Five Radio Myths That Kill Success


(By Jeff McHugh) When I was a 20-year-old novice DJ at WMTY-AM in tiny Greenwood, South Carolina, they said, “Never play two female artists back-to-back. It causes tune out.” Of course, that is not true and it never was. Surprising superstitions like that still persist in radio. Here are the most common myths that Randy and I bust at stations across the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

  1. The show must be live. Truth: Many successful local and national shows include some — if not all — pre-production. Today’s short attention span audiences prefer content with the fat and dead spots edited out. Consider that podcasts are a growing part of your future and none of those are live.

2. Giveaways drive listenership. Truth: Unless it is a prize that money cannot buy — like a chance to meet Beyonce — most listeners do not go out of their way for random entry contests. However, great interactive games, like Stupid Easy Trivia from Todd and Jayde at WPLJ New York or a storyline game like Howard Stern’s Saddest Virgin at Sirius XM can add to TSL.

3. Service elements are crucial. Truth: There’s an app for that. Time, temperature, weather and traffic can waste precious seconds of your listener’s time with information they already have.

4. More music — or — more talk. Truth: There is no one right answer. It depends on the show’s progress, your competitive landscape and other factors that may vary your song count from year to year. When the show outperforms the station in ratings share, consider expanding content.

5. Recycled content is lazy. Truth: Most listeners hear your show for just a few minutes a day and will appreciate a replay of A+ content from an hour outside of their normal commute. Just be sure to recycle great, not good.


  1. Can’t argue with the points that Jeff makes in this. . . but there is so much more to radio. We all know what “The Power Pig” did in Tampa. Y107 in Nashville – “The Outrageous FM”. Should radio be like that in the 21st Century ? Nah. World is too “correct” on many fronts. But it’s crucial that we do things that will attract people to radio!! A traffic reporter can communicate the bad news with style and urgency -not just reading a menu of problems off a screen. The station with ‘Traffic and Weather Together on the 8’s (or 9’s or 15’s) isn’t on top because of that. The station has a personality that relates to the listener.. . bringing them info they want-and once hearing can appreciate. Let’s go through history and see what tactics work-and reinvent them for today’s climate. It won’t be because of desperation, it’s because that’s what we’re really good at !!

  2. Jeff, there is one station on top of it’s market and tops in billing all because of one thing: “traffic and weather together on the 8’s”. If you are not in an area that has huge traffic problems, sure that would be fine. But if you are sitting in a mess and nobody’s talking about it on the radio and a major highway is shut down for 10 miles, people are not communicating something important to the audience. That scenario happened to me in May of last year on I-95 in North Carolina.

  3. Those are mostly arguments that can be worked out in the parking lot – if they are even worthy of an argument.
    I find it strange when commentators openly admit to not knowing who is in an audience at any given time; make claims of knowing what that audience wants (mind reading) and then insist that radio is a one-to-one medium.
    The high falutin’ term for all that is: Cognitive Dissonance.
    And it’s an extremely dangerous position to be sporting.

  4. what traffic app do people use when they’re driving?
    Not many podcasts will be mainstream but local radio has great impact. Discussing last night’s Taylor Swift concert that was the cities event, or the big Labor Day parade coming up is more impactful than a canned gimmick.

    Who are you again?


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