Monday Memo: Say What? | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Say What?

| February 4, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — “Sucks” sucks.  Ditto “pissed-off,” and “friggin’” and “effen.”

Why: Protective soccer mom is her family’s Secretary of The Treasury, driving the car your advertisers want to see pull into the parking lot as a result of being on your air.  She might actually use these words when young ears aren’t around.  But when they’re in the minivan, you’re committing TSL suicide using language Mom doesn’t want kiddos to parrot.

Don’t say that.  Say this.

Now there’s a consultant caricature, eh?  Hear me out…

  • “Remote” iswhat listeners call a TV clicker. If you’re “broadcasting live from…” say that.
  • “I could care less.” You mean the opposite, right?
  • “Jewelry,” not “jewlery.”
  • “Scenario:”Say “situation.” Ditto “logistics,” unless you’re planning a military strike.
  • “That’s the $64,000 Question” pre-dates 25-54s, and is a tired cliché to anyone older.
  • “At the end of the day…” clichés risk blending-into the blah blah blah.
  • “Awesome” sounds vacuous.
  • Instead of saying “consensus of opinion,” say “consensus.”

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…”

…reeks of ego, validating the caricature that people-who-talk-on-Talk Radio think “Talk Radio” means we-talk-you-listen.

And you’re telegraphing that what-you’ll-say-next is a re-run.  The listeners your advertisers want to meet most are busy people, running.  No time for re-runs.  Tell what’s ahead, not behind.

Instead of “most,” would it be more accurate to say “many?”  Over-statement distorts, distortion erodes trust.  Note eroding shares for big national talk shows that rely on overstatement.

And re-think “Mainstream Media.”  Why:

  • Cliché burnout. Beware of repeating things that make you sound like everyone else.
  • The resentment this characterization seeks to convey doesn’t resonate with the bottom half of 25-54, who are information consumers accustomed to making-their-own media (i.e., setting-up Twitter as a news feed).
  • Your station’s Sales reps are telling advertisers YOUR STATION is a mass medium, not fringe.

Instead, add value to what you’re saying “that you’re not hearing reported elsewhere,” by saying THAT.


Holland Cooke (OBVIOUSLY a former high school English teacher) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet; and he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice