Monday Memo: The Lightning Round

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Grab the arm rest! Validating the consultant stereotype, here are 9-ideas-in-8-minutes…

  1. Effective commercial copy point: “It’s time to get together again.”

Seen those Applebee’s TV spots featuring the old “Cheers” theme? Instant feel-good.

Pandemic fatigue = cabin fever. So restaurants – and other retailers offering an experience – want to sound inviting.

  1. Cute commercial copy point: “Bad credit? NO credit? Don’t sweat it.”

Tacky, clichéd loud-auto-dealer stuff? You betcha. And memorable.

  1. Best commercial length: 30 seconds?

Per recent study by audio analytics researchers Veritonic in partnership with Audacy.

Audacy SVP, research & insights Idil Cakim:

  • “Ads that ran for 30 seconds outperformed others on most key performance indicators such as engagement, brand effect, and recall, and were also heard as more trustworthy, likable and relevant.”
  • “You might want to do a longer ad when explaining a new product, and shift to shorter when you’re well‐known and want to gain frequency.”
  1. Don’t say “is” in timechecks.
  • Instead of “WXXX News Time is 506,” say “WXXX News Time: 506.”
  • Why: Present tense is implicit. They get that you’re telling them what time it is NOW.
  • And doing as many timechecks as you should – and you should – repeating “is” gets old.
  1. Don’t say “PSA.”

It’s lingo. Say “Public Service Announcement.”

To non-broadcasters, PSA is a prostate cancer screening men SHOULD ask doctors about.

  1. Remaining news people: Don’t say “The public is asked…”

Re-write that press release, willya?

Radio is an intimate, one-on-one experience. You’re talking to one person. Don’t talk about him-or-her like they’re not in the room.

  1. Remaining news people: Advance the story.
  • Example: News that The New York Times was buying Wordle broke in afternoon drive.
  • Next morning, it was still being reported as such.
  • Better next-morning lead: “Wordle will remain free…for now.”

Avoid the-little-voice-in-the-listener’s-head saying “You already told me that” by leading with a newer-sounding aspect.

  1. Is it “sometimes?” Or “often?” Or “usually?” Or “almost always?”

Beware overstatement, which is costing talk radio its credibility.

  1. Lingo Alert: “Content”

A talker who recently transitioned from full-time on-air to podcasting emailed her list “Yes! I’m still putting out content every day!”

APPLAUSE FOR THAT, but, instead, consider “I’m here every day?” or “Join me every day!”

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available exclusively from Talkers books and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke