The Value of Signature Segments

One of the best ways to brand and market a program – to make it visible and memorable to the audience – is to create Signature Segments. No element of the program is stronger in making it unique and appealing.

Signature Segments are recurring regular elements that become part of the unique “signature” of the program. The right, consistent packaging makes the pieces stand out as signatures of the show and make the pieces themselves enjoyable, memorable and eagerly anticipated by the audience.

Signature segments have two purposes:

  •  To brand the program, so that audiences will recognize it and promote it by talking about it (as in, “You know – it’s the program that does x, y, and z.”)
  •  To make the program more produce-able and efficient by introducing recurring elements that can be replicated week to week or month to month without starting from scratch each time.

Creating Signature Segments involves:

  • Imagining them
  • Piloting them
  • Refining them and
  • Putting them into regular production and broadcast.

Signature Segments are characterized by “having legs” – they are ongoing rather than limited series.

They are focused. As one producer of a daily business show said, “Focused means the topic is defined and viewers know what to expect.  Here’s some guidance:  “Small Business” is unfocused.  “Small Business Success Stories” is more focused.   “All in the Family,” a signature on the challenges of running a family business could be even better.”

They have featured placement in your program.

They feature strong “performance” by the reporter/producer and incorporate strong writing and  strong production including special recurring introductions.

They look (TV) and sound different, with a different “tone.” It is seldom the subject that is unique, but rather the way we treat it.

Here are some possible Signature Segments, drawn from actual Intensives held around the country.

1.      Sound Advice: current weekly music feature, host and musicians, with new or reissued music. Test to see if meets the Bible’s commandments.

2.      Comedy Correspondent: live comedy club, topical material, big issues, pop culture. Lots of challenges including fairness, balance, language – but worth testing.

3.      Capitol Chat: one or both of the Capitol reporters with Host. Debrief with sound. Back story. Emphasize entertainment, back story, color, personality, even sound. Chit-chat. Fast, breezy, look ahead.

4.      Smartest thing I ever did: Famous person or not. Pilot this fast and cheap. Pilot with the audience. Bible?

5.      Get Lost: A special place to be alone, a personal place, a spiritual place.

6.      Hawaii Geo Quiz. (Could be done with clues, audio effects, nature sounds, quotes and actuality, etc.)

7.      Lunch with Power Players: Take members of the public to a local diner for lunch with a power player. No speeches by the power player, only answers to questions from public. You’d hear the sound effects of the diner in the background and of the waiter/waitress. You’d get a live event (actual audience) out of it, as well as a broadcast/web special (live on the web?) plus segments – perhaps an entire week’s worth. Very promotable.

8.      Neighborhoods: smells, sounds, people. Maybe “slice it” differently, by doctors, cabbies, chefs.



Signature Segment


What is It?

Strategic Value

(Hi Val/Low Cost)





Up and Comers in Connecticut Rising Conn. leaders. Everyone likes lists of the top 30 under 30, etc. Fun, promotable, moderate expense. Definitely. Should be highly.
Walking Main Street On location, radio verite on Main Streets. Great idea – could be part of the 169 Towns idea or separate. OModerate cost. Moderate to highly. Likely
Where We … Extending the franchise from “Where We Vote” into where we do anything – vacation, exercise, dine, learn, etc. This is a natural – easy to devise and produce. Moderate cost. Moderate to highly Moderate to highly, depending upon activity and how closely we will allow funders to be tied to it.


Possible Signature Segment


What is It?

Strategic Value

(Hi Val/Low Cost)





Houston Street Names Why did they call it that? Tidbits, trivia, history.
The “shit” people do in traffic!
Life Hacks – Tips for Living
“There ought to be a law …”
Ridiculous questions while waiting in line


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