Expert Columns

Thanksgiving is three weeks away, and Christmas is right around the corner. Families are getting into holiday mode…and they’re looking at their budgets. The holidays are never easy on the pocketbook. There are plenty of things that drain the bank account: meals, office parties, family events, and gifts.
How can you help families navigate through the usual budget traps during this time of year?
• Invite families to post no-cost or low-cost gift ideas. Add those ideas to your social media pages.
• Interview a budgeting expert and invite listeners to share their budgeting tips.
• Ask listeners if they have a set dollar amount for gifts or do they just shop and hope for the best deals.
• Share some “How-to” gift-making videos on your social media pages.
• Talk about low-cost, easy-to-make recipes for holiday dinners.
• Ask families about home-made gifts. Do they mean as much to kids? Family members? If so, what are the best low-cost ideas?
• Start a discussion: Which is better – gift cards or presents.
• Talk about shopping tips – especially Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping. Is it better to buy gifts before the big events or to make a mad dash to the store?
• Dare to discuss impulse buying. Is it ok? Do you avoid it? If so, how?
• Ask moms where to find the best deals.
• Invite listeners to give their opinion on giving “used” items from thrift stores? What's the best item to buy there? Is it books, toys, games? Is it OK to give “used” gifts?
• Invite moms to share how they choose gifts for family members. Do they plan gifts in advance or go “spur of the moment?
• Talk about office parties, school events and church performances. How do you buy the right gift, choose the best party food or plan to save money on all these extras?
Have some fun with these ideas. Add your own. And help your listeners save money – and get creative – during the holiday season.

When the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day – are over, what will be your greatest success?

Will you see a boost in listenership? Online growth? More donations and funding?

What goals are you setting so that you see those increases?

While much of our focus is on making sure we've covered the details for each holiday promotion, scheduled staff to cover vacations and holidays, it's easy to overlook the opportunities we have during the holiday season.

Take time today to write out three goals you'd like to accomplish during November and December. It may only take five minutes to write them on a three-by-five card or jot down in Evernote, but make sure you put them in a place where you'll see them often. And as each station event comes up, remind yourself of those goals and keep them in mind whether you're in the field or on the phone.

It doesn't matter whether your goals are little or big. What matters is that you plan for success, then put feet to your dreams.

Make the most of the opportunities that come your way during the holiday season and be intentional to reach your goals.


Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions.  He is a Colorado Springs-based morning show co-host and writer. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it....

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, but it's also one of the best times of the year to promote your station. So before you head out on a remote, a toy drive, or a Thanksgiving marathon, review this checklist to make the most of your station promotions.
• Give your entire staff a one page description of the event. Include the Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Add important phone numbers for key contacts including the host at the site.
• Line up all messaging on-air and on-line. Taking the time to coordinate your communications allows you to reach your audience on their platform of choice: live broadcast, web, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
• Think about the remote as a chance to gather audio testimonials, photos, and quotes from your audience. Use these in other promotions, direct mail pieces, or online posts.
• Fill your promo box/bucket. Make sure you're well-stocked with stickers, station guides, pens, entry forms and giveaways.
• Check your equipment. Does it work? Do you need extra batteries? Memory cards?
• Does everyone on your team have station gear or name tags?
• Bring your cellphone charger. Otherwise, your phone will die at the worst moment possible.
Remember that today's radio remotes can be much more than a couple of call-ins to the station. They can become multi-platform events that reach audiences on the medium of their choice. Make every effort to keep people excited and interested in your station.

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. 
He is a Colorado Springs-based morning show co-host and writer. You can connect with him at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it....

Radio is at it's best when it stirs the imagination. Take, for instance, radio's best-known Halloween prank. On Sunday, October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater of the air pranked a million listeners with the broadcast of “War of the Worlds.”

While the stories of widespread panic and mass hysteria are largely the stuff of legend, the news-report style of the show had many convinced that someone...somewhere...Martians, maybe...had invaded the United States.

The “War of the Worlds” broadcast was a masterful mix of writing, production and storytelling. Actors played their parts – from the “Secretary of the Interior” to the daring “reporters” who delivered updates from the front lines of the alien invasion – sometimes narrating their own demise:

Streets are all jammed. Noise in crowds like New Year's Eve in the city. Wait a minute . . . Enemy now in sight above the Palisades. Five -- five great machines. First one is crossing river. I can see it from here, wading the Hudson like a man wading through a brook . . . Now the first machine reaches the shore. He stands watching, looking over the city. His steel, cowlish head is even with the skyscrapers. He waits for the others. They rise like a line of new towers on the city's west side . . . Now they're lifting their metal hands. This is the end now. Smoke comes out . . . black smoke, drifting over the city. People in the streets see it now. They're running towards the East River . . . thousands of them, dropping in like rats. Now the smoke's spreading faster. It's reached Times Square. People trying to run away from it, but it's no use. They're falling like flies. Now the smoke's crossing Sixth Avenue . . . Fifth Avenue . . . one hundred yards away . . . it's fifty feet . . .

But all of that happened long ago. What does an almost-eighty-year-old Halloween prank have to do with today's Christian radio ministry?

Simply this: radio is at it's best when it stirs the imagination. And it's what can set you apart from the rest of the pack. Everyone reports the same traffic and weather. Everyone plays a mix of the same songs. But not every jock or personality can make me feel the emotion of a song. Or the frustration of the morning rush. Or a thousand other things. But you can speak the truth in a way that's engaging and compelling. You do it by using words and emotions that pique my interest and challenge me to engage with your message.

We're near the end of October. So take time to listen to radio's best Halloween prank and let your imagination be stirred by listening to the old “War of the Worlds” broadcast. Enjoy some good, solid storytelling. Then get back on the air, stir some imaginations and create some great radio.

(Attribution: Script from the “War of the Worlds” adapted by Howard E. Koch, 1938)

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions.  He is a Colorado Springs-based morning show co-host and writer. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it....

As Christian communicators, we have the honor of telling the greatest story ever told. But our world is noisy. How do we cut through the clutter to share our message?

If it's true that people see thousands of messages each day, how can we make sure the truth of God's Word and His love rises above all other messages?

The answer is two-fold: First, to that we're not the first generation to ever deal with a noisy world. And secondly, to look to how others have succeeded in sharing God's truth. In the middle half of the last century, author C.S. Lewis shared his thoughts on how to spread the Gospel message. His words are still good for today:

“We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects — with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defense of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian.” (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock)

What opportunities do you have today to tell little stories? To write little books? To share the simple truths of the Gospel in small but powerful ways? Small stories can make a big difference.

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions.  He is a Colorado Springs-based morning show co-host and writer. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it....

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