We hear the “Topics and phone calls” thing WAY too much nowadays, but there are times that it’ll work—like if you want to give something away. I’ve done this a lot over the years. “The best suggestion wins” is a great way to get listeners on the air for a very specific reason, and avoid the typical “please do my show for me” sound of mindless “what do you think?” responses about a lukewarm topic.
So let’s dive into this just a little deeper…
First, a phoner only works when it begins with a real-life story or observation. Otherwise, it just sounds like some generic radio bit.
So if you have something that does get some response, think about these things:
1. Vary your resets. If you get into each call the same way, it gets stale really fast.
Here are two examples I heard just the other day. (The names were changed to protect the stupid):
[1st break] “KNRL and Sheryl Crow with ‘First Cut is the Deepest,’ it’s 8:15, I’m Seymour Farquad, hi, who’s this?”
[2nd break] “KNRL with Bruno Mars and ‘When I Was Your Man,’ I’m Seymour Farquad, hi, who’s this?”
When the “opens” are almost identical—either in your wording or in the order of the basic elements—to the person in the car, it’s “been there; heard that” followed by a click. (We never want the click.)
Instead of just rattling off the “basics”, use a different, concise “camera angle” each time, and more people will stay with you.
2. Never carry a phone thing over the top of an hour, into the next hour. Since that’s a likely tune-in place, the listener just tuning in has no idea of why this would come up. Plus, to someone who did hear some of the previous calls, it can seem like you’re just “milking” it, which makes you come across like a one-trick pony. New hour = new material.
3. Always remember the Golden Rule of phone calls: Any call you run better be as good as the best song you play. Otherwise, I’m gone.
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Radio Talent Coach
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.