A Radio Listener Speaks Up
I found this YEARS ago, but it holds up just fine. I've (re)posted it on social before, but I think it bears repeating...
A SoCal radio listener named Randy Haslam, who I don't know personally, wrote the following for KFI. It's nearly perfect, and it's from the perspective of a listener...
You've taken thousands of calls to your show. Some callers are great and make their points quickly which keeps your show interesting and moving along fast. But a trend that has always infected many of these calls is the incessant need for callers to try making SMALL Talk with you instead of getting right into asking their question or making the point they intended to make. This drives listeners CRAZY and has guys like me pounding my dashboard and shouting hang up you IDIOT. Sometimes I wonder if they dialed a wrong number and have no idea they've called a LIVE radio talk show! When the topic is sizzling and stimulating, these callers have the affect of throwing cold water on the barbecue. It's like cruising along in the fast lane and then having to slow down behind some idiot doing 55mph. We all hate it when that happens.
So I've written up a few rules for callers to your show. Maybe you could post them on the station Web Page or your show web page and announce the rules for calling in are on either of these two web pages.
So here are the "Rules for calling in to a Radio Talk Show."
Don't call on a speaker phone
[Note: Or a Bluetooth. -PT]
If you're using a cell phone make sure it's fully charged and getting a strong signal
Have your radio TURNED OFF once the call screener puts you in the caller lineup
[Note: Actually, you should turn it OFF (not down - OFF) as soon as the call screener answers. -PT]
While on hold, PAY ATTENTION
Remember, you called the show, so be ready to go as soon as we say your name and announce you're ON THE AIR
If we cannot hear you we'll tell you so don't ask
We don't care if you're a first time caller
[Note: I personally DISAGREE with this one, but I take his point. -PT]
We don't care if you're a long time listener
We don't care if you're nervous, you called us remember
Don't ask how we are doing, if we're on the air then we are fine and glad to be doing our job, PERIOD, end of story.
We don't care what you think of us or the show, keep it interesting and stick to the topic
Don't tell us how many points or questions you want to make
Get to your point or question quickly. If you prattle on making a speech we will hang up
Don't give us anything but your name and the city you're calling from, if we want more information about you we'll ask you
Don't say "Thank You for taking my call" - It's a TALK SHOW and we want stimulating callers to keep it interesting. We should thank YOU for listening and calling.
Now, I don't agree with the 'We don't care about who you are/where you're from' attitude, but I can see how that could grind on someone who's really into a topic or guest...and I didn't want to edit Mr. Haslam's post excessively. I really only want to add one more thing:
If and whenever possible use a land-line phone, it makes a HUGE difference in your ability to hear us...and the audience's ability to hear YOU.
When you join a show on the air you ARE the show. The host and the station hires guys like me to screen the phones to try (TRY) and prepare you for the experience. We want you to have fun & make a contribution. But sometimes you're not going to get through. It might be the quality of your phone. You might be off-topic. We might be switching topics or just be out of time. That doesn't mean we hate you and it definitely doesn't mean you should never call again. Think of it like a friend warning you that you've got a booger...you shouldn't be angry or feel shame, just get a tissue, wipe your nose and carry on!
Following these few rules will keep the show moving quickly and keep it interesting to the listening audience.