Radio Tips

The Goal


Can you keep a blind man’s attention?


That is your challenge, and goal as a radio host. A successful talk radio show is both informative and entertaining. If you are informative only, you will be dry and boring. If you are entertaining only, a listener comes away with nothing new of value to them.


And that blind man or woman (which is every radio listener) can’t be informed or entertained by your charts or graphs or pictures. You’re on the radio! There are no visuals, other than what images you can paint in the listener’s mind with your voice. There’s nothing to hang on to, but your every word…So make every word count!


You must entertain and inform to keep the audience listening…then you can sell.


To entertain you must have passion and sincerity in your voice…And you must let your personality shine thru. Don’t try to imitate another host you’ve heard.

Be yourself! You are trying to gain the trust of strangers. It is best to be authentic. 


To inform you must possess great knowledge of your product or service. You must also explain with clarity (say things simply) and quality (use just enough words). General knowledge is a good thing – too much detail stops the momentum of a radio show and hurts the entertaining part.


The Show


Show Prep - Expect to spend 60 minutes per week in preparation for your one hour show. This includes researching topics online and in the newspaper or business magazines. Create a list of show related favorite sites on your computer to visit for research weekly. Part of your homework includes time to schedule guest via phone or live in studio.


For each show, create notes or bullet points and an outline to shape the four segments. Keeping yourself organized will give you confidence because you are “directing” the show. Do not script the entire show. You will sound too stiff. It is talk radio and it should be a conversation, not a lecture. Like a good book or movie, your show should have a beginning, middle and an end. Don’t forget the sequel! Leave the listeners with a reason to tune in next week! 


Topics – Don’t do your show in a vacuum! You are part of the media. Each week make reference to events in the news locally, nationally or internationally pertaining to your area of business and show subject matter. Plan to be part of the media. On a calendar, make note of events relative to your business that happen yearly. It’s good to plan ahead to have guests and research materials that highlight those events. Trade shows, charity fund raisers, sporting events are a few examples. Contact event organizers and ask for some free tickets in exchange for an on-air mention or interview. Give the tickets away to listeners or attend the event yourself for networking. Again, don’t do your show in a vacuum! Connect your show to the real world and the listeners will connect to you. Radio is a personal medium, and works best when a listener connects with the host – almost feels like the host is only talking to him or her. You want the listener to connect personally with your topic of the day.


Opening Monologue - The music intro that begins your show is playing, the recorded announcer voice says “and now… Here’s Johnnie!” …..What now? Well, you’ll do best to plan a couple of lines for an opener. Just like a personal introduction or a job interview, the first few seconds either gains or loses the person’s attention. Make it cute. Make it relevant to the news. Make it whatever… Jay Leno does it every night. It works for him. You just need to do it once a week. Do it. It works. Then give a quick rundown of what your show topics (and guest) are for the hour. 


Going to commercial break - Your board operator has given you the 2-minute warning. You wrap up your topical conversation. Then a 1-minute warning. You give out your guests contact info or your own company contact info. You hear your “breaker” music. 30 seconds left to convince the audience to stay tuned after the commercials. The media refers to it as a “teaser”. It’s the cliffhanger. Something like this…. 



Health - “I’m Dr. Tom Smith, he’s Claude Jones – you’re listening to ‘Living Right’ on ‘Independent Talk' 1100 KFNX.”  Stay tuned. When we come back…we’ll tell you the real causes of heart disease!”  

Business – “When we come back, The Fed …and where those interest rates are going!”



Returning from Commercial Break – A show recap is good when you return from break, like a quick summary of the main topic or re-introduction of your guest. The listener may have missed your opening monologue, etc. – or just got in their car and turned on the radio.




“Hi, welcome back to ‘Living Right’ – I’m Dr. Tom Smith along side my co-host, Claude Jones. We’ve been discussing healthy diets, and what defines a good vegetable… now let’s talk about heart disease….”



Recurring Segments – Schedule the same respected guest who is an expert on your topic or business on a weekly or monthly basis. Spend 5 minutes with them weekly, 15-30 minutes if they appear monthly. You can also create a special segment (business example - Weekly Credit Tip) that you prepare and announce each week. 



Callers – Listeners become callers when you give them a reason to call. You can’t just say “Call me at 602-277-KFNX”.  You must be specific and create a visualization of a problem they have, which you’ve convinced them you can solve, because you have entertained them (and therefore you seem approachable) and have informed them (they trust your great knowledge of your business or service) by saying it with clarity (so they’ll understand your possible solution) and with a quality answer (just enough words to make their problem go away) I know that was way too much. Read it again.



“If you think interest rates are rising and your housing payment is going to increase – call me to discuss your potential economic crisis at 602-277-KFNX.”


“Credit ratings affect more than you know – do you know your credit score? Call me if you do at 602-277-KFNX.”


            Extra Tips


Topics - Pick show topics you connect with, or have a high interest in. It will come across better to your audience. Listeners know when a host cares about the topic.


Setup - Have a water bottle with you at the show to keep hydrated. Also have a pad and pen to write quick notes if needed during your show.


Pitch / Tone / Posture – Pay attention to your posture when you host your show. Sit up in your chair, it will help your energy, and give you better command of your voice. Practice your voice tone, and talking clearly. Sometimes it helps to slow down a little when making a good point. Talking fast on the radio usually never works well. You are an authority and want to sound like one.



Good Luck with your Radio Show. 



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