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A Loyal Reader Writes:

“Hi, Dan….I’m a radio sales manager who attended one of your copywriting seminars last year, sponsored by our state broadcasters association.

“I’m bumping heads with my program director on the length of our ‘direct broadcast’ (live remote) call ins. His stance is a maximum of 60 to 90 seconds.  

“Our station is the only Adult Contemporary station in the market. He thinks we’ll totally dump our audience with a 3 – 5 minute remote cut in.

“I feel since most listeners stick around for a 5-minute commercial pod, or a 3-minute song that they don’t particularly like, why won’t they stick around for the live call-in?  

“So I’d like your opinion: Will we dump our audience with a 3 – 5 minute cut-in?”

In general, I agree with your PD.

I say “in general” because I suppose it’s possible that the event is so exciting and the call-ins so entertaining and compelling that the audience loves hearing them.

But that’s pretty unlikely.

Almost all remote call-ins are virtually impossible to listen to.

And 3-to-5 minutes? I agree with your PD; you’ll tune out many listeners.

You’re an AC station.

If you were a small market Full Service station — where you’re expected to cover everything that happens in your community and listeners are accustomed to lots of talking…

And you’d trained your promo staff in the art of doing call-ins that actually are interesting enough to listen to…

Maybe I’d make an exception.

“But people stick around for 5 minutes of commercials.”

Well, many of them don’t.

But those who do sit through the commercials now have paid their price of admission. They don’t want to pay again by having to hear some intern, DJ or promo assistant shouting into the phone but saying nothing of value to the listener.

(They shout, of course, because they think it creates the illusion of excitement. It doesn’t. It only creates a louder noise.)

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  • Jim March 21, 2013, 6:12 am

    Agree! In most cases (99.8%) A three minute cut in would be a huge test of patience for your most loyal listeners. All the other ones would be gone!

  • jb March 21, 2013, 7:31 am

    I c an scarcely imagine the hell of a five-minute remote break, either listening to one or having to do one, unless there’s something legitimately interesting to talk about for that long. Which ain’t likely to happen at the Smiling Bob Furniture City End-of-the-Season Blowout Event, on a Saturday morning.

  • Bruce March 21, 2013, 8:22 am

    I couldn’t agree more! I’ve always said that if something is compelling, it cannot be too long. Most of the time, however, remote content isn’t compelling. It is up to us to compel the listener to attend our events through teasing and some bait. Bringing the proverbial circus to the remote with a fun activity for people to participate in rather than just signing up to win tickets is a start. Then bringing that party to the air as enticement. I fear the art is rapidly decaying.

  • Johnny Benson March 21, 2013, 8:58 am

    I’ve only know one Jock ever to successfully a pull off. a break that long, and since the consolidation no one is on the air today could do a break that long (speaking of the Greeseman)

  • Neal Angell March 22, 2013, 1:33 pm

    A Sales Manager and Program Director butting heads on something? I don’t believe it! 🙂

    But seriously, the remote contract should have the terms in black and white, right? (e.g. “Client gets X number of call-ins at 60 seconds each”)

    Aside from the great possibility of driving listeners away, you also don’t want to set a precedent you can’t back out on later. If the client is accustomed to getting 3-5 minutes with each call-in, he may be upset with a future remote if the call-ins are just around 90 seconds (even though that’s likely already more than he’s paid for).

    And do you think the client’s competition isn’t paying attention to stuff like that? You can’t give Mr. Ford Dealer one-minute call-ins when he knows Mr. Chevy Dealer has been getting 3 to 5 times that amount.

    Bottom line on those exceedingly long call-ins: Bad idea. Don’t do it.


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