Engage Your Listeners

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Most of the time radio is background noise.  This is the reason we have to repeat everything many times over.

When it comes to your fundraising event, you have limited time to get your listeners attention.  Think about the competition your station has even when the radio is on.  Your listeners have kids in the car, they are receiving text messages, pictures, talking on the phone and the list goes on.  Gone are the days when the listeners got into the car and they were all ours for the full commute.  

Pattern interrupters are your biggest friend.  What do I mean by that?  I mean do something you wouldn’t normally do on your station.  If your fundraiser sounds just like your normal on air sound, more than likely your listeners are not paying attention.  You have to jolt them back into listening.  At times I’ll let the song run out, so it’s not the normal stinking tight radio we were all taught to do.  After that I might begin the break with, “I bet you didn’t wake up this morning thinking you would be a hero?”  Engage your listener quickly, get them thinking.  Don’t be afraid to have the long awkward pause on the radio.  Again, you are trying to jolt them back into paying attention.  Ask them a question so they have to respond at least with their thinking.  It works and it works really well.

At times hype will get your listeners attention.  It has to be real hype, nothing fake.  If you have something exciting, rock it.  At times having a ministry hour during your event is exactly what’s needed to get your listeners attention.  Here’s a great example.  At a station this spring, 8am, morning drive, I decided instead of the normal crazy high paced morning drive fundraising sound, we would go for a ministry hour.  I really felt this was the right move for the event.  We called it our hour of faith.  The hour included stories of those who had stepped out by faith, scripture about faith etc…  This is not a name it and claim, mark it and park it hour but it is about faith.  The end result, a number of friends called in with a faith gift and 20 percent of the goal was raised in that one hour, $165,000.  The ministry that took place during that fundraising was absolutely amazing.  We engaged the listeners and the pay off was huge.  At one fundraiser I was at we gave away an 80 inch TV that was donated and again, we got the listeners attention and the end result was incredible.  Have fun and don’t be afraid to minister during your fundraiser either.

Don’t assume that your listeners are hanging on every word that you are saying.  Their life is busy, complicated, stressful and you are often background noise.  You have less than 10 seconds to engage your listeners with something of interest before losing them.

Living in the radio bubble it’s hard to imagine that our listeners can actually miss all the talk about your upcoming concert or even fundraiser.  My wife and I don’t live in the radio bubble and it’s really eye opening.  One of our local stations had one of it’s biggest events of the year recently.  Next to their fundraiser, I am sure this is their biggest event.  Some how I missed every promo, every announcer talking about the event, any interviews related to this huge event.  I only knew it was happening because someone posted on facebook.  I asked my wife if she had heard anything about this wonderful event coming and she hadn’t heard anything about it either.  In all fairness to the station, I am sure they played promos, they talked about it until they were blue in the face, my guess is they did interviews, perhaps a big contest surrounding the event.  All I am trying to say is, even though I have the radio on, my phone rings, I am talking to my wife, I have kids in the back seat of my truck and to be honest, the radio station is just background noise unless you engage me in some manner.  

All of this to say, plan your breaks for your fundraiser.  Engage your listener quickly.  Remember, you are competing with life and that’s a huge competitor.   

September 1, 2014