Expert Columns

Have some fun this Christmas! It's not too late to create some on-air buzz and help your listeners get in the holiday mood. If you're looking for some listener-engagement challenges, try one of these:
1) Create an “Impossible Christmas Carol Challenge.” Ask listeners to test their knowledge of Christmas music live on air. But ask them to do things such as quote gifts from The Twelve Days of Christmas – backwards and without peeking! Listener compete to win an item from the above list...or whatever gifts you can make available.
2) Send a Song – Invite listeners to record a “music video” of themselves – or their kids – singing their favorite Christmas carol and post in on your Facebook page. Choose the best three, and ask listeners to vote for a winner. Run this promotion over a week's time so that listeners have time to participate.
3) Try “The Twelve Tweets of Christmas.” Boost your social media presence with an online search and find. Choose twelve picturesque locations around town, take photos of a small section of the decoration or location and tweet or Instagram the photos to listeners. Invite listeners to reply with their best guesses. The first listener to get all answers correct wins.
4) Run a “Virtual” 5K. Challenge families or co-workers to complete a 5K race during the Christmas season. Listeners can choose their own course and keep track of their mileage. Invite families and teams to post photos of themselves decked out in the season's finest...or funniest. The goal is to get people moving and enjoy some great time together during Christmas. And, if possible, get a sponsor who can give prizes to the first 25, 50 or 100 listeners to sign up and complete the marathon.
5) “This is My Tree” - Ask listeners to post photos of their Christmas trees on your social media channels. Give prizes for the most traditional, most decorated or most unusual tree.
It's OK to have some fun during Christmas. After all, we are celebrating the best thing that ever happened. So remind families to rise above the commercialism and clutter and enjoy the reason for the season!

I came across an old poem while working on Thanksgiving show prep.

It's a good reminder for today, tomorrow and all year long.

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving (Unknown)

Count your blessings instead of crosses;

Count your gain instead of losses.

Count your joys instead of woes;

Count your friends instead of foes.

Count your smiles instead of tears;

Count your courage instead of fears.

Count your full years instead of lean;

Count your kind deeds instead of mean.

Count your health instead of wealth;

Count on God instead of yourself.

I pray that your Thanksgiving is chock-full of reminders of God's grace throughout the past year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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....

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.

The most important question we ask ourselves in this business is this: who is my audience?

But if that's the only question you're asking, you might be missing some important information.

With the Thanksgiving holiday just days away, and Christmas coming in a handful of weeks, here are some additional questions you should ask in order to make sure you're connecting with listeners and social media users.

My key listener is planning for the holidays, but what else is going on in her life? Sure, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the big events, but what about child care during Thanksgiving week when the kids are out of school? What about keeping the kids occupied during the trip to grandma's house?

What are biggest pain points today? Is she worried about finances? Holiday expectations? How should she deal with tense family situations during holiday visits? How can she make time for all the school and church events, shopping, work and the day-to-day needs of her family?

What does a perfect day look like? If you could solve all of your listener's problems, how would she spend her day? If you knew what things she would enjoy, could you give them to her? A day spa? A personal assistant to do shopping and errands? Can you give her those things?

Don't be content to talk to a stereotype. Get to know your listeners, tailor your programming, chatter and social media posts to her needs and see what difference it makes during the holiday season.

P.S. - Speaking of the holidays (and Black Friday/Cyber Monday), one of the hottest gifts this year is the new Nintendo NES Classic. It sold out in the first day of its release. But if you get one, you can plan a fun promotion around it. Who knows? You might solve one of mom's biggest problems if her kids – or husband – are clamoring for one.

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....

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....

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