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Ace McKay
Ace Books Consulting

The Art of Great Phone Calls





“Hi WWWW who’s this?”


“Hi this is Tammy”


“Hey Tammy” STOP!


Where do you go from here?


The art of great phones calls continues to be a mystery on the radio. Up and down the dial, I continue to hear people make fun of their listeners, tell them they are losers on simple trivia questions but worse then that they miss an opportunity to make them feel welcome and connected to the station and to your show. What you say inside of 10 words or less makes a huge impact to the person who took time out of their busy day to call your station for anything ranging from a song request to great stories in their life. They chose you, YES YOU, and your station to reach out to and the best was to making a lasting connection is to make them feel welcome.


 Now before I give you a couple of great ways to make them feel loved and appreciated, I need to bust the biggest myth on phone calls that stations continue to blow on a daily basis.


 The Number of Calls on your Show Doesn’t Mean Success. You can open a topic or just have unsolicited calls but the number of people let alone quality calls doesn’t mean your show connected to the listener today.  The only way to connect is with the right calls that can help reflect the imagine of the station and by engaging them in a way that makes them feel like they just got off the phone with family leaves them knowing why this is their favorite station. It creates pyro marketing too as people talk about their experience. Matter of fact reward them with something just for taking the time to call and you’d be surprise how quickly that pays off.


I recently had one of my clients in Denver who aired one call in the grand scheme of a 2-hour show. Now she even aired it live which goes against everything I believe in phone calls because taking them and using them at the right time makes it better to put the best part of the caller on instead of they have to GO ON NOW because they might hang up. However, in this case it worked because she was talking about something that engaged him enough to call in and share his story which I might add actually painted him in a bad light however not only did the host hold his hand to pick him up but in it fit the topic at the right time in the show. It turned out to be one of the best parts of the show that day and it was memorable because we could emphasize with him. When you do that it reflects your station as caring and you don’t have to be overtly Jesus about to stand out.


Now the 2 things you can do to make your callers feel welcome.


1.    Air The Best Part of Their Reason for Calling.  I believe great calls begat great calls so if you feel you don’t get the best ones then go back and listen to what quality not quantity you are putting on the air.


2.    Use Them to Image your Station.  A great call is also worth reusing so don’t feel you only have one shot to get something out of your listeners. It can be reused in the show, for promos or other imaging when it fits.


Lastly, it’s good to remember that calls are just as much a part of the canvas you paint every day as finding prep. They sometimes use wide or narrow brushes based on how much the listeners words move the show forward but its up to you know how to the proper color and placement on the canvas to make them the star. The wrong stroke or color can deface your show completely and it’s hard to recover from that.  Draw the right kind of attention to them now that they are in the painting.


 Ace McKay is a Consultant and Talent Coach for Ace Books Consulting. He can be reached at