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How to Use Talk Radio to Promote Your Business For FREE!

By: Kevin Nunley

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at Reach Kevin at or 801-328-9006.

Talk radio is booming. There are now well over 1000 radio stations in the United States programming talk shows full time. If you count individual talk shows, the number zooms up to 3000.

This is a tremendous opportunity for small business people. The promotional boost that talk radio gives you can be immense and, best of all, it's free.

All of those 3000 shows need guests. Nothing scares a talk show host more than the idea of having to go it alone. Hopefully, the telephone rings with lots of interesting callers, but that's not always the case. Radio talk hosts everywhere know that you NEED A GUEST to make the show fly.

That's where YOU come in. A talk show guest gets to put on display--in front of thousands of ears--their expertise and business. Do you have to be the best in your business, or be a good talker? No! All you have to do to be on a talk show is have some information that will interest the show's listeners.

That can be as simple as giving listeners some ideas on how to fix their car, save more money, grow a nicer lawn, stay out of legal trouble, pay fewer taxes, or anything else that will make their lives easier and happier. If your business can be related to some current topic in local or national news (for example: your employees are helping the mayor clean up graffiti) then expect to get even more attention from talk radio.

Even if your business is not all that interesting to the general public, maybe you have another interest that is.

Tom wanted to be on talk radio but didn't feel that there would be much interest in his wholesale boot company. But he had been an economist for GM in the 1960s and had lots of insight into economic issues in the news. He soon found himself on talk radio, impressing listeners with his understanding of economics, while getting a few valuable mentions in for his boot company.

"But what will I say? What if I sound stupid?" people often ask me. Don't worry. It's the talk show host's job to make you sound good. Most will help you along by asking you questions which make it easy for you to keep your ideas on track. Try to sound alive and energetic And don't worry too much about aspiring Rush Limbaughs giving you a hard time. The vast majority of talk show hosts are very courteous to their guests.

Even if you find one that isn't, keep your cool and the audience will side with you.

How to Schedule Yourself as a Guest.

It's unlikely that a talk radio station will call you out of the blue. You must contact them. And don't be shy about it. Talk radio NEEDS YOU. They can't do their jobs without the help of guests.

Start by making a phone call to the radio station receptionist. Ask to talk with the program director or the host or producer of one of their popular talk shows.

Once you find the right person, express your interest in being a guest, either live in the studio or over the phone.

Accentuate the useful and interesting information that you can provide their listeners. This isn't the time to play up the fact that you want to promote your business.

Follow up with a letter covering what was said, a sheet of information about you and your business, and another page with some questions you would like them to ask you.

The day before your scheduled appearance on the talk show, call the show host or producer and confirm your date. If it's a telephone interview, send them the printed material again. For a live interview, bring several copies of your material to pass around to those on the show.

The reason for all this repetition and redundancy is that radio people are notorious for forgetting and loosing everything you send them. Their schedules are extremely harried. Don't expect them to be able to keep the first copies you send them. Keep providing them with more.

Now here's a touch that will set you apart from 95% of talk show guests. Send the host and producer a hand-written thank you note. Not many people do this, and radio folks really appreciate it. You're twice as likely to be asked back the next time you call to set up a guest slot.

Going National.

Now that you've gotten on talk radio in your own community, go regional or national! You can set up and do talk show guest shots on radio stations across the US and Canada without ever leaving your house. Find the phone numbers and addresses for talk stations outside your area from the Broadcasting and Cablecasting Yearbook. It is the industry's standard listing of radio and TV stations. Ask your librarian to get this year's edition for you. You can also find hundreds of radio station home pages on the Internet. Start with the home page of the industry's trade paper RADIO AND RECORDS at

With just a little effort and planning, you can take free advantage of one of America's most popular big media. Be sure to check out Joe Shafran's excellent book on getting on talk radio at

Promote yourself and your business on talk radio.

© 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996

Other Articles by Kevin Nunley

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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