9 Tips to Engage & Entertain Radio Listeners

June 26, 2020 | Hugues 

Let’s see your grasp on current affairs: What’s currently happening around the world?

CORONAVIRUS. And it's making people panicky & gloomy. And it has confined them indoors.

The best stress relief medication —on most peoples’ minds— is listening to the radio (well, there is Netflix, but radio rocks more) Yeah?

If you’re noting that more people are listening to your radio, it's the best time to make a good impression and retain new listeners. 

The only way to do this is by becoming more entertaining.

Use these tips to obtain the highest listener engagement. Learn how to make shows Fun.

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TIP 1:

Talk Over The Music


“Okay, you say I should talk over the music. Yeah, but what can I say?”

There is, “plenty” you can say.

First, during the song’s intro – when it’s just the beats – introduce the artist and name of the song.

The song’s outro is when the song is drawing to a close. Some songs fade off. Others repeat the chorus.

Here you can talk about how awesome the song has been. Interject a quick fact about the songwriter, upcoming tour dates —you get the gist.

Though tricky, but often pulled off by some presenters, you can actually sing along only for a few seconds.

Don’t annoy the music purists.

They draw lines that should never be crossed.

Moving on…

TIP 2:

Show That You’re Enjoying The Content


Wanna know a secret about the best entertainers? 

Well, they thoroughly enjoy what they do.

Think about the most entertaining artist (someone in the back yelled Beyonce).

Okay fine, when she is on stage, she is dancing like there is no tomorrow.

Another example. Well the comedian, Stephen Colbert. There you have a man who is not afraid to do the silly stuff, smile, and interact with the audience.

And radio host? Just find a clip of Ryan Seacrest (embedded below). He is smiling, gesturing, buzzing with excitement, standing from his seat – the whole package.

See, people can’t enjoy some dull presenter who hates the material.

They can’t connect with what’s funny or interesting if your voice is just one constant low-energy hum.

They can't see you, but they feel you.

TIP 3:

Don’t Forget The Sound Effects


One way you can use sound effects to engage your radio listeners is to create DRAMA & atmosphere!

For instance, think about revealing some shocking piece of information. “The actual killer was his mother, Sandy Johns [thunder and lightning].”

Sound effects can be artistic expressions too. 

Picture playing some effects while the song is playing.

For instance, there is a radio called Energy Radio. When the DJ is playing songs especially something fun, you’d hear the stinger “Energy radio” repeated. 

For some reason, it psyches up the audience.

With thousands of sound effects available on the world wide web – some paid & others free – you have no excuse of not using these artificially created sounds.

TIP 4:

Work On Being Funny


A sheep, a goat, and rabbi walk into a bar!

Well, I’ll leave it to you to complete this classic joke (Keep it PG).

Funny presenters are likable. It is the case because they are enjoyable to listen to.

If you’re a tidbit funny, people can listen to you for hours on end because your delivery is ear-catching.

Everyone is born funny. It might be that you lost some of your humor along the way.

So, what can you do to regain some of this humor and never tell dry jokes?

You can learn from the experts on how to be funny. Take an improvisation class. Read funny books.

Loosen up, and give your silly side a chance. Laughing is so great, it even extends life and triggers happy emotions in the brain.

TIP 5:

Hit Them With Unusual Facts


I bet you’re familiar with Buzz feed articles and their catchy headlines.

If not, check the website real quick. You’ll find articles like “10 photos that don’t make sense or Things that All ‘90 Teenage Girls Did.”

These articles promise little known facts. Interesting info.

Similarly, you can present your audience with new surprising information they never knew.

It’s not difficult to do in this information driven age. For instance, you can present little known facts about a particular artist like what they have for breakfast each day and how to cook the same meal.

We love informative people because they give us new things to think about.

Therefore, engage with your radio audience by being the fun educator.

Don’t hammer them with fact after fact. Shows may start to feel like classroom lessons.

TIP 6:

Tell a story


Every time you go on air, the rule of the thumb is having at least 3 prepared stories to tell.

Stories must have some basic components: The main character, their goal, and a series of challenges that keep them from achieving their objective.

Each story should also have an intro, middle, and end.

Here is a quick example:

a) Intro
Humble is a day trader who hoped to make a million dollars trading (goal).

b) Middle
She was undisciplined at the start and lost over $100,000 (challenge).

c) End
Her fortunes changed when she learned about the yoga trading technique. Now, she is worth over 3 million dollars (achieves goal after setbacks).

That’s a simple story. Look for other tales, and if you keep them real and anonymous all the better.

It’s a simple trick to keep your audience glued to you.

TIP 7:

Observational humor


Are you searching for a switch you can flick and instantly become funny?

Well, here is the truth. Most comedians aren’t funny!

They just use the power of observational humor.

It mostly involves telling real-life stories from experiences that have happened to them.

People who have successfully done this include Jerry Seinfeld, Bernie Mac, Daren Sterblow, Rob Thomas, among others.

The good thing about these jokes is that they are going to be very unique.

You may end up galvanizing some of your family members or friends like Bernie Mac did. But that’s a risk you’ll have to take to entertain and engage your listeners.

TIP 8:

Interact and compliment your audience


Hi stranger….

I have a feeling that you want to be the best entertainer on this little rock in space. Is that right?

I bet you dream of thrilling listeners to their core. Magnetizing them with creative shows, a good mix of music, lifestyle & culture: The Full Buffet!

If you’re still reading, it is because the words above are speaking directly to you.

They are interactive and conversational. Aim to achieve the same when broadcasting.

Speak to the listener’s soul, and anticipate their reactions. Know what they are thinking every minute.

Ensure you encourage listeners to call in or send messages through social media.

Take their song requests and even read their emails on the air.

TIP 9:

Deliver with energy and confidence


It’s really not what you say most of the time that matters, but how you say it.

Shout “I love you” at the top of your lungs and whisper “I love you” — and you’ll grasp the underlying sentiment.

Presenters must deliver with energy. Their manner of speaking should be animated with bombastic words and pleasant language. They must spread their energy around to co-hosts, interviewees, and listeners.

Finally, confidence carries the day. Become confident by having a deep conviction about your abilities, talents, and position in the world.

Believe that you’re truly the greatest and soon or later your self-assurance will become unshakable.

Final words

Fostering listener engagement is not a difficult undertaking. Anyone can do it provided they implement some of these tips shared above. 


People are fascinated by people. It’s the premise of why we love radio so much.

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