Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show

| May 6, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Talk radio PDs are haunted by enthused wanna-be’s with “a GREAT idea for a weekend show.”

But they’re unproven on-air performers.  Sadly, pay-for-play is now business-as-usual, and coaching is minimal at best.

Turnover hurts.

Many who do get a crack at on-air work don’t pan-out long-term. They meant well, and swore up-and-down that they’d show up, weekend after weekend.  But after 60-90 days of show prep and being cooped-up in a radio station while all their friends are having a good time every weekend, they run out of gas.

So weekends can consume too much management time.  No wonder so many stations settle for unlistenable paid shows and weekday re-runs.  Those shows never call-in sick.

PS: You need more digital revenue.

But station on-air staffs are bare-bones, and these people are on-air – not online – content creators.  They try to feed the web monster, but it’s their second priority at best.

PDs: Make online the audition for on-air.

  • When someone nags you for a show, tell ‘em to get cracking, online. Have ‘em build-it-out on a blog platform, and/or as podcasts, and/or YouTube videos, and/or as text content.
  • See how well they meet regular deadlines, and the quality and quantity of their output.
  • Their on-air debut can be sponsorable shortform vignettes, “appetizers” of special-interest content which invite “meal-size” consumption of online stuff they produce, which appears on the station’s web site, and is sold locally.

It won’t take long to figure out who’s ready for prime time.

Bottom line?  The bottom line. 

In olden times, radio would create programming then turn it over to sales.  New rules: Do it the other way around.  Want a show? Find a sponsor who sells to people interested in your topic.  Bring the PD your polished digital content.

Already doing a show?  Help yourself to a podcast and video which outline success tactics and steer you clear of speed bumps, here:

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice