Passion Meets Reality

Passion Meets Reality

The ‘3 How’ Questions Future Talk Show Hosts Should Ask?

When a future talk show host approaches a possible internet radio station, there are 3 how questions they should ask up front. Meaning at once. Immediately. Don’t let them steer you away from these questions. It could literally mean a life or death sentence on your program’s numbers. How successful you are as the host down the line.

How long?

One of the first questions asked by a future talk show host is “how long will it take for me to build up an


My reply: “It depends.”

Forget what you’ve heard around the internet: That so and so built a 6 million listenership in 6 months. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s highly suspect. Audiences take a long time to build. It’s like a best-seller list. If you get all your friends, family, relatives, and people in debt to you listen to your program, then yes indeed, you’ll have a huge listenership, but there’s more to numbers than just the sheer size of who is listening to you. Remember, you want to draw in NEW listeners, not just your stand-bys. And, more importantly, you want to ‘target’ these listeners so you can CONVERT them into paying customers to whatever you’re trying to sell with INSERTED PAID COMMERCIALS (compliments of your sponsors, another kettle of fish).

Let’s take one of PWRNetwork’s newest host, Ms. ABC. ABC was doing a podcast (15 minutes or less) on a chronic illness afflicting millions of people. The host started 3 months ago. The show draws in a respectable amount of people (5,000). It’s respectable because Ms. ABC talks about a subject most individuals rather not discuss at all (especially outside of the family.) This host wants to share the experience of caring for a loved one with the audience. This host succeeded.  About 5,000 people in the audience.

Is it targeted? We’ll discuss that in another post.

How Soon?

This question is related to “How Long?” Soon can mean immediately or down the line. It can also mean who is the host of that program? If the future host is a celebrity, chances are the audience will be immediately. That’s where marketing and promoting come in. That’s where email lists come in. That’s where bragging rights come in. That’s where the nature of the program comes in.

Future talk show hosts need to do their homework before putting their program on. There are many topics that instantaneously draws in a large crowd without working too hard at it. Sports programs do that. Following a came online. Listening to a Q & A. Listening to an interview of a well-known sports figure can do that. Music can do that. Especially rock, hard rock, hip hop, and all the other genres that are currently playing in today’s world.

There are instant name drawers in politics, sports, music, television, movies. They are interviewed because of their name drawer. However, there are other future talk show hosts who don’t take the celebrity or well-known person route because their agenda is somewhat different.

If that is the case, then the How Soon might be an exercise in patience. People flock to what is already known to them. What they already identify with and enjoy. Listening to topics that might be off-beat or discussed behind closed doors (unless sensationalism) might be harder to build a fast audience.

Don’t let that lack discourage you. PWRNetwork runs unpopular programming as well as well-received programming. It’s a mix. I don’t get any complaints about our programming. Ever. People in fact encouraged us to keep up the good work!

How many?

When I first started doing talk shows, the producers of my first internet radio station started alerting me to my audience. The first number I heard was 30,000. Boy, was I pumped? 30,000 in the first week of programming. Awesome.

The second week, my numbers had jumped to 45,000. Boy, was I flexing my muscles. To get sponsors, I started cold calling companies to get them to pay for the shows I was doing. Unfortunately for me, they weren’t impressed. In fact, some of them yawned through my presentation. I heard them. What was the problem?

I couldn’t back up my numbers with solid evidence of whom was listening, age groups, gender, and demographics.

I headed back to the producers of the station and started asking them hard questions. Which I should’ve done before I started with them. It turned out they inflated my numbers. So they could get more sponsors to invest into their company, not my show.

How did I really find this out? When I stopped working for them and started my own company. Not one of the so-called 100,000 listeners that I had gained with them came over to where I was now broadcasting. Hint: Because the audience never really existed in the first place.

So, before you join any internet radio station, make sure you ask the 3-How questions. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, I still get sweaty hands, feet, and forehead. Yes, my tone grows shrill and thin, but I ASK, because you need to know how ethical that station is and how REAL your numbers really are.

You’ll need to know before you can go out and ask for sponsorships (another post).

Remember: There’s many a slip between cup and lip.

Which one are you? The cup or the lip?

About Lillian Cauldwell

Own and operate an Internet Talk Radio Network for 10 years, 2005 to Present Published Author of Non-Fiction Book, 1996, "Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide. Published Author of several fiction books, 2006 "Sacred Honor" and 20010 "The Anna Mae Mysteries: The Golden Treasure." Playwright of Theater of the Absurd and Black Comedies. Screenwriter, Black Comedies