Monday Memo: Play the Hits | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Play the Hits

| September 30, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Last week here, we detailed a negotiating strategy for attorneys, realtors, veterinarians, financial advisors, and other professional services providers who broker weekend talk radio time to round-up new clients.  In too many cases, the station isn’t doing all it should to help produce results.  If you missed that column, which included a helpful podcast, click here.

Think “Sales Funnel”

More listeners yield more callers, from-which the RIGHT callers’ issues are relatable to your listener prospects, and pertinent to your work.  That last sentence is the ballgame.  Read it again, aloud, slowly.


  • Once you’ve accomplished what last week’s column recommends, you’ll have more listeners. From there, it’s all about “conversion…”
  • Having more listeners SHOULD produce more callers, which makes you sound popular and pre-eminent. So sound inviting.  Ask for calls overtly, explaining how you can help.  Announce the phone number slowly and often, and execute other talk radio 101 blocking-and-tackling (coaching you should be getting from your station’s program director).
  • But call quality is more important than quantity. You want callers whose ask-the-expert questions are in-your-lane.  If you are, for instance, an attorney specializing in elder law, you don’t want callers asking you questions about bankruptcy or real estate closings.  Zero-in-on what you do, and more who need your help will call.
  • Call screening is key. If the station-provided call screener is simply lining-up whoever calls undistracted from Instagram, bring your own screener.  Grab this free download:

 To improve conversion, take a lesson from music radio.

Radio is radio, regardless of what’s coming out of the speaker.  It’s either instantly interesting, or crickets chirp.  Attention is fragile.  Every…single…moment needs to earn you that…next… moment.

  • So your talk show has to do what a successful music station does: “Play the hits.”
  • Not literally. I’m NOT saying play music.  But you need to choose issues and callers the same way carefully researched music radio picks songs.  Think of your talk show as having “a playlist” of issues that connect the dots between what your prospects need and what you do.
  • Based on your work, what are the biggest mistakes the consumer makes without your guidance? What industry data suggests issues of interest?  What new practices/products are changing-the-game?
  • Gem: Search your topic on Amazon and read reader comments about the top books in your topic.

STILL not getting enough calls?  In next week’s column: How a simple tool that you already use can light-up your show.

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  He is the author of “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” an instant download available exclusively from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner on this page.  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

Tags: , ,

Category: Advice