Monday Memo: Selling the Sorehead Show | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine

Monday Memo: Selling the Sorehead Show

| July 19, 2021

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Last week’s column dealt with the product aspect of talk radio’s negativity problem. This week, about sales.

Face facts:

  • We live in a divided America. Many are dug-into “rigged election” and similar grievance mantras.
  • Say “talk radio,” and you conjure a caricature. A decade ago Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke faux pas scared-away major advertisers who never came back.

This can still be a business.

  • Before the band lost its lead singer I was always impressed when I heard affiliate station reps “calling from The Rush Limbaugh Show.” For the same reason, smart sellers are “calling from [name of NFL team] radio” this month.
  • Affinity = entre.

Buyers don’t buy what you sell.

They buy who you are. So prospect the like-minded.

  • Low-hanging fruit: Stores that fly big American flags; although car stores — many of which do — might have inventory issues now. Many retailers are in the same predicament, as the supply chain is still reeling from pandemic shutdown.
  • Look the part. Wear the flag lapel pin. But keep it nondenominational and skip the Mike Lindell prop cross. Many retailers might worship elsewhere, and/or not appreciate trading-on The Lord’s name, and/or not want to be preached-to.
  • Otherwise don’t be subtle. To receptive retailers, BE, for instance, “The Patriotic Blowtorch of the Red River Valley, the Beacon of Faith, Family, Freedom and the enemy of fake news and the cancel culture.”

A$$e$$ your a$$et$.

  • FOX News, still. Though the brand never fully recovered from the scorn they earned by reporting 2020 election results, it’s still righty radio’s on-hour best bet “for a quick update, throughout your busy day.” Selling a 10-second sponsor ID plays radio’s frequency game nicely, and there’s room for a succinct slogan, i.e., “The Patio Center at East Texas Brick, making your outdoor space your favorite place!”
  • And sell title-sponsored “Alerts.” I remember scoffing at a 1990s FOX News Alert: “Michael Jackson Upset Over News Coverage.” But years later this cry-wolf bit seems not to have backfired. If Donald Trump taught us anything it’s that false hope is seductive and memory is fleeting. Let a sponsor own bulletins, the way that many snowbelt stations title-sponsor blizzard cancellations.
  • Sell guns. You saw those January 6 rioters. Many others are THAT crazy, and the rest of us are increasingly fearful. Two decades before “Gun Talk with Tom Gresham” began co-sponsoring this column, I was recommending it to client stations. The first sale most affiliates quickly make is learn-to-shoot lessons.
  • Churches: Post-pandemic, they’re passing-the-plate again. I’m NOT saying air live longform Sunday morning services, which are terrible radio and hurt Monday tune-in. Instead, think ROS spots, 60-second sermonettes, much better exposure for the client.
  • Brainstorm other opportunities.


Useful copy points:

  • Advertisers’ wares/services are “common sense” solutions.
  • For legacy businesses and methods: “the way it’s always been” (among various homespun MAGA-compatible winks I’ve caught from Food Network’s “Pioneer Woman,” who sure understands her audience).
  • “Family”

If the half-dozen syndicated successors who have splintered the EIB audience have half-a-brain they’ll read affiliates’ local commercials at non-confiscatory fees.

Pandering may get the order, but results earn renewals.

I recommend specific copy points in the video “Make Money with Endorsement Spots.” Click “For Sales” at the top of the page at

Holland Cooke is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). He is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And HC hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice