Industry Views

Monday Memo: Are Your Weekend Promos Upside-down?

By Holland Cooke

imAvoid THE most-common mistake I hear in promos for talk stations’ weekend ask-the-expert shows: Opening with the Close.

I coach attorneys/real estate agents/personal finance advisors and other pay-for-play weekend hosts, both on-behalf of client stations, and working directly with these professionals in other markets. Done right, these shows ROI like crazy… but too often they’re well-kept secrets. So, it’s important that weekday promos invite weekend tune-in.

Tip: DON’T begin the promo with the host introducing him/herself and naming the show and when it airs. Instead: Like good commercial copy, the Close (asking for tune-in in this case) comes at the end of the promo.


Open by stating the listener issues that tuning-in can help inform. Examples:

Attorney: “Have you been injured? Before you accept the insurance company’s offer…”

Real estate agent: “Are you shopping for your first home? Or downsizing?”

Money-talk host: “Is there too much month left at-the-end-of the money?”

Note The Two Magic Words: “you” and “your.”

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio” and “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke and connect on LinkedIn.

Industry Views

Kim Komando is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast


Syndicated talk radio star, newspaper columnist, and internationally renowned technology expert Kim Komando is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Known to her millions of listeners and readers as “America’s Digital Goddess,” Komando has been burning up the news and talk radio airwaves as a leading authority on the evolving technology and sociological impact of the digital era for the past three decades. Among her numerous honors, she is a Radio Hall of Fame inductee and past recipient of the TALKERS magazine Woman of the Year award. This outstanding broadcaster and modern-day thinker produces, hosts, and distributes a weekend radio talk show, a couple of new daily shows and a number of short-form features about computers and digital technology from her studio at WestStar TalkRadio Network in Phoenix, Arizona along with her husband Barry Young, a legendary radio personality in his own right and an extremely adept businessman. Together they built a multi-million-dollar empire based on her keen intelligence, outstanding personality and extraordinary understanding of the new era. Harrison and Komando engage in an illuminating conversation about the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence and other technological developments that are changing the world at lightning speed, including the two-pronged threat of Big Tech’s growing domestic power and China’s push for international hegemony. Don’t miss this! Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

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 News

Top News/Talk Media Stories Over the Weekend

Former President Donald Trump’s “come after me I come after you” response to his indictment on charges related to January 6; the Hunter Biden on hold plea deal and calls for an investigation into the Biden family finances; the 2024 presidential race; A Ukrainian woman is arrested on charges of being part of a plot to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky; the Russian and Chinese ships found patrolling near Alaska last week; the hoopla surrounding the possible Elon MuskMark Zuckerberg cage match; and the Barbie movie hits record $1 billion in box office receipts were some of the most-talked-about stories in news/talk media over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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

Front Page News Industry News

Monday, March 21, 2022

Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Renegotiate. Weekend ask-the-expert shows exploit the most proven concept in marketing: free samples. Common example: The lawyer is in, the meter is off. Done well, these shows can grow all sorts of service businesses. In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke describes “an EXTERMINATOR who’s a rock star!” But HC observes that, “too often these shows are well-kept secrets because stations don’t promote them properly.” And in this week’s column he shares “two magic words” and other deal points for hosts who broker Saturday/Sunday airtime. Read it here.


Pending Business: Reimagining How News/Talk is Sold. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column in TALKERS that “chances are you are still pitching the news/talk format the same way you did when podcasting was still a rumor. Is anyone still wondering why podcast ad sales are exploding, while news/talk radio is proud to be hitting 2019 levels?” He suggests sales teams reimagine how news/talk radio is sold. Read more here.


Exclusive ‘Kim Komando Show’ to Air on WLS-AM, Chicago on Friday Nights. A new deal between Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talk WLS-AM and WestStar TalkRadio Network is bringing Kim Komando to the station’s listeners for a one-hour, Friday night program produced exclusively for WLS. The 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm show debuts this Friday (3/25) and “will showcase the latest news and insights in digital-lifestyle and technology that helps improve the daily lives of Chicagoland listeners.” Komando’s award-winning, nationally syndicated three-hour weekend show is also heard on WLS-AM 890 every Saturday and Sunday night from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are thrilled to have more of Radio Hall of Famer Kim Komando on the ‘Big 89.’ For over 25 years, Kim has been part of the WLS-AM family, providing our listeners with the latest tech news. Now she brings that experience to Friday nights at WLS, where listeners will learn more about why tech matters.” Komando comments, “People have different interests — politics, cars, cooking — you name it. But there is one thing that affects us all and that’s tech. It’s hard to navigate Big Tech taking our privacy along with the hackers, scammers and stalkers. You can Google anything. You can’t Google trusted advice and that’s why I am honored to be our nation’s premier digital expert. I’m thrilled that WLS sees my show worthy for the Friday schedule. Tech isn’t a hobby. It’s our lives.”


Christopher Layfield Named OM for Cumulus Indianapolis. Radio programming pro Christopher “Boomer” Layfield is promoted to operations manager for Cumulus Media’s Indianapolis station group that includes sports talk WXNT-AM and five music brands. Layfield joined Cumulus Indianapolis in April 2018 and served as one of two operations managers for the cluster until January, and as program director for country WFMS-FM. He will continue to program WFMS-FM and adult contemporary WNTR-FM. Layfield comments, “It truly is a thrill for me to be able to work with such a gifted group of radio pros at these iconic broadcasting brands here in Indianapolis. Being given the chance to continue to lead these teams at this level is something that I look forward to making the most of, working together for the benefit of our listeners and advertisers… and having fun doing it! I’d like to thank Chuck Fredrick, Doug Hamand and Dave Milner for this amazing opportunity.”

Adam ‘The Bull’ Gerstenhaber to Exit Cleveland’s ‘92.3 The Fan’ on April 1. According to a report in TheFocusAdam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber told his listeners that he will leave Audacy’s sports talk WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” on April 1. Gerstenhaber, who co-hosts the afternoon drive “Bull & Fox” with Dustin Fox, has been with the station for almost 11 years. Gerstenhaber is not saying what his plans are for his  post-Fan career but tweeted: “In case you missed it, I am leaving @923TheFan. The last @BullandFox show will be April 1st (No, this is not an April fools joke). I leave with nothing but love for everyone…especially @DustinFox37 and @KeithBritton86!!”


NFL Insider and KIRO-AM Personality John Clayton Remembered. After last week’s passing of longtime sports media figure and NFL insider John Clayton, Bonneville International’s Seattle staff are remembering him with tributes. Clayton was a personality on the company’s KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports” for the past 14 years. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “John was a treasured member of our team. John was a legend in our industry and a true Hall-of-Famer. He was a consistent advocate for the game of football. His connections, friendships and relationships throughout the sports world were simply unmatched. His love of football was only surpassed by his love, loyalty and dedication to his wife Pat. John will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and his family and friends.” KIRO-AM program director Kyle Brown adds, “John was an amazing journalist, colleague and friend. A Hall-of-Famer both personally and professionally, John was one of the most loyal people you’d ever meet. While his loyalty extended to friends and co-workers, it was never stronger than in his commitment to his beloved wife Pat, who he cherished every moment of his life. Our ‘Seattle Sports’ family will miss John dearly and keep his family in our hearts.”


TALKERS News Notes. The air talent at Salem Radio Network – including Larry Elder, Sebastian Gorka and others – have been appealing for donations to the non-profit Food for the Poor, which provides food, water and medical supplies to 17 Caribbean and Latin American countries has no “footprint” in Eastern Europe. SRN announces that Food for the Poor has reached an alliance with Feed My Starving Children, which has had staff on the ground in Ukraine for the past eight years, and so effective today (3/21), SRN hosts will generate donations to rush food, clean water and other relief supplies to over 3 million Ukrainian refugees. SRN host Mike Gallagher says, “It took some diplomatic maneuvering between these two awesome charities to combine forces in order to rush emergency relief to the children and families of war-torn Ukraine. All of us at SRN are proud to play a role in this unique campaign, and we’ll be urging our listeners to open their hearts – and their wallets – in the exciting days ahead.”…..The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” announces the addition of new affiliate stations. Launched last fall, the show adds WJFP-AM, Philadelphia; KMZQ-AM, Las Vegas; KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz, California; and WJFP-FM, Trenton, New Jersey. The “Rob Carson Show” airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, the same time slot that Rush Limbaugh occupied. Newsmax notes that Carson wrote comedy for Limbaugh for over 20 years.


Russia-Ukraine War/Biden Europe Trip, Gas Prices/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Jackson Confirmation Hearings, and Kanye Cut from Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the weekend attacks on Kyiv, plus President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Europe; soaring gas prices in the U.S. and the still rising price of consumer retail goods; the battle for control of Congress in November’s mid-term elections, the Republican prospects for president in 2024 and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rising rate of the Omicron variant BA.2 cases in some parts of the world and the U.S.; this week’s start of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Kanye West is ousted from performance at Grammy Awards for his “concerning online behavior” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.


Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Renegotiate

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Weekend ask-the-expert shows exploit the most proven concept in marketing: free samples.

Common example: The lawyer is in, the meter is off. Q+A about callers’ situations is relatable to other listeners. And hearing the attorney’s approachable manner, prospective clients come to know him or her better than others whose look-alike billboards and boastful TV commercials all blur together.