Today’s Talk Radio Missing Key Element, by Wade Sorochan
I’ve had the pleasure of producing and being featured on the most unique and successful radio talk shows in Edmonton’s broadcasting history from 1981-1991–The 11-2 Show with Bill and Bill featuring the “Tone Arm on 930 CJCA.” The shows success came from it’s “anything goes” format with callers commenting on a wide range of topics. It was a caller driven show. Many of the regular callers became well-know with listeners waiting to hear them on the program. There was no texting technology, so only calls from listeners. If a caller was passionate about a topic, you heard it in their voice. Today’s talk radio hosts encourages listeners to text in their comments. Words are only 7% of effective communication. They are missing out on the other 93% of effective communication which includes voice tone and modulation or inflection. So a texting comment is void of true passion and emotion.
Another issue with hosts reading texts is that you only hear one voice on a program which can become monotonous, and the listener has to deceiver whether the comment is coming from the host or a listeners text.
I once had a well know talk radio program director tell me that my opinion on bringing back callers to talk shows is considered “old school” talk radio. He said listeners today do not want to hear callers on a talk show. He went on to say that listeners get annoyed at callers that go on and on with their comments. I said that’s why you need a good call screener and a professional talented host who knows how to control the conversation before listeners get annoyed. He was not convinced. He said because of technology, listeners, especially young listeners, are not interested and have no time to call in to a show. I have since talked to many young people who disagree, they shared with me that just hearing a host reading texts gets boring very quickly and that they would rather hear a callers voice instead of just the host’s voice.
Now Radio is the number one station in Edmonton because they engage their listeners with hourly live interactive caller conversations. So a music station recognizes the importance of callers to a program and has been rewarded in the ratings.
From 2007-2010, I brought back the “Anything Goes” interactive talk format on my own talk show LIFETALK with Wade Sorochan from 3:00-5:30pm on the new 930 CJCA. I would average about 125 callers per week on a wide variety of topics. It became Edmonton’s Most Interactive Radio Talk Show.
Technology has changed many things, but let’s not let it change the fundamentals of good talk radio.
(Wade Sorochan is a well-known radio personality in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Wade first gained recognition for his pioneering impact on the number one rated and “Canada’s most unique” radio talk show The Bill & Bill Show on 930 CJCA. Nicknamed “the Tone Arm,” Wade became the first broadcaster in history to spontaneously use song clips to enhance a radio talk show. He went on to produce and host his own popular radio talk shows Life Talk with Wade Sorochan on the new 930 CJCA and Edmonton This Week on 630 CHED. Wade is recognized as a talk show pioneer with a career that has spanned four decades.)
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