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Tim McDermott “An Off-Air Tool to Improve Your Listener Experience”

I know when I walk into a Starbucks, I expect a certain experience.  It’s the same when I fly Southwest or get my chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.  I know I will hear “my pleasure” and I will always feel cared for as a human being.  It doesn’t matter whether I am in Minnesota or Texas – the experience is still the same. 


But how about your radio station?  What is the experience you give your ministry off the air?


Imagine for a moment that every listener who interacts with your station is treated in the same way.  The way you want them to be treated.  The way you want them to experience your ministry.  Imagine the values you want are displayed with every phone call, every email, every social engagement.  But how do you do that? 


Let me introduce to a concept that works to make this happen – a ministry checklist.  I am calling it “The Ultimate Ministry Experience”.  Not a long checklist, but a simple list you and your team create that reflects how you want the listener to experience your station – no matter who they talk to.  It may seem very rote at first,  but successful large companies do these today because they work. 


Here’s a sample of one I’ve created for you to use for phone calls. 


  1. Ministry Opening – Did I use our standard branded opening for the call? 


[Nothing is more important to brand than consistency. Make sure every phone call starts with the same wording for every call.  If your station doesn’t have one – create one.]


  1. Smile – Did I smile when I talked?  


[Listeners can hear a smile.  Try saying a sentence with and without a smile. There’s a difference.  If your organization is a place of Hope, then greet your listeners with a smile of Hope.]


  1. Listen – Did I practice active listening?


[This skill is so important.  Don’t cut them off or finish their sentences.  Ask clarifying questions? Make sure you understand why they called and repeat it back to them to let them know they were heard.] 


  1. Fruit of the Spirit – During the call, did I display Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control?


[As Christ-followers we are known by our fruit. Every call is an opportunity to showcase our maturity in Christ.]


  1. Pray – Offer to pray for their need. 


[We can make a difference on every phone call.  There are so many hurting people today. Incorporate offering to pray for every listener who calls in. If you are on-the-air and are limited in time, at least put their request on a prayer list. If your station doesn’t have one, start one.]


Picture this.  Every caller who calls in, hears your branded opening by a friendly smiling person who listens to them.  The person they talk to is a mature believer who loves them and displays the Fruit of the Spirit.  Then the person is unexpectedly ministered to with an opportunity to share a need and be prayed for.  I believe you have just reached Ministry Excellence through your Ultimate Ministry Experience Checklist! 


I would recommend no more than 5 checklist items.  Create the list electronically or on paper and make sure your employee checks off every item for each call.  As you roll it out, explain the “why” you are doing it and make it habit forming.  Make it a required daily item for three months until it becomes a habit.  Then do it once a week for 3 more months.  And then once a quarter for one day after that going forward.  You can use my example here or create your own for your brand.  Consider other checklists for social engagement posts, emails and for staff/volunteers manning the booths at promotional events.  Every public touch should have the same consistency and the same ministry experience.  


In Broadcast Leadership for over 40 years, Tim is now a consultant working with GMs/CEOs and nonprofit leaders helping them solve challenges.  He can be reached at Tim@TimMcDermottConsulting.com

One thought on “Tim McDermott “An Off-Air Tool to Improve Your Listener Experience”

  • You are absolutely right, Tim. Maintaining friendly and positive relationships with listeners, donors, and advertisers is essential for success! As someone has observed, it takes less facial muscles to smile, than to frown. So, why frown? Happy and positive people are contagious! They are like the joy of the LORD — they give you strength and encouragement.

    PS: When you take time to pray for someone who is having a tough day, they know, you really care!


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