The Business Building Power of Hosting Your Own Radio Show

About this site and my radio show journey

If you are a service provider, professional, offer information, advice or knowledge of any kind to a targeted audience… having your own radio show can provide you instant “expert status” and recognition… and more new business much faster, and at a cost far less than your other marketing options.

If you think that having your own radio show to build your business is too expensive or time consuming… you are wrong.

If you think that you need broadcast experience or know how to run a lot of expensive technical equipment… you are wrong.

And …the 2 biggest things you are probably sure that you “know,” that you have a radio show so that people will listen live on the radio… and that you only make money by selling advertising are wrong, wrong, wrong… and costing you customers, clients, new business, higher rates and credibility/recognition that you just can’t get with any other marketing tool.

Let me relate to you…

1. Four stories about how four people leveraged the impact of local radio to build their businesses.

2. Why radio makes you an “instant expert” in your field. Within weeks you will be talking with industry leaders and the rock stars of your business/profession.

3. Strategies that leverage your radio show content to more foot traffic, more client appointments, more inquiries, more cross-selling, more referrals and higher rates/fees.

4. How simple it is to start and keep it going.

5. How to leverage your show by integrating it with other marketing tools.

6. What it costs relative to other marketing tools.

7. If you are just starting out and want to get established quickly… you need to know these things.
If you are established and want more new business, more referral business, more cross-selling to your existing client base and to command higher fees and rates… you need to know these things.

But first, a few stories….

About 1995 a consultant friend of mine happened to mention that she was doing a radio show… and I was amazed. I thought you had to be famous or a professional broadcaster with some training before you could even think of doing a radio show.

My friend Julie was broadcasting on a local AM that few people listened to. That station was in an area where she did NO business.

You might ask? Why would someone want to have a radio show on a station few people listen to in an area where you do no business?

It really is very simple. Because Julie was a host of her own radio show she was able to interview national authorities and experts and people in the news in her industry.

When she called on businesses or received an inquiry, she leveraged the fact that she had a radio show and the fact that she had personally spoken to many industry leaders and newsmakers. She was different from her competition and created instant credibility for herself by those contacts and connections. The perception was that she was “more expert” and was worth more than her competition.

This was quite an advantage in the marketplace and Julie took full advantage of it to get started and gain a foothold in a very competitive arena. She today travels around the country to speak to corporations and conduct private seminars. Julie is doing very very well and it started in large part because she did a radio show.

Now understand Julie was just starting out, working out of her home and had none of the trappings of someone who was more established with all the bells and whistles that go with it.

Didn’t matter. Julie was able to compete and get business because of the perceptions created by having a radio show.

That got me thinking. Julie has a show, why don’t I give it a try?

A the time I was still in transition from a professional services career to a consulting, speaking and training career. I found a small local AM in Rhode Island that sold me a half-hour of time for $150 weekly. The show was broadcast by me calling into the station from my home office to be connected to my guest who had called in on another line. We spoke. That was the show. Did that for three months.

Nobody listened to the show on air. I mean nobody. In fact it was difficult to tune in even if you were close by. Turned out that most of the signal was projected out into the ocean and reception was pretty spotty on land.

Didn’t matter. The nobody working from his living room broadcasting a show that only seagulls could listen to was able to get industry leaders, great entrepreneurs and authors to be on my show.

As an aspiring sales speaker and trainer that was a major major advantage for me. There are a lot of people doing sales training and most of them had longer resumes, better credentials on paper and nicer looking “stuff” than I did.

Didn’t matter. I had a radio show. That gave me a different status and credibility and I was able to have different discussions with potential clients, as I had actually spoken to a lot of famous people and newsmakers they had heard of. Sold a lot of business I otherwise would not have gotten with that rinky dink show.

Some of the shows that were recorded during that time can now be found on FindingBusinessRadio.com.

Having gotten a taste of the marketing power of having a show, any show, I started looking around for other options. So being the marketing guy that I am I wrote a letter to about 45 stations explaining what I wanted to accomplish and started to follow-up with phone calls.
Within a week I had spoken to Keating Willcox (who at the time owned 6 stations) and was soon broadcasting on AM 900 in beautiful downtown Nashua, New Hampshire.

Broadcast for 2 hours every Saturday for 2 ½ years. Leveraged that show to build the foundation for a speaking, training and sales/marketing consulting business. Went from literally begging to speak for free to “prove” my value to people (a losing strategy by the way) to building a solid roster of regional speaking and coaching clients.

At the time I was pretty happy to move from speaking for free and taking the crumbs I could get to consistently getting $1,500 for a speech. Nobody listened to that show. In fact, few people even knew that station existed. I would go around town and purposely try to strike up conversations with people. Never spoke to anyone who knew that station existed. It didn’t matter. The perception and recognition of being a “talk show host” made the difference in building my business.

Today I have no trouble getting $6,500 for a half-day presentation.

But at the time there was much I did not know about how to leverage a radio show to build a business. I had barely scratched the surface in knowing how to use a show to generate inquiries and foot traffic, close new business, resell, upsell, cross-sell and generate referrals.

That lack of knowledge cost me big time. If I had known then what I know now, I could have greatly accelerated my business growth and rates. I made a lot of mistakes, and looking back, there were a lot of missed opportunities. I just didn’t know.

So then I figured, well this is working out so why don’t I go national? So I did. Found a syndicator and broadcast nationally on about 23 stations for 15 months.

It cost me money and was a disaster.

All that I didn’t know about making money with a radio show became very clearly evident. It wasn’t so much a national vs local broadcasting issue as it was a sales and marketing strategies issue. By working it and studying it and seeing how other people and businesses were making it work I became painfully aware of all that I didn’t know and what I needed to do to make the time and money investment worthwhile.

At the time I had also started a major monthly retainer sales training gig with a company in Stamford CT and was there three days a week, so I decided to take a step back, reorganize and start the show again when I could get the maximum return on my investment.

Parallel to the time I was broadcasting nationally and in the roughly two years after that, a number of things happened to add to my radio show business building education.

A. I became aware of other businesses that were using this tool successfully.

1. Mike Litman. Mike was broadcasting on a Long Island station that nobody was listening to. He says he had 3 listeners. His parents and a groupie that would drive to the top of a hill to be able to listen. Mike interviewed national leaders in the self-development field. People like Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Wally “Famous” Amos and more were agreeing to be interviewed by Mike on his radio show that virtually nobody listened to. Mike built the recognition of that show and the transcripts of some early shows into a #1 Amazon best selling book entitled “Conversations with Millionaires.” If you are into self-development at all you have probably heard of him. He has generated millions as a personal growth mentor and talks often about how it all started with a rinky dink radio show that nobody listened to. Check him out at www.mikelitman.com.

2. Duct Tape Marketing. John Jantsch had a marketing consultant business in the boonies of Missouri. He broadcast a show on a local AM that could also be listened to live on the internet. It was real local smokel stuff but again, John was able to get national authorities to be on his show and built a very successful marketing business as a result of the recognition and “expert” status. At the time his target niche and business objective was to sell $2,000 monthly marketing retainer relationships with local businesses. Today, John’s website is ranked number 22,418 in the world in terms of web traffic according to alexa.com and has 962 sites linking to it. Forbes magazine recently ranked him as one of their favorite small business websites, he has published a book and has a major line of self published products and is a popular speaker to business groups. See his what his empire looks like today at www.ducktapemarketing.com.

I spoke to John and he told me it all started with his small time radio show.

3. Eric Letendre. Eric built a very successful pet grooming business and one of his major strategies was …. his own local radio show. He paid $250 a week for an hour on a 1,000 watt AM and parlayed that “expertness” and recognition into a very successful business. He eventually sold that business for $500,000.00. I met Eric when he hired me as a sales coach. His business has grown and he now has multiple websites selling a line of products. See them at www.amazingdogtrainingman.com.

3. Many others. I mentioned my friend Julie above… also found many other local businesses that were broadcasting on local stations around the country and building their businesses. I made note of the techniques and strategies they were using.

B. My local AM management experience.

Then something else happened that greatly added to my radio show marketing experience. I became the manager of a local 2,500 Watt radio station. It had 5 salespeople and about 150 advertisers. Sales had been flat for a period of time and ownership wanted to make improvements and sell the station to retire. They wanted someone knowledgeable and experienced about sales management, marketing and radio. I was hired. Increased sales 38% in the first 9 months. The station later sold for $4.5 million.

During that 15 months I was working up close and personal with local businesses that were using a local am radio station to build their business. Many had been doing so for years and swore that it was the best marketing tool they were using. They could have used print ads, cable, direct mail, billboards and many other marketing tools but chose to use a small local am station with no ratings to build their businesses, and many swore by it.

I saw what worked for advertisers on local AM radio.

I saw what didn’t work for advertisers on local AM radio.

I also got to see how others used weekend block time to build their business. We had one solo financial planner who had a show for years. Came in every week, interviewed someone or spoke on some financial topic. Every week for years. Just a solo financial planner working out of a small office. No big brand name. No big corporate marketing office behind him. Just a smart guy working hard offering financial planning and management advice to people with money.

He didn’t do anything much out of the ordinary for marketing… had the typical client brochures, newsletters and the like. There was only one exception.

He had a radio show. His competition didn’t.

All of his common marketing tools made prominent that he hosted a radio show and interviewed experts and authorities on financial planning and wealth creation/preservation strategies. It made a difference.

Once a year he sponsored a client appreciation day and invited all his clients to enjoy a cruise in Boston Harbor… of course he invited the manager of the station that broadcast his radio show. So I’m sitting on this cruise ship… big enough to hold more than 150 of his nearest and dearest clients, listening to the band he hired and gorging on the catered spread…. And I wondered, how many of this guys clients weren’t able to make it to this cruise?

One guy. Selling information and advice to a target market. Renting cruise ships to say thank you to all his well-heeled clients. The only thing he did substantially different was have his own radio show on a no rating local AM station.

He was perceived to be more of an expert than his competition.
He differentiated himself from his competition.
He was able to compete for the best clients and command higher fees.

Why? He had a radio show. His competition didn’t.

We had another business owner. His business was in Newton and he sold CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, training and consulting to corporations all over New England. Would take time out every week from his substantial business to drive from Newton to Salem and interview some industry bigwhig on the radio.

He drove an hour or so each way every week.

Time away from managing a very substantial business. (20+ employees.)

To interview someone on his radio show.

A radio show that few of his customers could listen to live if they wanted to.

Why would he do that?

It made him a celebrity in his industry.
Having a show gave him instant recognition as an “expert.”

He made connections with industry leaders, experts and newsmakers that would have been impossible without his radio show.
He was perceived as being worth more and was able to command higher fees. He differentiated himself form his competition. No one else had a show and had spoken personally to so many industry movers and shakers.

If there was a popular author, expert or newsmaker in the industry, he had probably spoken to them. Would not have been able to do that without a radio show.

His conversations with potential clients were very different than the conversations his competition was having with potential clients. You know whom? You have spoken to whom? You have met whom?

As a result of those contacts he was referred business from those contacts he never would have gotten before.

Because he had a show and was creating content on varied topics, his clients and customers were aware of all the service he provided and he didn’t miss out on cross-selling and referral opportunities because his client base “wasn’t aware” he did that.”

Those were many of the reasons why having a local am radio show worked for my friend Julie, and me, and Mike Litman, John Jantsch, Eric Letendre and the financial planner.

But it also killed me to see many businesses, who could reap a tremendous benefit from having their own radio show… more clients, more business, more referrals and cross-selling and higher rates and fees… continue to spend thousands and thousands, and many times more than what it would cost to have a radio show on the marketing idea of the month without super-success.

Some thought it was probably expensive.
Some thought it was too much work.
Or that you needed expensive equipment.
Or you needed broadcast experience.
Or that you needed technical experience.
That you needed to be on a rated station.
That you needed a lot of people to listen on-air.
That you made money by selling advertising.

All wrong.

A simple lack of understanding and knowledge was costing them “expert” status, a major competitive advantage and the ability to charge higher rates and fees.

You can have your own radio show for less than the cost of one ad in the newspaper. Less than a yellow pages ad, less than mailing 500 letters, less than most of the marketing ideas of the month you have been trying again and again and again with little impact and no gained competitive advantage.

There are two big benefits you get from hosting your own radio show. Benefits that you simply cannot get with other marketing tools.

1. You become an instant expert. You connect with authorities and newsmakers in your industry.
2. You are creating content. Think of your show not as a radio show as much as it is “content.” Content that you distribute by many means for a variety of purposes.

When you are an expert creating content a number of things happen.

1. You get more inquiries and/or foot traffic.
2. You close more new business.
3. You command higher rates and fees.
4. You are perceived as different from your competition.
5. You are recognized as THE EXPERT in your niche.
6. The value of your average new account goes up.
7. You upsell easier.
8. You cross-sell more.
9. You get more referrals.

This has nothing to do with substantively whether you are better, know more or are more competent than your competition. We all know really smart people who work hard and don’t generate the incomes they deserve.

It is about being perceived as worth more and reaping the financial rewards of those perceptions.

Many people whose incomes are many times higher than average in their industry or professions are not many more times better. But they are perceived to be so and reap the rewards of those perceptions. Those perceptions are something you create. They don’t just happen. You make it happen.

Now lets fast forward a few years from all that. My good friend Keating who owned the radio stations that I broadcast on for years called and asked for some help. He had just upgraded his station from 500 to 30,000 kw. A massive signal expansion. Would I help him find people who wanted to have their own shows on the weekend just like I did. Keating had done me many favors and I readily agreed.

So I put together a marketing campaign, adwords, websites, automated email autoresponder systems and more. Attracted thousands and was able to speak to hundreds of people that had radio shows on “real” radio stations, online stations for a fee, online stations for free and podcasting.

You know what, despite massive investments of time and often significant outlays of money… $5,000, $7,000, $9,000 and more… hardly any were making any money. They had shows but no revenue and frankly no clue as to how to make money with their show. The information simply was not available.

My goal had been to help my friend Keating but what happened is that a good number of people asked me to help them with their shows. To produce a better show and show them how to monetize their show.

This was a few years ago and at the time I was astounded at how much money was being spent by people to host a radio show and they were getting nothing from it. Nothing. Just bills.

I thought there was a market for information about how to make money and attract new business with a radio show. At that time one of the Fortune 10 companies had me on planes every week conducting sales trainings in every territory, the country’s #1 franchise company had me speaking to their master owners and consulting with them and I had many other clients that ate up all my time, but I never forgot this radio show idea and thought with the right help it would be a great business.

That is what lead to mytalkradioshow.com being created. It is part free resource site and part membersite that helps business owners create, market and monetize their own radio shows. It is all real world and uses actual success stories and practical examples to guide you through the steps of getting started, marketing and setting up your revenue streams. Did I mention marketing.

We have webinar, coaching calls and the Radio Show Infopreneur Teleseseminar series scheduled where you get a ton of practical info from those that are doing it.

If you would like to explore how you might benefit from having a radio show and wish to discuss specifically how you might gain all the benefits related above, I would be happy to discuss your situation, the production process (it is pretty simple,) how other marketing tools might be used to help you, the costs, and any other questions you have.

Best wishes,
Scott Channell