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It’s a small world. The Broadcast Media business is even smaller.

Before you air your problems to the world, remember this the next time you try and get a DJ or host position. Word of mouth carries allot faster than you might think.

When you’re a future host, the first thing you need to discuss is the policy, procedures, and rules that govern that particular station. If there isn’t any, make note of it although I’m pretty sure that each individual station does have one or two no nos on their broadcasting list.

Whereas in the 90’s some things were tolerated and even encouraged, currently there are allot more youngsters listening to online radio and you never know when or why they are listening.

Rules of Thumb to consider:

Do not swear.

Shock value for shock value sake is one thing. However, I do many a Millenial that says the F word because that’s what they heard coming out of their parent’s or relative’s mouths. I personally don’t like the F word. It’s vulgar. On PWRNetwork, my hosts don’t use that word unless they have good reason to. I have too many teens and pre-teens who listen to our broadcasts and I don’t want to lose that particular listening audience.

Do not ‘talk down’ to your audience.

Never talk down to your audience. Your audience is there because they want to be, because they chose to be there. It’s like having an extended family. I know that you watch what comes out of your mouth when talking to relatives and friends of the family. You don’t want to offend them. You don’t want them to leave angry. Go to bed angry. Know why? They won’t come back, There are plenty of other online radio stations that your audience can choose to go listen to. Make sure you keep your language aimed at your target group. It’s like talking baby talk to a toddler. It just doesn’t work. You wouldn’t like it if someone spoke down to you.  

Do not misinform your audience.

Many hosts like to think they can do anything they want while on the air. That no one will stop them from little white lies. Just remember that your audience is pretty sharp. They know when they are taken for a ride. They don’t appreciate little white lies being told either. The audience can fact check your stories. It’s somewhat embarrassing to be caught in a misinformed bit of information. It may work for a presidential hopeful, but it’s not a good idea to do. Now, if it’s part of programG to educate your audience about something, let your audience know beforehand. Or better yet, preface any statements you might make beforehand so that the audience won’t consider you an out and out liar, and why should they ever believe you again.

Trust.

Trust is a funny (weird) thing. You’re born with it, but if you loose it, it may take a lifetime to gain back. Never give your audience an opening for them to mistrust what you’re saying. Your audience you built from hand. Doing the research. Doing the homework. Putting the words together. Practicing. When you finally develop your listening audience, you want to keep them and hopefully keep building them. To do that, your audience becomes loyal to you and what you represent. You don’t want to destroy it by having your audience start mistrusting you. Not believing what you’re saying or worse, have the audience label you as a liar, bigot, racist. These are words you don’t want the audience to associate with you…unless it’s part of your advertising or marketing campaign.

Guests.

When you bring on a guest to interview make sure they understand what’s expected of them, i.e. no cursing, no shouting, no cell phone usage, no speaking when driving in car. It might sound stupid for me to mention all these things, but I was brought up short the other day when I noticed a sign signaled out on Facebook that was used on one of the interstates. The sign read: “No fondling or holding your driver’s private parts when they’re driving. Seriously? Who does that kind of thing?

In retrospect, I’m telling you, make sure that your guest knows the station’s rules and your rules so everyone is in the same space. You don’t want to turn red-faced when your guest does a faux-pas. There are certainly allot of people who think that anyone can do an interview, for example. That’s not true. I’ve interviewed hundreds of individuals since broadcasting and many of them don’t know how to speak on their feet, form their sentences, say you know, like uhm, duh, and, because, until you want to slap them silly, but you don’t.

Make sure that your guest goes through a dry-run or what I call a pre-interview so that you get a feel of how comfortable (yes telephone fear lurks out there in the darkness), how well they can respond to your questions. Many guests will ask for your questions in advance so they can practice their answers. It’s what I call a ‘canned’ interview, because everything is already thought out in advance.

I prefer not to interview my guests like that because I take my questions from their answers.

To successfully run a good show, a future talk show host must know what their responsibilities are to themselves and to their particular station. If you don’t know ask.

As my Government professor use to say in college, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”

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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

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