Monday Memo: BOOM!

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — CNN reports: “Special counsel Durham alleges Clinton campaign lawyer used data to raise suspicions about Trump.” Righties light-up Twitter with “BOOM!”

Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book says White House staff “periodically discovered wads of printed paper clogging a toilet,” which they believed the president was responsible for. Lefties light-up Twitter with “BOOM!”

Many days, these gotchas become radio talkers’ snark du jour.

Battle lines are drawn, and we’re quick to pounce

No need to name names.

  • One side wants to make voting easier; the other side wants to make it harder.
  • Immigration? One side talks about cause; the other is focused on effect.
  • There are two sides to every story, right?

Whatever the issue, each side has prefabricated a narrative. And whenever the other side’s take hiccups we “BOOM!” But to what end?

What is the desired outcome of “BOOM?”

Certainly, there’s validation potential. People who happen to see things differently MUST be wrong, right? “BOOM!” affirms our predispositions. It wins the moment. But don’t we want more?

Time Spent Listening (TSL) is the name of the game.

  • Nothing you say on-air will bring new listeners, because the only people who hear you are already listening. And – with off-air promotion budgets now gutted – assume that the audience you have is the audience you’ll have.
  • Goal: Get that existing cume to listen more-minutes-per occasion, and more occasions per week (think same-time-tomorrow, what the ratings people call “horizontal maintenance”).
  • Can we use “BOOM!” to accomplish that?

Talk radio’s advantage over other formats: Listeners’ voices

“BOOM!” celebrates dysfunction. What if, instead, we use “BOOM!” to tee-up “What if, instead…?

Ask callers what they think it would take to fix what’s broken.

  • Expect lots standard-issue narrative, which will reassure the like-minded. And caller-after-caller will make you sound popular, something advertisers notice.
  • But some might surprise you, with an ingenious solution to the dilemma “BOOM!” exposes.
  • And lots of callers – something advertisers notice — make you sound more popular than windy host rants.

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 exclusively from Talkers books. 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