchers and zingers, at the beginning and end and often in between the elements inside the kickers or liners as well. These beginning and end sound effects are important. These sound effects clearly separate the kickers or liners from the song or spot that was just playing and then tell the listener when the transition is over. It helps guide your listener as your show moves forward. 


Another reason not to be that guy. You might make history. To learn more, visit that guy dot com. [Song starts to play]


...and make your PCS a little more comfortable. He's the Candyman. 100% sugary fun. Don't be afraid. It's really quite harmless. The Eagle. [Song starts to play]

You can hear how much clearer the second transition is. Kickers and liners help guide your listener and keep you present throughout your show, even when your mic isn't open. 

Show Openers

You never want your listener to know you're thinking of your show in hour blocks. Your listeners should experience your show as a continuous, entertaining ride. However, behind the mic, the top of the hour is a bit of an interruption in your show flow. When you return for your first mic break after the top-of-the-hour news, this is a great time to reintroduce yourself with your rank and name. A great way to ensure you hit this requirement and introduce your DJ character to your listeners is to build a pool of show openers

Show openers should contain:

  • Full formal ID.
  • Official Max McGill AFN audio element.
  • Your on-air DJ name.

You can package your required rank and name, DJ name and personality into your opener. This primes your listener to know who they will be hanging out with on air and helps you start your show with a good energy. Note that, like kickers and liners, these elements start with a transitional sound. It's good practice to have your show opener contain a bed you can talk over so your audio sounds smooth. 

Symbol of an “i” within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: Transitions between different segments and audio clips are also known as sweepers

Build yourself an audio cue for when the opener hands the mic back to you. This can be a sound pop, audio clip or sweeper. This ensures you know exactly when to start speaking while on air. 

Make these fun and exciting. Build at least nine, and if you're on air regularly, this will ensure a listener will never hear the same opener in the same hour over a 48-hour period. Build these regularly to keep your show fresh. 

Bit Openers

A bit opener is similar to a show opener.

Bit openers:

  • Can be used anytime in your show.
  • Do not need to contain your formal DJ ID.
  • Introduce regular on-air bits.

Like a show opener, a bit opener starts with a transitional sound, introduces the name of your bit and explains how it works.


[Sound clip] It's time to guess the theme with Senior Airman Candin, the Candyman 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. [Sound clip]

The bit opener then hands the mic back to the DJ with another transitional sound followed by a bed. If your bit is a daily history tie-in or the latest tech news, have your opener tell the listener what you're about to do. If your bit is a daily or weekly contest, save yourself time: record the rules of your contest into the bit opener so you don't have to repeat them over and over. It also reduces your chances of making a mistake. 


[Song fades out and sound clip plays] What is that soothing sound? It's time to guess the theme with Senior Airman Candin, the Candyman 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, we're gonna get to, you'll hear it here in just a second...

Taking the time to develop these personalized show elements will elevate your show to a professional level and keep you present every moment you're on air. You will notice a distinct difference in how your show sounds, and your listeners will love it. 

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

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