Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Bruce Williams all have something in common – they are riding the wave of the information age by packaging information in a hard-hitting yet entertaining format, and delivering it on talk radio.
Dr. B.J. Palmer even recognized the power of radio when he started “WOC” (World of Chiropractic) radio in Davenport, Iowa, in chiropractic’s formative years. He subsequently wrote a book entitled “Radio Salesmanship” to help other chiropractors harness the power of this medium.
Though the idea may seem formidable at first glance, with a little persistence, patience and knowledge, you, too, can host your own radio show. An effective program can help flood your office with new patients and can give you credibility in your community as a health-care expert.
To start the process of developing your own show, you need to find out which stations in your area have a “talk” format. The majority of stations that carry a “music” format will not necessarily want to air a “talk” program, though that is not always the case. The smaller the market, the greater the possibility that the station will host a talk program, especially if it is packaged as a service to the community.
Another option to actually doing talk show on a music station is doing a “live commercial.” This is when a disc jockey or station host calls you on the telephone, live, and asks you a health-related question to which you respond.
Your next step is contacting the production manager. Call, make an appointment, and present your idea for the show. Your in-person presentation must convey interest and enthusiasm; make sure you have a lively, one-page, written description to leave behind. Remember, you must answer the biggest question the production manager will have: “Will this show be of interest to our listeners?” The other important, follow-up question will be: “Will it draw a large enough crowd to sell advertising spots?”
Be sure to give the production manager an overview of the audience you hope to reach and the types of questions you think you’ll be fielding. The public lives with symptoms, syndromes and named diseases. Your approach should focus on natural options to these problems. Like the advice you give in your practice, your advice on the show will most likely emphasize healthy eating, nutrition, exercise, and, of course, chiropractic.
The next step to getting your program on the air is to negotiate a contract. Don’t try anything less than a six-month contract – it takes that long to get your message, and your name, to penetrate the mind set of the people in your community. It is essential, while in the negotiation process, that you have the radio station include promos and one-minute commercials as part of your package.
While it is preferable that you have a one-hour time slot for your show, if you can only get a 30-minute slot, then grab it. Additionally, go for a time slot that you think will match the peak listening hours of your prospective patients; however, don’t be reluctant to take a weekend slot; it still can be quite productive.
On the Air
You want to immediately engage your listeners as the program opens. Make your opening point or question and grab their attention. For instance, pose a health problem, and let your audience know you will be presenting a natural, unique, or alternative approach and/or perspective to that problem during the course of the show.’
A great way to captivate your listeners is to have them take a test on the air about the symptoms of a certain health concern, such as low back pain, to determine if they might have that problem. You can have your audience at-large take the test, and even have a listener or two call in and take the test live.
Always be prepared with a topic and have current research to back it up. This is the age of instant information, and the Internet is a great resource. Never say anything on the radio that you can’t back up with data, research or clinical documentation. When you are giving information that appears to be in opposition to conventional medicine, quote medical doctors who are calling into question the practices and procedures of their own colleagues. By taking the high road, your audience will admire and respect you.
Keep your show interesting by having guest speakers, asking trivia questions, and giving away prizes (even small prizes like t-shirts or books have audience appeal). Your audience wants to be entertained and informed.
Bringing in New Patients
When a listener calls in with a question, answer the question to the best of your ability and then say, “If you would call my office at (your number), I will be happy to send you out some more information on (the discussed condition or problem).”
By telling the listener to call your office for the additional information, you’ve just converted an inquiry into a prospective patient. Once you have the person’s address, send the information that was requested, plus information about your office. This is the time when you can offer a complimentary consultation, or reduced first visit fee, in accordance with your state board guidelines, of course.
Another effective method is, after giving a caller an overview of a particular health problem, state: “What I want you to do is call my office and leave your name and number, I think this is something I can help you with.” As before, you can offer a complimentary consultation or screening. These approaches move listeners down your information tunnel, and, before you know it, new patients will be filling your office.
Keeping Costs Down
An effective way to lower the cost of your show, or perhaps eliminate the cost entirely, is to have one or more sponsors. Make sure you choose an individual or company that agrees with your natural approach to health. An excellent choice is a holistic nutritionist, because they complement your structural approach to health.
You can also find sponsors who are willing to donate products for trivia questions, or who will pay to have their sponsorship of the show mentioned on the air. Mattress companies, gyms, bottled water distributors, and health-food stores are some examples of potential sponsors.
Catch the Vision
Too often, people who work in the media get their information from the pharmaceutical companies and the American Medical Association’s press releases. Chiropractic has so much to offer, but we don’t have the option of waiting for the media to spread our message.
We must take the offensive, and present our case to a world that is hungary for the information we have. One ideal way to spread the chiropractic message is to have one or more DCs with their own radio show, in every marketplace in the nation.