[as originally published on backstage.com]
by Naz Barouti
Over the last 10 years, I’ve amassed hundreds of hours behind the microphone on my weekly radio shows and during that time I’ve also had the responsibility of building and keeping the audiences for those shows. With the advent of the digital age and its continued evolution came the ability to not only livestream shows online but also house these shows on the internet. They can now find a more permanent home on one of the many platforms available, from iTunes to SoundCloud, alongside a world of podcasts that is expanding exponentially.
In this ever-growing world of radio shows and podcasts, there are many opportunities for you. You can join a show as a host or start and host your own program. You can discuss your acting, dancing, or singing career or focus on a hobby unrelated to your career entirely. There are many different paths you can take, but no matter which one you choose, there are some important things you should consider so you can not only build your audience as a radio or podcast host but keep one as well.
1. Put your passion first.
Make sure the topic of the program is something you’re extremely passionate about! I don’t mean something you just sort of like a lot either. I’m talking about something you’re eager to wake up every morning and discuss for hours. You also need to be knowledgeable in the area. I feel there’s a misconception out there that your show has to be trendy to be successful, which may be some part of it, but if you’re not knowledgeable about the subject of your show and have a wide array of opinions on it, it’s not likely anyone will be investing 45 minutes of L.A. traffic time listening to you. If it’s not something you’re passionate about, forget it. You’ve lost them.
2. Plan to not plan.
That’s right, don’t plan! I strongly discourage hosts from planning every sentence and punch line. I’m not saying go into each show not knowing what topic you will discuss, but don’t write out a script and stage the show. As a host, I always tell my guests before I interview them they should save it for the air. I never want to go over too many talking points before the show. Having a natural, organic conversation makes for great material. It’s more engaging. It’s more interesting. The key to building a faithful audience is to be authentic because anything less than that will turn the listener off. Another suggestion is to not filter yourself. Having your own tone and flow to the show is what’s going to make you stand out from other hosts and podcasters.
3. Make sure you promote, promote, promote!
Use all means possible to promote your show. Take advantage of everything whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, word-of-mouth, and more. If you don’t promote yourself who will? All of these platforms can reach a wide range of people and you might just be surprised by who you reach and who finds your show appealing. One listener shares your show on their social media, which turns into three more listeners, who then tell their friends and family and suddenly you have yourself new listeners in mere minutes.
By following these tips, your podcast or radio audience will keep listening and growing in no time.
Naz Barouti is an attorney, author, entrepreneur, media commentator, and public speaker. Known in the legal world as the estate planning “guru,” Naz has been called upon by such news outlets as Fox News Radio, Bloomberg TV, USA Today, and Fox 11 News for legal commentary in matters of death, divorce, or criminal prosecution of high-profile figures.