The "sweet spot" for intros is about 30 seconds or less. Get to the point. Listeners just want to know what the topic is, why it is important, who the guest is, and where you are going with this topic and guest. Copy should be written for the ear and not the eye. The only way to make sure that is the case is by reading it aloud.
Promotion is critical before the show to draw listeners. Record spots that can be run several times before each show.
Make sure your show does not operate in its own silo. High quality talk shows generate news. News stories make great topics for talk shows. Share and recycle content to reach more listeners. Make sure the lines of communication are always open. Sit in on each others' editorial meetings.
Be about where you are. While one can contrive to label everything you do as local because “you” are doing it, an interview with an out-of-town author on a national book tour is much less “local” than something that is unique to or rooted in your own community.
Be distinctive. Find the guests who have not already been in the media and who have great stories that help define your place
The minimum wage lead also “globalized” the topic for listeners by framing it in a national context and promising that listeners would hear how wages in North Carolina compare to other states.
Listener: They said later they were going to take calls from the audience
Moderator: Is that a good idea?
Listener: I never think so.
In the 2006 “Sense of Place” research study done by PRPD and NPR’s Local News Initiative, we found that the call-in format itself tends to alienate an important segment of public radio listeners. Here are some listener verbatims that illustrate:
I can’t stand call in shows because my time is valuable I don’t want to listen to somebody who doesn’t have expertise.
WNPR Caller Screening Guidelines - Where We Live
If several lines are ringing at once, please answer each call, put them on hold. Go back to them in the order received and take the information. NEVER promise the caller they will get on the air unless the producer tells you to do so.
All callers must have a name and a location. The location can be “cell phone”. Speak slowly and clearly.
Jeffrey Callison, Insight
Capital Public Radio