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Monday Memo: “And While I Have You…”

| August 2, 2021

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Snapshots of the status quo:

  • Stations with local talent – characters familiar and visible to and interacting with listeners — are conspicuous, compared to robotic AM/FMs and digital competitors.
  • Talk radio is advantaged over music radio. It’s never on-in-the-background. And at its best, it makes the audience the show. People are no longer content to merely consume media. They love selfies.
  • Digital media shares SO well. When broadcasters “go viral,” users are evangelizing for us.
  • Many stations’ promotional budgets are near-non-existent.
  • We need revenue from digital.

Make your work count twice

Or three times.

When you’re out-and-about – news people covering, for instance, the city council meeting – or hosts and DJs on the midway at the county fair — use that thing-in-your-pocket-we-used-to-call “a phone” to gather vox populi. Ask them…something else.

Radio talkers I work with are familiar with “The Bonus Question” I recommend asking, in addition to topic du jour. Give callers two reasons to show up. Two Bonus Question examples, which lit-up the lines for a Dallas host I coach:

  • As wildfires rage out west: “If you had ONE MINUTE to evacuate your house, which you might never see again, what would you grab?” Local accents localize The Big Story Elsewhere.
  • Or “How are YOU feeling inflation?”

Every caller told a story; and some called because of the Bonus Question, offering no take on topic A.

Do this in person

As attendees are chatting after the city council meeting adjourns, or when you’re appearing…wherever, ask such a question. Gather and montage and “productize” responses.

  • News people: You’ll harvest man-on-the-street actuality for newscasts.
  • Or create a recurring weekly or daily feature, which can be title-sponsored. Think well-edited 30- or 60-second vignettes that fit in a spot avail, essentially commercials disguised as info features. And if you do…

Want to go-viral?

If those you interview are on Twitter, include their @handle when you Tweet-out a link to the vignette. Their moment in the spotlight. They’ll re-Tweet to their followers.

And that Tweet can contain the client’s @handle and short slogan. The Patio Center at East Texas Brick is too busy “making your outdoor space your favorite place” to produce this podcast. You can.

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