Radio shows must do more to stand out than ever before. Just being heard doesn’t resonate. There’s more to a winning show than just being good. Personalities must excite audiences by being memorable enough to cause talk.

When segments become part of conversations, remarkable things happen. Personalities become celebrities with a radio show, not just talent that sounds good on the radio.

Six Secrets To Cause Talk:

Here’s how to improve the chance of causing listeners to get excited about your show and become passionate advocates. Use these techniques to cause talk. Find a couple that can turn them into strengths.

Find The Emotion: Listener behavior is not logical because choices are emotional. Content doesn’t have inherent value. No topic is interesting enough to generate attention just by presenting facts. Winning shows connect emotionally with core values that have little to do with the topic and everything to do with a story. Listeners share stories.

Be Specific: Have you noticed some shows practically beg for audience response and rarely get it, while others sound like the phone rings constantly? The more specific you are, the greater your reaction will be. Test it with a broad generic question (Tell us your funny vacation stories). Then try something specific (I want to hear your stories about getting stranded while on vacation).

Perform Outside In: Rick Morton (morning show, Z90/San Diego) teases me that my favorite phrase is, “Who cares?” It’s a favorite technique to make sure each break passes the “Who Cares” test. Being a show that sounds inside and self-absorbed is bad but authentically relating to the audience is good. That’s obvious. But there’s a thin line between the two. Plan each segment to start from the outside in, rather than inside out.

Turn Up The Volume: Great shows prepare to be great. And great is loud! Ordinary is ignored. Remarkable is remembered. Turn up the volume on personality. Shows that cause talk are extraordinary personalities telling extraordinary stories in extraordinary ways.

Vulnerability: Listeners connect with personalities willing to reveal their quirks and flaws. Great shows allow listeners to get to know who they are by embracing things that may be awkward or uncomfortable. This is far more valuable than being smooth and slick.

Branded Content: This is a marketing trick Larry David has mastered. It’s branding content to be easily remembered and repeated. The creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm has a knack for creating catchphrases and relatable themes that cause talk. Cleverly branding a phrase inside a segment can be the difference between “that was good” and “That was awesome“. Click here to find out how to do it on the radio.


Radio brands are faced with unprecedented challenges from dozens of entertainment sources. It’s why the scariest competition does not include other radio stations.

Successful personalities turn ordinary segments into must-hear moments. Study the techniques on how to cause talk, the work to inspire fans to tell friends and social networks about what they heard on the radio.

If listeners aren’t talking about the show, it’s probably not worth talking about. How will you become a remarkable personality that earns talk?

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