Radio personalities all over the world report that phone calls to radio stations have slowed. Great shows don’t need more callers to succeed, but it’s nice to have options. Callers can add a lot to a segment, especially for solo shows.
There are many reasons for the decline in call volume, but instead of throwing up your hands and reading text messages and social media posts (which is not nearly as entertaining as having a conversation), how about fixing the problem?
Here are some of the most valuable and easy-to-implement tips for getting more calls from my eBook Fill Your Phone Lines:
- Answer the phone. Why would listeners ever call again if they get a constant busy signal or the phone rings and rings and nobody picks up? This happens at most radio stations. It’s horrible customer service, and highly discouraging to those that would like to engage.
- Put calls on. This may sound like a chicken-or-egg thing, but nothing causes the phone to ring like putting callers on. Be creative and have calls ready to go when introducing a segment. Humans are reluctant to be first. That’s why casinos hire shills to sit at empty gaming tables. It encourages more participation. The same is true in radio.
- Make strong statements. A powerful comment or polarizing statement will provoke callers that otherwise wouldn’t engage.
- Leave something out. This is a powerful technique that acts like a magic trick for driving phone response. Personality radio isn’t about proving how smart you are. It’s about engaging and entertaining an audience.
- Be specific & simple. Tell listeners exactly what you want and be clear on what kind of contributions you want. A more specific question (We want your road trip horror stories) yields a far better response than a generic one (Tell us what happened on vacation).
Conclusion: The #1 Tip
Are you struggling to get more phone calls? Here’s a shortcut to making the phone ring more:
Stop reading so many text messages and social posts. Reading comments is not nearly as interesting as a conversation and the message is sent that this is how listeners should participate.
That doesn’t mean to never read comments, but put a priority on audio contributions. A good rule of thumb is to read no more than one message for every two phone calls.
Yes, call volume is down. But you can fix that by following some of these easy tips.
Founder/ CEO, Tracy Johnson Media Group
Recognized as one of America’s most innovative radio programmers and managers, Tracy Johnson’s broad background in traditional and digital media has influenced hundreds of radio stations, programmers and personalities.
Johnson’s radio programming success began in Lincoln, Nebraska and included stops in Kansas City and Jacksonville, Florida, eventually leading him to San Diego in 1992. There, Johnson led KKLQ (Q106) from 19th to 1st. The “worst to first” achievement was soon duplicated when he directed KFMB-FM from 22nd to 1st.
Applying his strategic expertise and creative promotion and marketing tactics, the stations earned dozens of industry achievement awards, including named Radio Ink Magazine’s “Best Programmer in America”. In 1998, Johnson became Market Manager of KFMB AM and FM.
In all, Johnson has programmed and consulted over 200 radio stations in more than 15 countries.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to apply this experience and knowledge full time, Johnson became EVP of Audience Engagement for Triton Media, advising over 700 media companies (radio, television, newspaper) to create synergy in their traditional and digital offerings to create new sources of audience engagement and revenue.
As founder and CEO of the Tracy Johnson Media Group, Johnson offers programming, marketing, promotion, talent coaching and digital consulting services.