Improving Radio Talkback Shows
by Joe Carlos
Effective callers’ screening before a radio talk show starts can prevent a free-for-all or an add-on to the topic discussion, thereby helping create a vibrant programme.
It helps identify callers with interesting ideas and comments before inviting them to be interviewed on the air. Callers who can generate emotion and make listeners laugh, cry and get angry, among others, are preferred.
Mr Steve Ahern, Broadcasting Consultant, Australia, offered these suggestions during the AIBD/Radiodays Europe/RCS Pre-Summit Workshop on “A World of Listening - New Ways to Tell our Stories,” held in New Delhi, India on 9 May 2018.
“Avoid a weak opening of your radio talk show. It’s important for host or anchor to do his homework in introducing a topic,” Mr Ahern said. Before putting a caller on the air, there should also be a screener to pre-interview interesting callers and inform hosts of what selected callers have to say on the topic.
He also said prepping callers is important. “Getting the first caller who is energetic is everything”.
Mr Ahern provided other recommendations to improve radio listener’s talkback sessions or chat shows.
These include the following:
- Don’t beg for calls, just bring them in and give the phone number along the way. Use social media for this. Let callers come in and if they're not coming in, mention the topic.
- Make it a conversation not an obligation. Don't command listeners that you must ring. You can’t oblige people to call. If you make topic interesting then they will call.
- Integrate text and social media message; let them just become part of it.
- Share the audio and comments on social media. Ensure you reply to comment with a link of audio of person talking.
- Invite callers to tell a story.
- Do tell a story, make a statement, pose a question, then go straight to a caller.
- If there are few callers, drop topic and move on.
To generate successful radio shows, Mr Ahern urged radio practitioners to focus on top talkback topics dealing with personal safety, good health, any items and issues that affect family finances, and better life for their kids.