3 Can’t Miss Bits For Radio Shows

3 Can’t Miss Bits For Radio Shows

by Tracy Johnson

There aren’t many radio segments you can count on to deliver a great listener reaction and attention. In fact, there are no sure things. But these can’t miss bits come as close as possible. Use these ideas to plan promotion ideas in the coming weeks and months.

First, a couple of qualifiers:

  1.  No matter how great an idea seems, make sure it fits the brand. If not, don’t do it. Trying to do that isn’t a match for the station or show brand isn’t worth the short-term lift.
  2. Every show has strengths and weaknesses. Only implement an idea that plays to strengths. If not, it will frustrate you and chase away listeners.
  3. Examine the ideas with an open mind. Many times I suggest a segment and radio personalities immediately reject it because of a small detail or a minor thing they don’t like. Focus on the big picture. Lots of ideas can work with adjustments fo fit your personality brand.

Identifying Success

There must be standards to be considered can’t miss ideaa. Here are my criteria:

  • Is it Brandable? Is this something the audience will associate with your show? Can it be presented in a way to ensure credit is received?
  • Can listeners participate? They don’t have to be actively involved but must be emotionally connected to bring them back for more appointments.
  • Does it spread? Great ideas should be easy for captivated listeners to share with friends, co-workers, and on social networks.

With this criterion in mind, here are three can’t miss bits.

Can’t Miss Bits: #1 Connecting Lost Relationships

Do you ever wonder what happened to the one that got away? Almost everyone does at some point. Tracking one of these stories is highly compelling.

Telling a listener’s story and helping her make a connection with a lost relationship is addicting and powerful.

Relationship stories never get old. And there are many variations that all work well. Including:

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Each can be developed into a mult-day story arc. Here’s the typical structure:

Day 1: Find a listener to be the center of the storyline.

Day 2: The listener tells their story in greater detail. Introduce a barrier or obstacle. Perhaps the person you’re looking for is hard to find and a Private Detective needs to be hired.

Day 3: In working through the barrier, add a twist or complication. For example, maybe you find the person, but they have little to no interest in being reunited.  Present it to the storyteller, and ask if he/she wants to go through with it.

Day 4: Get the answer and set up the call or meeting on the air on this day.

Day 5: Have both parties on to get the results of the encounter. How do they feel today? What is going to happen next?

Psychic Secrets

This idea works for the same reasons magicians, psychics, and fortune tellers are successful. It’s fascinating!

The idea is to create a clever trick and protect the secret. There are several ideas including the Psychic Powers segment, The Secret, and Snaps.  Both have potential but proper setup and presentation are critical.

The Setup: Claim a special talent or ability that nobody else has. The skill should be basically useless, but interesting. Obviously it has to be an audio “gift” for the air. For example, you can tell what kind of car a listener drives by hearing a car door slam or the horn honk.

Develop it: Of course, nobody will believe you. But keep making the claim. Add a backstory that explains when the gift was discovered. Don’t demonstrate it yet. Just keep making the claim.

Promise: Finally, promise to prove it works. This sets an appointment, but only after developing the premise.

Execution: In most cases, listeners will be intrigued and amazed. Some may guess the secret. Keep them off the air! Using actors is usually a good idea to build momentum in these bits.

Important: Never reveal the secret. That’s part of the mystery. And, you can bring it back in the future!

Make Dreams Come True

Of the three types of can’t miss bits, this is the most visual.

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Nothing tugs at the heart like being unconditionally generous. This concept fits any station wishing to develop a positive, sensitive, and caring image. Find ways to help individual listeners experience their wildest dreams.


  • During the holiday season, Breaking and Entering Christmas is a winner. It makes Christmas happen for a family that has had a rough year.
  • The Bucket List promotion awards listeners a chance to experience something they couldn’t do on their own. It works as a short-term campaign or an ongoing feature.
  • Granting wishes is another winner. Free Beer & Hot Wings (Syndicated talk show on rock stations across America) even established a foundation for this cause called Idiots For Underdogs.
  • Some shows build more intrigue into the storyline. For a provocative example, check out Kyle & Jackie O’s Give or Take, in which a listener has to decide whether to keep a large sum of money for themselves or give it to a stranger who needs it more.

Stories of people in need happen all around you. Be alert, creative, and reactive. It will drive listening and attention.


These three can’t miss bits may not be foolproof, but it’s pretty close.

What can’t miss bits can you add to this list? Reach me anytime here.


Father-Daughter Reunion Promotion

Home For The Holidays Promotion

The One That Got Away Promotion

My Psychic Powers Execution

Snaps (Bit)

The Secret (Bit)

Breaking & Entering Christmas

The Bucket List

Granting Wishes

Give Or Take

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