GMs: You Need To Know What The PDs Know – Pt. 3


(By Jon Quick) Here’s final part of this piece from Jon…
Read Part One HERE
Read Part Two HERE

Be spontaneous — Change the script

At times, be spontaneous. Do something unpredictable. It can be “planned” spontaneity, of course, with some degree of planning. Be willing to change the course of the show from what’s planned in case there is breaking news. You can always table something for another day. 

The Phones And The Listeners 

The phones are a great way to get listeners involved in commenting on the hot lifestyle topics of the day. Determine what they are each day with that “What’s Hot Today” list discussed earlier. 

Great Guests And Great Interviews

If a program has guests, here are several basics to remember for maintaining your audience (and increasing share and time spent listening) while doing the segment:

First, make sure it’s a great guest (obvious, huh?) — one that is articulate, can relate (and speak the language of) the listener and can talk about something your listeners are really interested in.  

It should fit on your Today’s Hot Topics playlist. If not, don’t do it.

Tease the great guest or topic, prior to her appearance on your program. Do it in a compelling way. 

Write out your introduction and use it. When you get to the interview be sure you write the introduction in such a way that it grabs the listeners’ attention.  

Be prepared. Write out questions. Know the topic/guest well. Read. Do research. If it’s a book, read it. Never say that you have an “author” coming up. Turns people off. Sure, have an author on, but only if it’s about a hot topic. Promote the topic, not the author. 

Reidentify the guest/topic often. Remember, people are tuning in and out all the time.  People don’t listen from the very beginning. Always re-identify (reset the stage) after a commercial break). 

Other Things When Doing Interviews Or Topics

If the interview is going poorly, be willing to cut it short.

If the guest is willing, and if there’s time, let the listener be the interviewer for a while. Or involve the listener on the phone when discussing a fun or hot topic. Remember, listener involvement is one of the things that makes radio unique, and one thing most steady radio listeners like about their favorite station.

If the guest turns out to be really great, invite the guest back soon. Don’t feel you have to have a new and original guest each day.  

Brand The Things You Need To Own

Let me interject here the importance of branding all service elements with your call letters. When saying news say (YOUR STATION) News. Weather say (YOUR STATION) Weather. Business say (YOUR STATION) Business News. (YOUR STATION) Farm News. (YOUR STATION) Sports. A little thing, but it implies ownership of these important images that people tune in for. 

Ever hear NBC say, “Tonight on the news“? Never. It’s always “Tonight on NBC News.” 


Promote before, then promote again during the show. It’s all about building share and time spent listening. It’s amazing how many radio stations — even at the most major market levels — fail to do this effectively. 

Develop the art of the compelling tease.

Finally, let’s get to what I think is almost as important to show content as the music or the topic. These are live brief promos within a show (or in news) that tell your listener what is coming up next. These should be done at least every 15 minutes and/or before every spot break. And before you break for news. Tell them what’s coming up. Keep them intrigued. Keep them listening. These should be done in a compelling way. 


“More music, after the break.” 


“Let’s take a time out now and we’ll be back right around the bend “


“We’re coming up on a break, then back with more.”

Never use the word BREAK. This is one of Sir Sabo’s commandments, as well. It signals to the listener that it’s commercial time. Instead, give them a quick and compelling and short tease for what’s coming up, then hit the first spot. Don’t signal a commercial.

This is really an art which is critical you develop, and you’ll find that I talk about this really often when I do aircheck reviews. 

 Here are some good examples:  

“Next, the artist Taylor Swift says will be the next country superstar. Guaranteed.”

Here’s one that could be within a show, or before a break in a newscast. 

“$5.00 for a gallon of gas by the first of the year? That’s what you’re going to pay, claims Triple A of California.” 

Details next on (name your brand).

 P#5 – PLATFORMS – Use The New Platforms Of Distribution

– Integrate the use of the website more effectively. 
– Ask listeners to email you what they think. 
– Develop a Loyal Listener Club (as an example). 

Do things online to reinforce things done on the show. If a rock superstar or Miss America is in studio, for example, have a digital camera and upload a picture of him with (name of show) to give an inside look. Better yet, use Facebook Live. 

There are stations, primarily large markets, where the Web platforms are beautifully competing with the radio station spot inventory revenue. That’s only going to increase. 

Drive everything through your website when possible. Instead of a guest giving their website, tell people to go to yours and find the link there.

Get a Facebook page for the station and for key personalities. You’ve talked about it. Now execute. 

Podcast. Twitter. Instagram. Seemingly there are more coming out every day. Make full use of them. 

P6 – PROFITS  – Everybody’s In Sales These Days

Or at least they should be. But that’s another article. Wait. It’s already been written. I refer you to the April issue of Radio Ink. Or online at

May the relationship between your owner, the GM, sales, programming, and your listeners be a harmonious one forevermore. 

 Jon Quick has programmed great radio stations for CBS and Emmis, among others. Today he consults many radio brands and owns a public relations and advertising agency. Jon can be reached at 317-432-0309 or [email protected] 


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