How to Become a Community Talk Show Host

August 19, 2001 | By | Reply More

QUESTION on How to Become a Community Talk Show Host

I want to begin my own community talk show with sponsors. I am currently doing a show on our public access channel without pay, it is another lady’s show, she has a community newspaper and cannot do both, plus she has become tired and ask me to help her. The equipment is only one camera. I would like to upgrade to a radio station, not necessarily TV. I have a management degree and also radio/TV background. I am also a recent retiree over 50yrs of age returning to my home town. How to sell a community show and where to get sponsors is the real problem. Can you offer some advise? Thank you.

– Margot


Dear Margot:

What an exciting endeavor you’re contemplating. Here are some thoughts my business partner and I had. This community newspaper of the woman you’re doing the public access channel for: is it free? subscription? Who advertises in it? Can these advertisers be extended to radio/TV?

In going back to your home town: Are there long-time stores or businesses you’ve frequented you can tap for sponsorship? Look at significant employers in the area, discount stores, service-based industries who might want to sponsor your program. Get a commitment you can take to the station manager (e.g., three months of advertising …). Within your community, check out the local census. What are the demographics of your area? Try to find local issues to appeal to. Find out what the current radio/TV habits are of your potential audience. Be able to tell the station manager “what’s broken” and how your show can fix it.

Here are a few public relations angles to address to drum up support for your show: local prodigal returns; old school connections (alum makes good), guests you can bring in, near and far away, what need you’ll be fulfilling (whether recognized or not), how the town has changed over the years, and where it will be X # years from now. Volunteer to be interviewed on media desired (radio or TV).

Try to break the mold, do something different.

Best of luck, Margot. Let us know how it goes!

Recommended Books on Becoming a Community Talk Show Host


Article originally published August 2001. Updated on February 19, 2012

Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy and is co-founder of Real-World PR , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.

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