We loooovvvvvve to see the phone lines lit up. It seems to validate that the Listener is interested in what you’re doing on the air. (Actually, this can be a false impression, since only a tiny fraction of the audience makes up the entire pool of phone callers. But we’ll go deeper into that another time.)
Here’s how you tell if you have a topic that’s working, or just a bunch of blinking lights on the phone bank. It’s a litmus test that I refer to as “The Rule of the 3rd Call.”
If the first caller agrees with you, and the second caller disagrees with you, what does the third caller do?
If all the third caller can do is repeat what one of the first two callers said, it’s NOT a Topic. It’s just a poll.
If you want to do a poll, just say that. “We’ll decide this right now. Let’s take a poll. Next 10 callers, yes or no.” Then give the phone number, tally the voting as you go, and proclaim the results to be the absolute gospel truth. (The purpose of a poll is to come to a conclusion.)
One key to really making a Subject work is to avoid putting things on the air that lean toward “yes” or “no” responses.
What you want to elicit are EMOTIONAL responses from callers. Incidents or stories they relate based on what the Subject you’re talking about MEANS in their lives is what truly compelling radio is about.
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Radio Talent Coach
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.