Monday Memo: But Wait, There’s More!

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I worked with the late great Larry King four times, and I can sum-up how he got those he was interviewing to say something they didn’t say in other interviews along the PR tour by quoting his RT America show promo: “I never learned anything while I was talking.”

So thanks for compliments and to those who shared my column here last week: “Talk Radio 101: LISTEN.”

But this warning: Whenever you tell a consultant “Cool idea,” you’re asking for more…

  • When you give out the call-in number, read it like the winning lottery number. You – and those boring “regulars” – have it memorized. The first-time callers you want don’t.
  • And be overt: Say “Call me right now,” so they know it’s their turn.
  • Round-off teases. I often hear well-intentioned hosts plug something-coming-up “in seventeen minutes” or “at six fifty-three,” as though listeners were taking notes. DO make an appointment with listeners for what’s coming up. But simply say that it’s “coming up.”  Spare busy motorists the math. When life’s a blur, nobody thinks they can wait seventeen minutes.
  • Purge from your on-air vocabulary: “After this break…” Even just one…more…minute of Time Spent Listening could be all you need to qualify for another Quarter Hour of ratings credit. In the listener’s mind, “After this break” = “Here come commercials.” And why identify commercials as “a break?” Especially in talk radio, where they interrupt less than on music radio. You yourself might be delivering one of those spots, perhaps it’s an endorsement and you’ll be judged by results.
  • Then, AFTER the break: Avoid thanking a caller “for holding on.” This tells the busy people advertisers want to meet – and voices we want to join the on-air conversation — that they haven’t got time to play.
  • DO say the call letters. The #1 PPM misconception is that – since the meter is listening – it matters less whether the listener remembers them. Baloney. Awareness drives use. And because the sample size is so small, every meter matters. So tell ‘em who you are…and WHERE you are, your dial position.
  • And say YOUR name more often too. Advertisers pay big money to say their names on your air. Like advertisers, YOU are a brand too.

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here; and“Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page), and. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke