Host Tip of the Week: Taking Callers with Ease

hosttip-of-the-week1Inviting listeners to call in to your BlogTalkRadio show, whether to ask questions, share perspectives, or participate in a contest, is a great way to engage your fans and provide a dynamic and interactive element to your online radio show.

Here are a few tips on taking callers:

TIP 1: Plan, Plan, Plan!
Define your process for handling callers prior to going live on the air. Consider these questions when defining the process:
• Will you take callers at the beginning, middle, end or throughout your show?
• How will you encourage listeners to call in, and how can you guide their commentary?
• Who will be working the studio and announcing callers? Do you need a co-host?
• Will you pre-schedule callers you know to ask topic-related questions?
• How will you designate which callers to bring on the air first?

If you have a co-host or a producer it is important that you make sure that you understand who is doing what when you go on air, and that you each understand the process for screening callers so that everything goes smoothly.

TIP 2: Screening and Taking Callers.
For Free BlogTalkRadio Host Accounts
Here are some different techniques for taking callers using our basic account:

• Announce your callers via area code as you un-mute them and bring them on the air. Let your callers know that this is how you will identify callers so they are ready to listen for their area code to know to speak.
• Encourage callers to private message you in your chat room, give you their names and what area codes they are calling from, and what they want to speak about.
• Plan for loyal listeners to call in beforehand. Be sure to get their phone numbers so you know how to identify them in your studio.

Here is a screencast on how to use your studio.

For Premium Host Accounts
If you have a premium account, you have the ability to screen callers prior to bring them on air. With the help of a co-host, one person can screen calls, while the other leads the show. If you do not have a co-host, upload and play an audio file while you screen your callers, so there is no dead air. Call screening is a useful feature because it enables you to announce callers before you pull them onto the air, know the caller’s comments ahead of time, and gives your show a very professional sound. For more information on how call-screening works, check out this screencast tutorial.

TIP 3: Repeat the Question.
As the host or co-host, it is good practice to acknowledge the listener for asking a good question and then to repeat the question clearly before you answer it. Repeating the caller’s question ensures that all your listeners heard it clearly and gives everyone on the show a few moments to gather their thoughts before answering it.

TIP 4: Ending the call.
As the host, you are free to end the call at any time. For enjoyable callers, it is common to thank your caller, invite him or her to call back in the future, and then click on the hang up button.

TIP 5: Take Control.
When taking live callers, you should feel confident that you have control over your show. In the rare event that you have a disrespectful caller, you can hang up on them at any time. If they are rude or abusive, take down their number before you disconnect them, and please report it to our customer service team here, and we will take action.

TIP 6: Optimizing Audio.
Callers use all sorts of connections to reach BlogTalkRadio, and you may have to adjust their audio to optimize your show’s sound. If you notice an echo after someone has dialed in, it is likely they have their computer speakers turned up, which causes an echoing effect. Ask them to mute their computer speakers, which should solve the problem. If you ever notice a warped or garbled sounding call, it is likely the caller is using a VOIP connection with a weak server. In that case, ask them to dial back in on a different line or a different type of voice connection.

With these details in mind, we are confident your most entertaining and pertinent callers and interactions on BlogTalkRadio are ahead of you.

If you have questions or concerns, we are always happy to help you at here, and if you are a premium host, you can open live help directly from your switchboard.

If you have any additional tips or comments, we encourage you to share them here!

2 thoughts on “Host Tip of the Week: Taking Callers with Ease

  1. Bobby Fleeks

    Thanks! Great information as I have been having difficulty grabbing calls from the switchboard on my free account.

    You helped some with that but still am curious as to how do I hear them at the beginning of the call? I think I may have hung up on people before I could hear or know they were there?

    Bobby “The Doctor”

  2. Shannon Dingee-Kramer

    Hi Bobby!

    Thanks so much for commenting, and for listening to the show!

    In terms of grabbing calls from the switchboard, all you’ll need to do is click the “anti” symbol next to their phone number to un-mute the caller which you will find under the “On Air” column. To re-mute the caller, you will want to click the microphone icon.

    As far as your guests at the beginning of the call, here is more information on that:

    You have the ability to dial into your show up to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. The host, and any guests may call in during that 15 minute window. The guests should hear music on their end until the host un-mutes those callers. Once the host un-mutes the caller, the caller can then hear what is happening on the show, even after the host has been re-muted on the switchboard. You should keep in mind that the time prior to your show’s start time is meant for you and your guests to get situated, and is not recorded.

    I hope this helps and if you ever have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to email and we will be glad to help you out!

    Shannon Dingee-Kramer
    Director of Customer Relations


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