Radio Games, Contests, and Calls – Is it all Crap?

Connection.

Interaction.

Audience involvement.

Those are our primary goals when we take calls on the air or do contests and games. Audience involvement is central to a strong morning show or to Talk Radio.

Games, calls, contests – are they essential elements or lazy crutches? Do you have to do things which involve the audience directly in order to involve them absolutely?

Nope. This is one of the great myths of radio.

And nobody knows that better than Public Radio’s Ira Glass, host of the venerable This American Life.

Check the video below from Ira on the basics of storytelling, and you will quickly grasp this: It’s the stories you convey every minute you’re on the air and how you tell them that wrap the listeners up in your world. The connection, the involvement, the interaction – they’re not the result of a game or contest or phone call. Those are just the most superficial illustrations of connection.

Connection happens when you tell a story and tell it well.

Through stories, humans have connected for centuries.

Games, contests, and phone calls are tidy and easy, but they’re not connection.

Why do we revere the Paul Harveys of the world but generally fail to learn from them?

To paraphrase Ira, all radio is trying to be crap. It’s your job to keep propping it up, to keep fighting entropy and making it great.

Here’s Ira on the the importance of the anecdote (strongly recommended viewing). More links and a summary can be found here.


[If you’re reading this by email, click on the post title to watch the video]

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