Industry Views

Emotional Is Local

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling On Sunday
Talk Media Network

imMentioning a local street name won’t do it. Constant local references is not LOCAL LIVE, it’s a GOOGLE MAP!

For years, as VP/GM of the ABC Radio Networks, I explained to affiliates that, yes, our six network services were in fact local programming – local to a demographic.  The networks reached specific demographics and therefore were local to the heart and soul of a specific listener. (Yes, this usually worked!)

Today, true local programming hits an emotional moment in the day of the listener.  For example, by far the most topic response from listeners on “Sterling on Sunday” is to stories about my sister-in-law. The premise of these stories is that your sister-in-law controls your marriage. I share the horrors of life with my sister-in-law. The email, phone and Facebook response from listeners is stunning.

The greatest response to any host is when a listener is compelled to say “YES!” within the solitude of their car. That emotional response comes when a host shares their personal feelings, life events and experiences. It rarely comes from an interesting observation about today’s editorial page. Let me suggest that it NEVER comes from an interesting observation about today’s editorial page.

Bonding emotions are the result of a host’s personal, intimate revelations

Sharing personal, intimate emotions are pre-emptive. While other hosts may duplicate endless, dreary, old age attracting rants against Democrats, no two hosts have the same emotional life-events.

Mother-in-law, kid, marriage, sex, personal impact stories are singular, unique and MEMORABLE. Listeners return to hosts who tell personal, emotional stories. They want to hear what happens next, they remember the last host revelation and anticipate the next. Many radio stars share their personal stories every single day like Howard Stern and Elvis Duran.

Shared emotional appeal transcends demographics and geography. Emotions are universal and the foundation of a unique hit show.

Walter Sabo is Walter Sterling. Host of the hit Talk Media Network syndicated show “Sterling on Sunday. LIVE 10PM-1AM EST. Heard live 10:00 pm – 1:00 am live on affiliates KMOX, WPHT, KDKA, KMBZ-FM; and dozens more. Contact Walter at, 646.678.1110.