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Telephone Technique That Can Multiply Your Results

| March 20, 2015

By Holland Cooke
Holland Cooke Media
Talk Radio Consultant


cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Smart talkers aim for high call count.  It’s YOUR show.  But when you usher in caller after caller you introduce perspectives and voices that broaden the conversation, and you can ignite sparks.  And if you host an ask-the-expert show, callers’ relatable issues and questions enable you do demonstrate your know-how to listeners you want as customers.

Monologue sounds lonely, dialogue sounds busy…at-the-speed-of-life to in-car listeners your advertisers want to see pull into the parking lot.  And lots of calls make you sound popular, which advertisers also notice.  And if you’re hosting a how-to show, callers aplenty imply that you’re the go-to pro in your area of expertise.

Callers call when they hear other callers.

So announce that call-in number like you’re reading winning lottery numbers, SLOWLY.  And repeat it as each call ends, as you quickly segue to your next caller, overtly inviting: “THAT OPENS UP A LINE FOR YOU!”

Having lots of callers lets you pick-N-choose, so you can keep an issue-oriented show on topic, and ensure that a specialty show is pertinent to the host’s repertoire.  And – OK, I’ll say it — because, frankly, some callers are duds.  Thus the Call Screener Tips video recently shown on TalkersTV (now archived at; and in my recent TALKERS column (ICYMI:

You should archive calls on an ongoing basis…

…so you can re-purpose them, as topical podcasts.  As recent buzz about “House of Cards” season 3 demonstrates, we live in an on-demand culture, so why confine the opportunity to hear your work to those who happened to be listening in real-time?  Make your on-air work available via your web site, iTunes, etc., and Tweet-out links to single-topic Q+A audio.

And if you keep an indexed trove of calls, you can recycle them into a future show, to steer it topically, and so that you always sound in-demand.  And you can cull archived calls to create entire shows, so you don’t disappear when you’re on vacation.

2 Talk Radio Telephone “Don’ts:”

Don’t say “ROGER ON A CAR PHONE, YOU’RE NEXT,” because doing so sends a negative subliminal message.  We all suffer dropped calls.  And AM radio is static-prone, which research demonstrates is an issue with women.  So don’t telegraph that static is coming up.

And “ON A CAR PHONE” is less-relatable than “ROGER, FROM WEST SPRINGFIELD.”  Diaries and PPM meters go to West Springfield.  And concerns about distracted driving are real.  So why seem to be inviting it? 

Avoid alluding to callers on hold.  “BRAD FROM BRISTOL, AND JOAN FROM MANCHESTER, WE’LL GET TO YOU NEXT” tells would-be callers they’re third in line.  Forget it.  Who’s got time?  So that Brad and Joan don’t wander off, your screener should tell them, OFF-air, that they’re next. 

And Here’s a “Do:”

Say callers’ names.  Humans are wired to appreciate that, and you will seem approachable.

That’s the short version.  For more detail on this, hit, where you can also download The Negotiation Checklist for buyers of weekend longform talk radio airtime.


Holland Cooke is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke and meet HC at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.

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Category: Advice