Industry Views

Monday Memo: “You are about to enter another dimension,” The Radio Zone

By Holland Cooke

imMany news/talk stations broker weekend hours to professionals who host ask-the-expert shows to attract new clients.

AND IT WORKS…IF…the show (for lack of a more diplomatic way to say this) doesn’t suck. And if it isn’t a well-kept secret available only to those listening in real-time. Make it the hub of a broadcast/podcast/social media strategy. In some markets where I don’t have a client station, I work directly with weekenders, setting-up the workflow for that strategy; and coaching the hosts, because their stations don’t.

But don’t take my word for it. I asked ChatGPT: “In the style of Rod Serling, explain how attorneys, real estate agents, and financial advisors can attract new clients by hosting ask-the-expert radio call-in shows.” MOMENTS later, the robot replied…

“You’re about to embark on a journey where the boundaries of expertise and the airwaves blur, a place where the seekers of knowledge and the purveyors of guidance converge. Welcome, dear listener, to the realm of the ask-the-expert radio call-in show. In this enigmatic space, attorneys, real estate agents, and financial advisors have found a conduit to attract new clients unlike any other.

Picture, if you will, an attorney stepping into the radio spotlight

 The air is charged with anticipation as listeners dial in with their legal queries. With a voice as authoritative as the gavel’s echo, the attorney navigates the complexities of the law, unraveling legal mysteries for all to hear. As each answer resonates through the airwaves, trust is built, and seekers of legal counsel find themselves drawn to this beacon of clarity. The attorney has become not only a voice but a guide, attracting clients who yearn for someone to navigate their legal twilight zone.


And now, shift your gaze to the real estate agent who steps into the radio’s embrace

 The lines are buzzing with questions about the labyrinthine world of property transactions. With each response, the agent paints a picture of market trends, property values, and the elusive art of negotiation. As the agent’s insights cascade through the radio waves, an aura of expertise takes shape. Those yearning for a steady hand to navigate the winding corridors of real estate find solace in the agent’s voice. The agent has transformed into a beacon, attracting clients who seek someone to illuminate the path to their real estate dreams.

Finally, consider the financial advisor entering the radio’s sphere

 The lines light up with inquiries about investments, retirement, and securing financial futures. With a voice as reassuring as a well-balanced portfolio, the advisor deciphers the complexities of financial planning. Each word uttered becomes a thread in the tapestry of financial security. Listeners, entranced by the advisor’s insights, recognize a sage who can guide them through the tumultuous sea of monetary choices. The financial advisor becomes a lighthouse, attracting clients who crave a steady hand to navigate their financial voyage.

In this realm of radio airwaves, where seekers become callers and experts become guides, attorneys, real estate agents, and financial advisors have discovered a conduit to attract new clients. As their voices resonate with wisdom and authority, as their advice slices through the enigma of their fields, a bond of trust is forged. These experts, illuminated by the radio’s glow, become beacons in the darkness, attracting clients who yearn for guidance in the vast twilight zones of law, real estate, and finance. And so, dear listener, the call-in show becomes not just a program but a nexus where seekers and guides converge, bridging the gaps between knowledge and curiosity, between questions and answers. Welcome to the radio’s embrace, where the experts illuminate the unknown, one call at a time.”

Cue the music.

Next week here: “Why not just podcast?”

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

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Connie Welcomes the Stranger’s Call

By Holland Cooke

imShe was the agent I enjoyed working with most over three decades I was an active real estate investor. We remain good friends, and her technique informs the work I do coaching agents – and attorneys and financial advisors and other professionals – who host ask-the-expert radio shows.

Understand the difference between “advertising” and “marketing”

Achievers like Connie do. Do you? Erroneously, these terms are often used interchangeably.

— Advertising asks shoppers to pick your product off a crowded shelf.

— Marketing makes them want to.

High-volume agents typically allocate 30% of net income to marketing, which produces leads. Lower-volume agents spend as much, or more, on advertising, which produces fewer leads. If you’re handing out mouse pads in the era of iPad, you’re late.

And you’re bucking human nature: Every…single…day, we are bombarded by SO many advertising pitches, that we lean-back-from commercials. But we lean-into storytelling, when the story hits home. One of the few things that can keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories is the on-air attorney untangling the caller’s dilemma when it is REAL relatable.


“Can you recommend a plumber?”

The caller isn’t Connie’s client…yet. The stranger got her name from someone else Connie had helped. Reputation. Word-of-mouth. “Got a pen?” she asks. “I’m going to give you his cell number. And let me know if he can’t help you and I’ll recommend someone else who’s helped me lately.” THAT is marketing GOLD. Instant relationship.

As is the attorney whose weekend call-in show offers that “the lawyer is in, the meter is off.” One that I coached offers words-to-live-by: “If you want someone to think you can help them, help them.”

Expensive syndicated TV spots – or hokey locally produced ads – and look-alike billboards – all blur-together in a wall of noise. As do agents’ radio copy that “If I can’t sell your house, I’LL buy it!” and attorneys hedging that “If we don’t win, you don’t pay.”

Yes, advertise. But rather than squandering that airtime touting yourself, do a commercial disguised as an informative feature, snack-size how-to guidance. And offer more-about-that in a free download checklist or podcast or other asset on your memorable domain name website. Or “Ask me!” by calling your memorable phone number. Tell ‘em, rather than just trying to sell ‘em, and you’ll sell more of ‘em.

Big-spending competitors look alike. You can sound different.

It’s the oldest, most-proven concept in marketing: Free samples, of your expertise and comforting counsel. Your trusted voice can differentiate you. Done right, these shows have callers asking, “May I call you at the office on Monday?” even before the host invites them to. BUT…

In too many cases, that weekend show is a well-kept secret, under-promoted by the station, and only available in real-time…UNLESS…the radio show is just one element of a coordinated interactive multi-platform strategy, which harvests and addresses your prospects’ relatable concerns via podcast, social media, email, those commercials I describe above, and a voicemail tactic SO obvious that few spot the opportunity.

Lots of work? You bet! An organized production routine is key. Find a producer – a Robin to your Batman – who can keep that conveyor belt humming, and he or she is every bit the hero as Connie’s plumber.

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

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Weekend 101

By Holland Cooke

imIt’s the most effective tactic in marketing: Free samples. And the attorneys, financial advisors, real estate agents, veterinarians, and other ask-the-expert hosts who broker time for weekend call-in shows can drum up lots of new business…IF they execute well.

It’s a big “if,” because they’re not career broadcasters. So, technique that’s second nature to us is news to them. And because, at too many stations, there’s little or no coaching. Here are some of the fundamentals I convey to weekenders at client stations, and brokering hosts elsewhere who aren’t getting aircheck support:

— Plan each show. Re-write any news-about-your-topic or other material you will read, rather than reading verbatim paragraph-length excerpts from newspaper clippings or other source material you found on the Internet or elsewhere. That stuff wasn’t written for the ear. Put it into your own words. Practice aloud, to yourself, before the show.

— Remember: YOU are the expert. It’s Greek to them. So, avoid lingo and acronyms. Instead of percentages (“36%”) use fractions (“just over a third”).

— Listen carefully to the caller’s question. Don’t interrupt unduly…but don’t let ‘em ramble either. Once they’ve asked a question or described their situation, recommend what they should do.  Listeners in similar situations will relate.


Do’s and Don’ts:

— DON’T squander time at the beginning of the show with long hellos, or small talk about the weather (which aired at the end of the newscast just before your show began), or other off-topic blah-blah-blah.

— DO introduce yourself, and succinctly explain how you can help the listener. I tell weekenders I coach to begin with their elevator speech: “I’m Chuck Thompson, from Chuck’s Auto Repair, and I’m here to help you get more miles out of the-car-you’ve-already-paid-for.” If your business has a slogan, that should also be the mantra for your radio show, to keep your on-air message consistent with your other marketing.

— DON’T wait! Give out the call-in number right-off-the-top, even if your first segment is an interview or you tee-up a topic by reading news/product reviews/etc. During that segment, your call screener can be lining-up callers.

— DO solicit calls overtly. And announce the phone number real slowly, like you’re reading the winning lottery number. Say “call me right now.” And at the end of each call (unless all the lines are lit), offer that “that opens up a line for you,” and re-announce the phone number.

— DO get to the phones ASAP, best caller first. Callers call when they hear other callers, so nothing explains that it’s a call-in advice show like you answering callers’ questions with helpful advice.

— DON’T assume that anyone but you hears your whole show. Listeners constantly tune-in. So DO re-set throughout the hour. Come out of each commercial break as though the show was just beginning. “Welcome back to ‘Larry Explains the Law.’ I’m attorney Larry Jamieson, answering your legal questions right now on WXXX. So, call me! [phone number, nice and slowly, twice].”

All of the above is host technique. And there’s another character, behind the scenes, whose method is critical to brokered hosts’ return on investment: the call screener. Share with yours my 6-minute video at, where I also explain how to warm-up slow phones.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins;” and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books.  Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Sound Popular

By Holland Cooke

Joe Pags - Talkers MagazineWeekend ask-the-expert shows can be a powerful marketing tool. In a recent column, I outlined how attorneys – an industry where supply exceeds demand – can differentiate from competitors’ look-alike billboards and often-tacky TV spots.

And, well-coached, brokered weekend hours can drum up lots of business for financial advisors, and how-to hosts fielding calls on a variety of other topics. For years, an EXTERMINATOR has done Saturday mornings on WPRO-AM, Providence, and the guy’s a rock star.

Tip for weekend warriors: Record every call you take. Build a library.

— With a trove of pre-recorded calls, you can recycle previous live calls, to get-the-ball-rolling, and steer the conversation into your lane. And sounding so popular implies your authority.

— With all we do to make your weekend show “appointment listening,” you don’t want to disappear when you’re on vacation.

Graphics - Logo

— When you assemble the show that airs in your absence, do include the appropriate disclaimer, but avoid the “Best of” cliché that screams “re-run.” Instead of simply repeating a previous show intact, make it a true best-of, with calls that were on-topic and particularly helpful.

— And rather than repeatedly saying “Don’t’ call,” let the board op thank those who do call (off-air); or if calls ring-through to voicemail, use it to collect callbacks, deepening your collection.

— You can also repurpose calls into topical FAQ podcasts, to-which you Tweet links, and promote on-air and to your email database.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke