Monday Memo: Don't List To-Do | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Monday Memo: Don’t List To-Do

| December 16, 2019

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Talkers: DON’T begin your show with a list of what-you’re-planning-to-talk-about today.

  • The listeners local advertisers want to reach most are busy people, high-TSL in-car users.  Every time they stop that car, they take money out of their pockets.  Got that picture?
  • These folks have their own To-Do lists, and theirs are probably longer than yours.  You get to sit still for 3 or 4 hours. So it’s your job to keep-up-with them, not vice-versa.  Everything we do needs to be as helpful, useful, and listener-centric as possible; and succinctly offered.

Logical enough, right?  Yet, too typically, hosts I hear in my travels sound like they think listeners are sitting remarkably still, taking notes on graph paper.  The show, or the hour, begins with a list of all-the-things-I’ll-be-getting-to over the next several hours.

News flash: You might be the only person who will hear your whole show. 

Anyone else who does might be too sedentary to be attractive to advertisers.

  • Applause for show prep!  DO go in with enough material for your entire show (and then some, just in case).  DON’T recite the whole list in your open. It sounds more onerous and self-centered than you realize; and nobody’s taking dictation.
  • Tell listeners whassup RIGHT NOW, the call-in proposition you’re inviting them to weigh-in-on RIGHT NOW.  And, as you announce the call-in number S-L-O-W-L-Y, say “Call me right now.”
  • And – quickly – tease one other thing they’ll want to stick-around-for no more than an hour-later, i.e., if your show begins at 2PM: “When I heard the news this morning that Eddie Money died, I went looking for the tape of my interview with him last year. And when I found it, I heard something that gave me chills.  Wait’ll you hear what he predicted…right after the news at three.  But first, this hour…”
  • Set the bar real high for teasing what’s-coming-up an-hour-and-a-half-or-longer yonder, when many listening now may no longer be near radio.  “And right-after the news at four, Governor Brian Kemp will be here to announce another movie that’ll be filming here soon, and they will be casting for extras.  So if you’re interested in auditioning, stick around.”

Don’t take my word for this!  Try it.  You will like the results

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” from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page for an instant download.  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