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Monday Memo: Their Voice, Their Words

| October 14, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Here is the sentence no Amazon Echo owner has ever spoken: “Alexa, please play seven commercials.”  We compete with free and pay-for music services which torment listeners with fewer/shorter or no commercials, respectively; and the most listened-to podcasts are minimally-cluttered.  So AM/FM stations are playing defense.

If we can’t control quantity (or even if we can) we need to obsess on quality.

At best, “typical” radio spots go in-one-ear-and-out-the-other.  Many commercials I hear in my travels are a caricature, cliché-riddled and/or rushed DJ-delivery voice-over-music.  There’s too little “eye contact” and not enough “YOU” and “YOUR.”

And too often, they air too often.  Don’t get me wrong: Frequency works!  But spots that air twice in two consecutive stopsets are begging for tune-out.

Who better to tell the story?

I am very involved with client stations’ sales prospecting and commercial Quality Control; and can recommend a technique that lands new accounts, and produces results:

  • Interview the prospect, unscripted. Unless he/she “can’t talk,” they’re their best story-teller.
  • In the proper sound environment, recording on your smartphone will suffice.
  • Lift sound bites.
  • Write-around, with lean announce copy.

 “How long ‘ya been in your house, 15 years?  If you never ran your vacuum on the inside of the house for 15 years, whattya think it’s gonna look like?”

That’s AdvantaClean owner Bill Young, advertising on client ConnectFM, urging listeners to get their heating ducts cleaned.

Working with the station rep, I did some commercials for this account, one-of-which you can hear here.  If you’re a digital subscriber, the link below is live.  If you’re reading this as hard copy, simply type this into your web browser, case-sensitive:

And feel free to rip-off Bill’s line about vacuuming, which is convincing.

Here’s the free prize inside: Listeners will tell the advertiser “I heard you on the radio.” ;)

Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  He is the author of the e-book “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

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Category: Advice