Tag Archives: Hosts

New Studio Is Live On BlogTalkRadio

New Studio Has Launched!

We are happy to announce that the New Studio has moved out of beta and is now live on BlogTalkRadio.  You can read more about the new design and features at the press release.

We’ve also put together several resources to help you quickly get familiar with the New Studio. These are available here.

And, if you have additional questions or would like to provide us with feedback, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Try Out BlogTalkRadio’s New Studio! Now in Beta!

We’re very excited to announce the Beta release of BlogTalkRadio’s new Studio!

Studio Resources

BlogTalkRadio New and Improved Studio!

The new features and design make producing and promoting your show even easier. Over the next few weeks, we invite you to test the New Studio and get comfortable with it before it goes live. You’ll find more information on what you can expect during the Beta phase below.

The New Studio features:

- A virtual broadcasting Studio with a great new look and feel that’s easier than ever to use
- Enhanced switchboard and integrated audio management and chat features to help you better manage your show and engage your audience
- Integrated promotional tools that enable you to simply promote your show and grow your audience
- Improved audio upload and controls
- Ability to view and edit your episode information directly from the Studio

How to test the new Studio
During the Beta phase, you’ll have the choice of whether you want to use the new Studio or the current switchboard to host your shows. You’ll also be able to host additional test shows during this time period without having them count toward your daily episode limits. Just be sure to select “Test” under “Visibility” when scheduling your show. If you have yet to sign up as a host on BlogTalkRadio, this is a great time to start as the new Studio makes broadcasting like a pro even easier. (New hosts can sign up here)

Resources to help you get started
We’ve put together several useful Studio resources (User Guide, Screencasts, FAQs) to help you quickly get familiar with how things work. You can access these here.

We want your feedback
Since we’re still in Beta, please let us know if you run into any problems as you are testing the Studio or if you have any questions. You can email us directly at beta<at>blogtalkradio.com.

We hope you enjoy the new Studio!

BlogTalkRadio Marks Black History Month with 28-Day Series, Presented by AT&T

From actors to athletes, divas to comedians, poets to politicians, these are the African American figures who’ve helped shape the face of our nation.

And throughout the month of February, BlogTalkRadio is honoring them with encore presentations of their most compelling interviews.aat_t2

Welcome to 28 Days of Black History Makers, presented by AT&T.

The series got under way Feb. 1 with BET host Mo’Nique, who won an Oscar for her role in 2009′s Precious.

During the funnylady’s interview, she reflected on her most memorable complement surrounding that Oprah Winfrey- and Tyler Perry-produced film.

“The night of the permiere of Precious, I saw Sidney Poitier from my car,” she told The Breakdown Show hosts Audley Stephenson and Dave Mendonca.

“He was already on the red carpet. And I said to my husband, ‘Oh my God. There’s Sydney Poitier! I would love to meet him.’

“So now the movie’s over, everyone’s leaving… I’m almost the last person to leave the theater. And I turn around and my husband says, ‘Look who’s behind you.’ It was Sydney Poitier,” Mo’Nique continued. “And he says to me, ‘Young lady, I did not see one insecure moment in your performance.’ That was priceless coming from him.”

Mo'Nique: Oscar champ kicked of Black History Month series.

Mo'Nique: Kicked off Black History Month series.

To date, the series has also featured interviews with Spike Lee, Chilli, Evander Holyfield, Della Reese, Meadowlark Lemon and Stedman Graham.

Tune in tomorrow, and every day this month, to hear more prominent figures in the 28 Days series.

Click here to follow 28 Days of Black History Makers Series on BlogTalkRadio.

Prep for Your Online Radio Show Like a Pro: 10 Quick Tips

In our ongoing effort to help BlogTalkRadio’s many talented online radio hosts better produce and promote their shows, we’ve developed a new Quick Tips series.

Tip #1: Before scheduling your show, choose the right title, description, and keywords.

The first thing you’ll need to do when getting ready for your show is schedule an episode. Scheduling your episode will create a page that includes all the important details for your upcoming episode: date, time, topic and so on. An effective title, description and keyword tags can help you attract listeners.

Here are some quick Dos and Don’ts when creating your title, description and keywords:

Do

  • Try to limit the number of words in your title to six words or less.
  • Keep your titles and descriptions focused and interesting.
  • Have a great guest? Use their name in the episode title (i.e. Michael Jordan interviewed by John Smith).
  • Make sure all the essential information is covered in the description.
  • Use keywords that aptly describe what you’re broadcasting about and that your listeners are likely to use to search for your content. In addition to including these keywords in the tags fields, you should include them in your title and description. 
  • Use spell check.

Don’t

  • Use the same title, description and keywords for every episode.
  • Use all caps.
  • Use the same keywords for every tag.
  • Use profanity.

Examples

Title

Good: 
Gardening Tips: Keeping Indoor Plants Alive

Bad:
WATERING PLANTS

Descriptions

Bad:
We talk about watering your plants.

Good:
Have trouble keeping your house plants alive? Tune in to learn how to turn your brown thumb into a green thumb. Our guest, Mildred Greenhouse, will provide helpful indoor gardening tips about soil, feeding your plants, and ideal watering schedules for orchids, flowers, and trees.

Keywords

Good: 
Mildred Greenhouse, indoor plants, watering plants, soil nutrients, feeding plants

Bad: 
plants, plants, plants, more plants, trees

Tip #2: Consistency counts when deciding on an episode date and time.

When building a listener base, it’s important to establish a consistent schedule for your show. Try to keep it on the same day of the week (or days, if you have episodes more than once a week) and at  the same time each week so your audience knows when to expect it and can build it into their 
routine.

Need more tips on show scheduling? View our screencast on how to schedule your show for more help.

Tip #3: Create an intro for your show

If you don’t have one already, recording a great introduction can help you create a more professional and engaging show right from the start. A fun intro can pull your listeners in and keep them tuned in longer.

So how do you create an introduction? There are a few different ways. You can engage a professional announcer to create one for you. Or if you’re looking to save money, you can easily make your own intro using BlogTalkRadio. Here’s how to make your own: First, write a script and select and upload your background music. Set your background music at 25%-50% and do a test run speaking over it. You may need to experiment a bit to find out which level works best with your voice. Next, schedule a episode to record your intro. When you are done recording, download the file to your computer and re-upload it as a start-up audio file. (Here’s a screencast on how to upload audio files.)

Read our guide on creating the ultimate show intro.

Tip #4: Create an outline or Script for your show.

To ensure your show flows smoothly—and to avoid dead air—it’s great idea to decide on a format for your show and to draft a show outline prior to going live.

A helpful exercise for getting format ideas for your show is to listen to other shows on BlogTalkRadio. Jot down what you like and dislike about each one, and that can serve as a great starting point for building your format. 

Here is a sample show format for a 30-minute guest interview:

  1. Intro Start-Up Audio: 30 seconds
  2. Introduction of Guest: 1 – 2 minutes
  3. Guest Interview: 15 minutes
  4. Music/Message Break: 1 minute
  5. Guest Q&A – with live callers: 10 minutes
  6. Show Conclusion: 2 minutes
  7. Outro Music: 30 seconds

Creating a detailed outline prior to each episode will ensure both you (and your co-host, if you have one) have great talking points. If conducting an interview, consider alternating asking questions. And remember to prepare a great introduction for your guests ahead of time.

Tip #5: Prepare for your guest.

The two most important things to consider related to interviewing guests on your show are:
1. How will they call in?
2. What will you talk about?

How will they call in? 
Be sure to discuss with the guest how they will be brought onto the show. There are two options:

For Hosts using our Free services: 
The guest can dial in to the listener line and then be brought live onto the show using the switchboard. If you select this option, be sure to provide guests with the Listener Number, ask them to dial in at a specific time, and find out what number they will be dialing in from, as this will make it easier to identify their call on the switchboard.

For Premium Hosts: 
You can dial out to your guests directly from the switchboard using the outdial feature. To learn how to use view our screencast on outdialing. Learn more about Premium Services.

What will you talk about? 
Set yourself up for a successful interview by doing research on your guest and preparing an intro and questions for your guest prior to the show. It is also a good idea to ask guests if there are any topics they want to cover before the show.

Tip #6: Get your audio files queued up and ready to go. 

In addition to the show intro, playing audio files (i.e., music, pre-taped interviews and/or sound effects) during your show can add depth and excitement to your broadcast. They can break up the talk and provide great transitions. Here are a few technical tips to remember: to avoid distortion, it’s not recommended to set the volume higher than 150% when uploading files. When playing audio files, all callers can still be heard if they’re speaking, so it’s best to mute the host and callers when playing files. Playing your sound files during your test show (see Tip #7) can be a great way to make sure that all files are sounding the way you want them.

Tip #7: Conduct a test show.

Conducting a test show prior to the live event can be a great way to work out the kinks prior to your live event. To schedule a test show, simply log in and schedule a show for the time you need. When choosing maturity, choose “Test” or “Private” so that it will not broadcast to the masses. When you call in to do the test, use the exact dial-in option you’re planning to use for the show. If possible, include any guests in your test show as well. Test the audio files you are planning to use, test voice clarity from the telephones or headsets that are being used, and then listen to the playback after the archive is finished. Then you can take care of any adjustments before your scheduled show.

Tip #8: Choose a quiet space to broadcast.

Find a quiet place to host your show where people will not accidentally interrupt you— dogs won’t be barking, telephones won’t be ringing, and so on.

Tip #9: Dial-in 15 minutes prior to your show.

It’s good practice for you, your co-host and your guests to call in 15 minutes prior to your show. This will provide time to review the show outline, launch the chat room, and get settled before going live.

Tip #10: Optimize your show’s sound quality.

Here are some quick Dos and Don’ts when it comes to sound quality:
Do

  1. Call in to your show using one of the following options:
    1. For hosts with a free account, the best way to dial in to your show is using a landline. 
    2. For premium hosts, there are two options for dialing into your show that will optimize sound quality: a landline or Skype. 
  2. When connecting via landline, use a high-quality phone and to speak clearly and directly into the handset. 
  3. When dialing in via Skype, use a high-quality headset plugged directly into your computer. Using a headset with Skype also frees up your hands to manage the chatroom and switchboard. And be sure you are using a hardwired Internet (rather than a wireless) connection and that you have closed out of all applications except for Skype and the BlogTalkRadio switchboard. For additional tips on how to host your show with Skype, view our Skype screencast. Learn more about Premium Services.
  4. As mentioned in Tip #7, we recommend you schedule and host a test episode to check equipment and audio files for optimal sound output. 

Don’t

  1. Use a speaker phone. This can cause annoying echoes and feedback. 
  2. Use a cell phone. This can effect quality and lead to dropped calls. 
  3. Use Skype with a wireless connection. This can compromise audio quality and lead to dropped calls.
  4. Conference multiple people in with Skype (on the host line). This can cause degradation in sound output. Again, test for optimal sound.

Bonus tip: 
If you are looking to further optimize your audio quality when dialing in using a phone, consider investing in a JK Audio Box. This is what the BlogTalkRadio staff uses to conduct broadcasts.


That’s it! We hope you find these tips helpful in making your show shine. You can find more tips & tricks for more helpful information on creating, producing and promoting your BlogTalkRadio show in the BlogTalkRadio Learning Center.

You can also download the BlogTalkRadio Quick Tips as a PDF.

BlogTalkRadio’s New Design and Features Make Site Navigation and Show Creation Even Easier

Beginning today, BlogTalkRadio is sporting a new look, complete with functionality that makes finding what you want—and doing what you need—easier than ever.

btr-header-main2

Most notable is our new header (above), where hosts can simply create shows and listeners can quickly and easily find great content.

We have also launched a new registration process that makes signing up as a host or a listener a snap. And after registration, hosts and listeners alike will be welcomed with new landing pages that offer tips on how to get started and best utilize the tools and features available on BlogTalkRadio.btr-drop-down

Once you’re logged in, a new drop-down box (right) offers a quick route to scheduling shows, accessing your account and switchboard, checking messages, connecting with friends, changing settings and upgrading to premium services.

Our footer (below) has changed, too. We have better organized content here so you can quickly do the things you want to do on the site: learn more, create content,  get support,  or follow BlogTalkradio.

In the coming months, we’ll continue to enhance our current tools, and build new ones, making it it even easier to produce online radio shows and a pleasure to tune in to them.

btr-footer-main1

All of which—once again—helps make BlogTalkRadio the easiest way to create and share audio on the web.

If you have ideas for future features, be sure to let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

How to Get Great Guests

Many hosts have asked us this question: What is the secret to getting great guests? image_guestsAlthough hosts go about it many different ways (this is how host Paul Lawrence Vann does it), there are steps you can take to secure guests that you can be proud of, just by doing some extra work and being yourself. Charisma and persistence will take you a long way. BlogTalkRadio hosts who snag great guests did not always have connections, most had to learn this as well.

So, what steps should you take to get quality guests? Here are some tips and we encourage hosts who have found other methods to post their advice in the comments.

First, decide what type of guest you want and do a little research to find out who represents them. If your ideal guest is an author, his or her publishing company, as well as representation information, is often listed within the book (usually in the very front or back). If you are interested in a Hollywood celebrity, your best point of contact might be their PR representative. Find their contact information by searching the name of the celeb followed by PR, or establish a premium account with the Internet Movie Database. Premium accounts have access to the most accurate information (oh, and BlogTalkRadio is in no way affiliated with IMDB).

Next, make a list with every potential guest that comes to mind, from the easily accessible to the guest that seems out of reach.

Now, make contact! If you prefer to use email, here is an example of a format that works.

Dear (potential guest’s name),

My name is (your name here) from BlogTalkRadio.

I host a live podcast on BlogTalkRadio called (your show name here), and I would like to have you on to promote your new (book, screenplay, movie, cd). You can be a guest simply by using a telephone and a computer from anywhere in the world. You will have the potential to reach millions of listeners and I will promote your new (book, CD, movie, etc..) on my show page so my listeners can just click on it to purchase. We have hosted everyone from Obama to Brad Pitt. We would love to have you on the (name of show) sometime in the next few months. Let’s discuss a time. Is daytime or evening better? You can contact me at (phone number) or email me at (email address).

Sincerely,
(Your name)

Feel free to also use this basic approach over the phone as well. Be persistent!

And once you’ve landed that dream guest, here are some tips to get you ready for the interview: