Monica Brinkman and Fran Lewis on Radio Shows

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So You Think You Want to Be An Internet Radio Show Host

by Monica Brinkman

Many people have shown interest in creating their own radio show. Nothing wrong there—Internet radio is an excellent source of communication and entertainment.  In fact, we the hosts of It Matters radio entered into the business with a purpose—to provide exposure for the many talented musicians, writers and artists and to offer open communication on meaningful topics. Great idea, right?
 
So, you sit there fantasizing of the fame, the glory, the thrill and the excitement of it all: Your name spread across the internet, thousands flocking to be a guest on your show, even more thousands listening.  What a lark; what joy, what fun. After all, how difficult could it be?
 
Let me put it this way; to be successful as a radio host you need a spark of masochism, nerves of steel, and a very broad sense of humor. If you are the type who gets their feathers easily ruffled, if you cannot handle stress or change, let alone lack of a decent night’s sleep…do not…I repeat…do not even consider this venture. 
 
You will spend hours seeking show guests, researching topics, reading books and articles, listening to music, visiting web-sites, creating show pages and communicating with guests, fans and supporters. Then you have the inevitable marketing of the show itself. Remember, there are thousands of broadcasts; so if you do nothing to promote your show, no one will attend and you’ll be talking to dead air.  It is up to you to spread the word, to believe in the quality of your broadcast and to happily share the information with others.
 
Sound like a full time job to you? That may be because it is.  One more thing, you had better have a bit of personality and have it come through in your voice. No one wants to listen to someone drone on and on in a monotone voice. You are bringing entertainment to the audience; no matter what topic you discuss, it is entertainment and it is up to you to make darn sure it is worth a listen.
 
Believe me, it is not something everyone is able to pull off and on a continual basis. You must love what you are doing; have a purpose or it will show in your broadcasts. I do not say this to dissuade anyone from taking on this venture, but to let you know that along with the joy and fun it takes true dedication and the willingness to put your own needs aside. So, if you love people and can put your ego away, you might have what it takes to host an Internet radio broadcast.
 
Okay, a little about It Matters, Live talk Radio at Its Best. Our number one rule: Our show is about our guests, not us. We believe if you are having a guest on the show, you show disrespect if you won’t take the time to listen to their music, read their book, learn about their product, service, or investigate and learn of their topic of conversation. If you don’t value your guests’ work, don’t insult them by having them on the show; and don’t insult your audience by sharing something you hold in such little esteem. You will not find our hosts asking you to buy their product or service, even though we consist of three authors and a well-known name in the entertainment industry.  Of course we offer advice, support and occasionally another host may offer a tidbit about a host’s article or new book release—not to sell ourselves, but as a gesture of friendship.
 
It Matters believes in embracing humanity through music, the arts and open communication. We put our personal beliefs aside and offer a variety of topics to our listeners. You’ll find music a part of every show along with special guests–be they actors, comedians, artists, non-profit organizations, authors or well-known celebrities. No matter who is a guest on a broadcast, every one of them is afforded equal respect and becomes part of our It Matters family for the evening.
 
We love to have fun. We adore laughter and we believe it good for the soul to chuckle at oneself every now and again. Some topics will be dead serious such as Child Abuse, Animal Cruelty, and Bullying while others will tug at your heart or just make you feel fantastic. You’ll meet country bumpkin Ola Mae, the Sexy Single Sadie, Psychic Madame Alana Obynskea and many other colorful characters who seem to call in at the most inappropriate moments. 
 
It Matters also feels our listeners are very important and we honestly love and adore them. To show our appreciation, It Matters holds many contests and give-a-ways and invites everyone who wishes to receive our weekly newsletter penned by Kenneth Weene. We never take our fans, listeners and supporters for granted. We want to know what they are doing, what they like, and what matters to them.
 
In the end, it is worth every single bit of labor, time, and effort to be able to work with Co-hosts Kenneth Weene, Brenda Brown of Brenda Brown Entertainment, and Ms. Kerry Hall. It is a delight to speak with such diverse and informed guests. Each show teaches us something new and opens our eyes to other possibilities.
 
We invite you to be part of our It Matters family, Thursday evenings 9PM ET @ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/itmatters or call in @ 213-769-0952
 
In ending, I applaud the hosts of all Internet radio shows and appreciate the variety of content they bring us.  Perhaps you will become a part of this wonderful entertaining outlet. Just be prepared to work.
 
 

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Radio: Who Me? by Fran Lewis

Imagine the first time you are on the air and have to interview an author. Even though no one can see your face or you does not mean that your heart is not beating fast, your pressure is rising and you pray that everything goes as planned. When April Robbins suggested that I host a radio show on Blog Talk Radio I accepted the challenge after reading one of my Bertha stories live on her show. Never ever thinking that this quite, shy and reserved girl from the Bronx would ever be a radio talk show host no less star, not only surprised my mother at the time but before she passed away my sister too.

I think the hardest part was deciding whom to interview, what type of show I wanted, and how to relate to an audience that I couldn’t see. The first season of Book Discussion with Fran Lewis, started on March 16th 2010. The format was quite different from what it is now. I had several authors that read the book of the author I was interviewing. I created questions that I wanted to ask and interspersed them with the questions of five other authors, who had agreed to be on my discussion panel for the show. Each panelist asked the featured author three questions. This worked well for the first few shows until one or two of the panelists wanted to ask more questions. Not wanting to insult anyone, I asked my assistant to call time after the third question was asked. After the next few shows, I realized that I would have to take the reins and tighten the format—to have better control of the show in order to highlight the work of my featured guest authors.

I changed formats. Rather than having a panel I invited one guest author to ask some questions of the featured author after I had asked my own questions. This worked well for a while. My assistant at the time was an avid reader, and after all of the questions were asked and answered. we had a great discussion among the four of us for the remainder of the two hours.

 However, things change and assistants do, too. I was lucky to get Bethany Cross as my new assistant and we developed our own show and created a rhythm that until this day is unbeatable. The authors whom I am honored to feature and interview receive the questions way in advance in order to know what is going to be asked. I never blindside anyone. Since many of the authors are NY Times Bestselling authors and will not always answer plot questions that are too detailed, this makes it easier for me to revise the questions and create new ones if the author requests.

The shows vary, my sense of humor does shine through, I love when the conversation gets stimulating and the authors enjoy being on the show. Many who are apprehensive at first warm up after a few minutes and you never know what anyone is going to say so you have to be ready for the unexpected. For example: the day I was doing Mystery Thursday and someone was playing classical music in the background. We never found out who it was or where it came from so I just made a joke and said it was my piano teacher reminding me to practice my scales and my sonatas before my next lesson. Doing life shows is full of little challenges. There are even times you get knocked off and have to call back.

The greatest compliment I have received from some of the authors is asking to book another show and interview while on the air. Many have been return guests, and they are also now among my personal friends.

 Doing this show has really made a positive impact on my life and I hope a positive one on the authors too. I have had the honor of having Kenneth Weene as part of many of my shows, Peggy Greene, and of course my very first author that agreed to let me interview her, Dellani Oakes. Marsha Cook has encouraged me to continue on the World of Ink and we have fun and laugh doing shows together.

Book Discussion is strictly about the work of the guest authors. I read, evaluate and really try to develop questions that highlight the theme, message and thoughts being conveyed by the author. If we laugh, smile and have fun: that is a real plus. I prefer having no call ins because I want to focus on the author and prefer asking the questions myself unless I invite a surprise guest or an author is in the chat room and asks to call in.  Radio is fun, challenging and every show is different. I truly hope that I can do this for many more years and spotlight the work of so many talented authors. 


Book Discussion is just one show that I am doing. Starting September 18th I will begin Chat Time with Fran on Red River Writer’s Network. That first show Jon Land will chat with me about his latest release, “Strong Rain Falling”, his career, and give authors some valuable writing tips that he shared with readers in my new magazine M.J. Magazine. So, please listen. Join in the chat room, in the discussion and be part of the fun.

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14 thoughts on “Monica Brinkman and Fran Lewis on Radio Shows

  1. Kenneth Weene

    Having worked with both these ladies, I have to admire their stamina and their humor. Hosting a radio show is hard work and they both do it with aplomb. Both find great guests and offer terrific entertainment.

    Reply
  2. Dee Ann Waite

    Monica and Fran, thank you for being there for us writers and other artists. We need people like you with your type of courage and stamina to go the distance in your chosen profession. So many radio shows open only to fail a short time later. I wish you both the best success.

    Reply
  3. Micki Peluso

    Monica and Fran, thanks for an impressive and detailed post on the ins and outs of radio talk shows. I did one with a friend of mine and injoyed it immensely. I was initially terrified because for some weird reason it’s easier for me to speak in public than on radio, but I did have a good time on that one. I also appreciate all I learned from you two, since I will be a guest on your show in the near future. Hopefully Murphy’s law will be out of order that day and all wil go smoothly. Even with all the work, I think it’s fascinating what you do and wish I was able to do the same. Best of luck to you both and thanks for a wonderful presentation.

    Reply
  4. John W Losh II

    Love this blog-it is so dead-on correct. I have hosted and/or co-hosted once a week radio shows on a local AM station here in my area-that also has an FM affiliate off and on since 2004. I hosted a sports show on a local christian alternative music station, that decided they wanted to try a sports show for a few months last Fall. I currently co-host Junk In My Trunk Radio Thursdays 10am-11am and on occasion on Saturdays 10am-11am on that same station AM/FM station-KCXL-1140AM-Liberty,Missouri. We are about Antique Malls, Flea Markets, Thrift Stores, Unique restaurants, events that any of them host and more.

    Some of the times that I was not on radio was because of everything that goes into it. Recruiting sponsors, recruiting guests, choosing the ‘bumper-music”, sometimes having to provide my own boards engineer, promoting the shows via word of mouth, print material, social media and e-mail. It can become a full-time job (in addition to your full time job, if you also work one like me) just to provide for a 1-2 hour show a week. I always missed being in front of the Mic, but didn’t miss all the other headaches that go into it.

    Even now, I am not only co-host, but I help recruit guests, who are usually advertisers with us on the radio, and in a newspaper we do, that I’m a staff writer for, the “Junk Journal”. I help deliver the paper when it comes out each month. I have also started conducting video interviews with some of those folks at their place of business, for our “Junk In My Trunk Road Show”. I also go out and help look for garage sales, yard sales, auctions, here locally, look for websites for folks locally or nationally that are of the same genre that we are to promote, etc. I also recently found a food sponsor that provides free food for our crew during the radio shows, in exchange for advertising on-air and on social media. And, of course, I do part of the social media advertising.

    I also write sports for a KC area Christian Newspaper, have had articles in various other publications these last few months, am always looking to expand that. I am also a self-published author since August, 2012, and helped my daughter self-publish a couple months after that, so I promote our books all the time, and I work full-time. So, I fully understand what it’s like!

    Reply
  5. Kenneth Weene

    One of the best things about The Write Room Blog is the diversity of the material we post. This is great practical and useful information for those who were interested. The next post may be great fiction. Perhaps some humor will come down the road. I love our diversity.

    Reply
  6. Linda hales

    Dear Monica and Fran! Your post is nothing short of illuminating and a fascinating peek behind the scenes of internet talk radio. I confess that until I read this, I was wholly ignorant of what goes on in the back room to produce a seamless broadcast. I admire you for your talent, enterprise and energy to say the least. I am to appear on one such show sometime in October about my children’s books – the date yet to be established. I will contribute via skype and hope to write something new for a reading on the topic of Halloween, suitable for young children, and not too scary. Thanks for the eye opener and making this experience so human and down to earth.

    Reply
  7. Monica Brinkman

    Had to thank those of you who took the time to comment on our articles. It is for the love of people exactly like you that Fran, Ken, Kerry, Brenda and I continue our broadcasts. We believe in ‘paying it forward’ for as entertainers and authors we realize the difficult yet rewarding road many of you have taken. All we ask in return is to share our information, drop by and take a listen and we love comments.

    Reply
  8. Yves Johnson

    This was informative. I’m glad to know you take the time to really know information about your guest. The listeners will definitely “feel’ the authenticity that comes from you as you speak.

    I wish some people that I know read this article before launching their shows. They’d learn a lot from you. Thanks for your professionalism!

    Reply
  9. Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

    Greetings Monica and Fran,
    WOW! I have never thought much about what lies behind the curtain sort of speak. This was better than the TV series on How It’s Made. I enjoyed reading what goes behind a successful radio show. I have been on as a guest and seen them work at what seems effortless but I see from your post, this is no easy task.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Mamie

    Reply
  10. Bryan Murphy

    When I was a lad, we all wanted to be DJs on Radio Caroline or other pirate stations. Now, we can all be DJs or host our shows on Radio DIY. But I never imagined it would involve so much hard work, persistence and organisational skills. Fortunately, you – Monica and Fran – have these qualities, and more, by the bucketful. Congratulations, and thanks for this fascinating glimpse inside the world of independent radio.

    Reply
  11. Sharla

    Monica and Fran, what a terrific post! As a teen, I was always fascinated by the radio announcer. Much like your comments visions of being able to listen to music all day didn’t seem very difficult. Knowing and associating through the years with those in the industry helped me to understand a LOT goes on behind the scenes. Thank you for the opportunities you offer others!

    Reply

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