ArticlesFeature Article

Amanda Carroll “@ Your Listener”

“People’s home movies are a lot more interesting when you are in them” -John Frost.  But, we don’t have home movies anymore?  Now what does this Frostism mean for radio?! Here’s my 2-cents. 


Watching someone else’s videos about their extravagant vacation or date night on Instagram is a lot more interesting (and easier to stomach) if YOU are in them. You are more likely to click on an image or watch a video if you are TAGGED because you are in it, or even if you attended the same event.  That’s what each break, fundraising ask, or endorsement spot should feel like to your listener. Use the word YOU, and delete the word ME from your vocabulary. 


It used to be that when the youth group went on a mission trip you used to welcome them home with a potluck for a “viewing” of their slide shows or home movies from the trip.  I remember tagging along to missionary nights with my Grandmother to sit in the church basement with her when missionaries would show slide shows of faraway worlds with little, tiny churches that looked more like a shack and hear about the impact they were making for Jesus.  It was boring.  Sorry Grandma. Sorry Jesus. Sorry John Frost.  The free brownies weren’t quite enough to get me engaged. 


I only got engaged in missions when I went on my first overseas trip to Ecuador with World Vision.  Now, when I see those same images on social media about other people’s mission trips to faraway lands I am engaged because I know when it’s like to experience the same thing. Since then, I’ve been to The Dominican Republic with Operation Christmas Child, and Bangladesh with World Concern.  I’m hooked.  Now, whenever I see someone else going on a trip, and posting their pics and stories on Insta I lean in because it reminds me of the experiences that I have had.  It makes me nostalgic and reminds me of a time in my life that had a great impact on me.  That’s the feeling you want to tap into to get your listener to lean in to hear what you are saying, and selling.


Your First 4 Seconds Are The Most Important Thing You Say on the Radio


Research shows you only have 4 seconds to hook your listener after your song ends and start talking before, they decide to change the station or leave you for Spotify.  Those first 4 seconds are your catalyst to TAG your listener to make her feel a part of your break.  Before we had PPM  program directors were more concerned about getting air personalities to have the first thing out of their mouth the call letters of the station. It was DRILLED into my head the first thing out of my mouth every time a song ends, and I was about to talk was “89.3 KSBJ God Listens!” or “Positive Encouraging K-LOVE”. I think I even answered my own personal phone like that a few times it got to be such a habit.  I would rush the intro using no emotion because it became a task instead of an opportunity to connect. We used this strategy because radio stations ratings were based on how many times a listener with an Arbitron diary wrote down the station moniker.  If they wrote down any form of “KSBJ”, “God Listens”, “K-LOVE”, or “Positive and Encouraging” you got credit for that quarter hour.  


However, we live in a PPM world now,  Even if your station doesn’t subscribe to PPM we can learn from the data.  Listeners whom Arbitron sent a “Portable People Meter” to are digitally sending us their listening habits. Now we KNOW it takes 3-4 seconds before they switch the station after the song ends and a DJ starts talking.  YIKES! So, all those old ratings based on diary entries and using station monikers were WRONG! I don’t know about you, but I just did a face palm.  If you don’t launch your break, endorsement spot, or fundraising pitch with something that gets the attention of your listener in the first 3-4 seconds they will NEVER hear your punchline, or spiritual hug :60 ends into your break.  Plus, her car tells her what station she is listening to and what song just played.  Don’t waste her time, or she will switch the station like you lunge for the remote when watching the latest Ted Lasso episode to “skip intro”. Don’t waste your first 4 seconds by telling her something that the display on her Tesla already tells her.  She knows what station she is listening to and what song just played.  Don’t waste her time, or she will switch the station like you lunge for the remote when watching the latest Ted Lasso episode to “skip intro”. 


 “Tag” your listener on the radio


You should plan out the first :04 seconds of a break, fundraising ask, or endorsement spot like you’re trying to stop a teenager from scrolling through Tik Tok.  Always use the word YOU.  Saying “you” in the first :04 seconds is as powerful as when a friend tags the name of your profile on Facebook.  That’s the one you click on. Work in the word you and say the most shocking thing, biggest headline, most relevant to HER statement in those first :04.  Then you can say your name and the name of the station if your boss forces you. Think about what makes you stop and watch on Instagram or Tik Tok.  It’s something YOU care about, relate to, or remember.  What makes you stop scrolling through your Facebook feed?  A meme that makes you laugh? A quote that makes you feel better? Here are some examples: 




:04 Sacramento’s 103.9 The Fish Feeding Your Soul… So I hate dating apps…I went on this one and the guy lied to me about his age.

Your Listener’s inner monologue:  CLICK “I don’t really care what you think that’s the only way to find a date now….you have no idea what I go through 


:04 This is YOUR secret weapon to impress your date and find true love! 

Your Listener’s inner monologue:  LEANS IN…she wants to find love or has a single girlfriend that she really wants to help find someone.


A new survey found the Top Ten Things We Want in a Date Doesn’t Include Good Looks.. WHAT?  It’s #11.  Yet YOU and I choose dates with a quick swipe of your finger based on how attractive they are.  Instead… the top 3 things your true love wants in a date with you.  #3 Kindess, #2 They can make you laugh, and 1. Honesty.  So, if you open the car door, tell a great joke, and don’t lie about your age, you’ve got a great chance of find your true love! You just have to make it past that initial swipe! Tell your single friends to read someone’s profile details before they swipe… find the ones that like dogs, kids, and seem funny.  Don’t do what I did and end up showing up for a date sitting across from a guy that was clearly 10 years older and asked, “so how old do I look?”  So, I grabbed my purse and said “well nice meeting you and I appreciate you telling me what kind of person you are in the first :30 seconds so we don’t waste the next 30 years! 




You and she are now BFFs.  







:04 We’re raising money today to feed kids… we need you to be the next one to call to meet our goal! 

Your listener’s inner monologue 

Ugh… again… NOPE.



:04 When your kids say MOM I’M STARVING!  You get them a snack but imagine if you didn’t have anything to give. ..Today you can be the hero that helps that mom say YES. Here’s how.  

Your listener’s inner monologue 

OMG yes that’s not okay what is the phone number please now I have to go home to cook dinner.





:04 My backyard looks so awesome right now we can’t wait for summer parties thanks to Patriot Home Improvements! 

Your listener’s inner monologue 

Click!  Must be nice for you!  I hate my backyard right now ugh it’s so frustrating.



:04 You deserve to LOVE your backyard and be excited to host Fourth of July this year.  These are the people that can help you!  They did it for us! 

Your listener’s inner monologue 



Sharing your stories and your personal life is powerful to connect with your audience.  You just have to do it in a way that doesn’t sound like you are bragging and make her think you only talk about yourself.  We all have those friends on social media.  I typically put them on “mute”. You don’t want your listeners to do that to you!   Make her a part of YOUR story and she will be your BFF for life.  She might even start following and tagging YOU on her Instagram the next time she has a bad date with someone that lied about their age!


Also feel like I need to add….appreciate you John Frost.  Thanks for always saying things that make me think… and make my radio show matter. 


If you’d like, I’d be glad to hop on a free coaching call with you, your morning show, or any air talent!  Just send me an email… or a DM as the kids say haha! 

Amanda Carroll is a nationally syndicated host with Salem Communications, Assistant Program Director and Morning Show Co-Host at The Fish Sacramento. She also runs an online platform and podcast that inspires women to live a strong and courageous life at www.getyourbraveon.info.  If you’d to get her content on your radio station, email groberson@salemmusicnetwork.com   She is also available for talent coaching and consulting.  Email her at amanda@1039thefish.com 

One thought on “Amanda Carroll “@ Your Listener”

  • It’s not Salem Communications anymore. It’s now Salem Media Group


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *