By Lisa Wexler
WFAS-AM, Westchester, NY
Talk Show Host
WESTCHESTER, NY — “Honey, you’re famous,” my husband Bill called upstairs to me on Saturday morning. Really, why so? “Rick the shoe man says he read your op-ed in the Connecticut Post and he agrees with you. He wants me to tell you that. He thinks you are right, told me to thank you for writing it.” Made my day. I haven’t seen Rick the shoe man in about three years. He doesn’t live or work within my radio range. Unless he takes the trouble to find me on iHeartRadio or on-line, I don’t reach this man. Not unless I make the effort to write as well as speak.
I got into this game to change how people think. So did you. With your voice and the megaphone of the microphone, you have the privilege to select what news is important, how to interpret that news through the filter of all that background noise, and what conclusion to draw from it. Sure, we need to do it in an entertaining way- otherwise people will tune us out. But what a payoff there is- when our listener becomes an activist too, another person on the barricades fighting for the change we both believe in.
If you are going to be a thought leader, then simply speaking on the radio is not enough. The written word carries a different kind of weight. Radio is a rush — there is nothing like the spontaneity of an actual conversation, the nuance and humor of the human voice communicating through the airwaves to the lone listener on the other end. But radio is also ephemeral; despite podcasts and the ease of reaching audio files, people rarely re-listen to the same broadcast. They do, however, read an article more than once, and pass it on to friends. Your column has the potential to go viral in a way your radio show may not.
You remember last summer’s Rush Limbaugh slut tirade? While radio pros are still viewing that episode as a sales fiasco, I used that as an opportunity to get my voice heard. I wrote a blog for The Huffington Post called “Thank You, Rush Limbaugh” that was, for a brief moment in time, the Number One Google Search for the Top Google News Stories of the Day. I framed the screen shot. That day I reached more people with my viewpoint than I ever could in my radio range.
Preparing for a daily talk radio show takes a lot out of our day. We read everything we can. Then we sift, prioritize, opinionize and extemporize. But in doing so, in doing the deep thinking that it takes to produce a really good broadcast, we very often come up with a kernel of truth we can expand into a column. Sure, it takes a little extra time and a different kind of skill. But we are communicators, first and foremost, and we should be able to write as well as we speak.
Today I received a letter from a man in Greenwich who read that same op-ed, which was also published in the Greenwich Times, because Hearst Publications liked this particular piece well enough to run it in three different papers. He wrote, “I loved your article…I first read the title and next read as to who wrote it. Seeing that the author of same was a host on WFAS-AM radio, I recalled that… my wife and I always listened to that station before my move to Connecticut. As I am writing this letter I’m listening to your Friday evening radio program about Memorial Day and enjoying same. Keep up the good work and thank you.”
The moral of the story? When people discover you, they want more of you. Spreading your thoughts around in different forums will increase your audience on the radio. And in case you are wondering about that piece, here is the link: www.stamfordadvocate.com. I never stop trying to Turn Your Brain On.
Lisa Wexler is a Gracie Award winning talk radio host at WFAS-AM, Westchester every weekday from 4:00 pm -6:00 pm. The slogan of her show is “Turn Your Brain On.” Meet Lisa Wexler at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.