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QUESTION: How can us REAL small market guys get our "I don't want to do your crazy radio contest for fear everyone will know who I am" people to loosen up and play along? We don't kill people that we get on the air.... we're nice - honest! But, they still won't play along at times.

DAN REPLIES: First, I hope you already are familiar with techniques for coaching your contest callers. (If not, consider this to be a gratuitous plug for my POWER PHONES tape.) You know: Suggesting dialogue to them, modeling the tone of voice you'd like them to use, rehearsing them, editing their calls prior to airing, etc.

If so, I have three thoughts to impart to you:

1. The best way to get "good" contestants is to air good contestants. The ones you put on the air model the type of performance you expect from future callers.

2. It is not the caller's job to "sound good." If you have a performance standard you want your callers to meet, it's your job to do whatever is legal, ethical and moral to help them do so.

3. Is there some law that says every contestant HAS to be on-the-air?

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