Don’t Drive Away Your Listeners: Be Positive!


by Deb Ng

I wonder how many of us consider the tone we’re setting when we do our shows or visit other chatrooms or the forum. Sometimes we get swept away in the passion of a good rant we forget how others see us. Consider this: new listeners log on to BlogTalkRadio each day.  It only takes a few visits to negative chat rooms or negative talk shows to turn them off to the experience completely. This means you lost a potential listener. A listener who can bring in other listeners if he (or she) likes what he hears.

Something else to consider – if someone is to visit a chatroom and forum and the only thing that’s going on is name calling, complaining, or BTR bashing, what will that person think? Maybe it means he or she will decide not to visit your show anymore or become turned off to BlogTalkRadio altogether.

There are ways of discussing topics, even delicate topics, while keeping a light, positive tone. There are also ways to disagree with people without resorting to name calling, harrassment, and all around pettiness.

Here are a few best practices:

  • Keep a positive tone. No one enjoys being around a chronic malcontent.
  • Be respectful of the host as well as the community. Keep negativity out of the chat rooms and forums.
  • Don’t spam. We know everyone enjoys talking about their shows, but many hosts get irritated when you spam the forums and only talk about your shows.
  • Try and stay on topic: When visiting other chat rooms, try and keep on topic unless the chat naturally progresses off topic.
  • It’s fine to disagree, just do so respectfully. There are ways to get your point across without name calling or sniping.

We know your goal is to produce the best show possible and also to bring in lots of listeners and fans. We’re here to help in any way possible. Keep the tone positive and the community will follow!

13 thoughts on “Don’t Drive Away Your Listeners: Be Positive!

  1. littlemissbig

    No one enjoys being around a chronic malcontent.

    REALLY?! I wish that were true, but seeing the numbers and listeners that Mark Levine (sp.) , O’Reilly and Savage pull in leaves me to believe people love to hear complainers, for yrs. on end. The hosts with the top AM radio shows nationwide are the biggest , rudest, and top complainers.. they snarl and shout at callers and we have never heard them say one positive thing.. I turn them off every time I hear them, unfortunately, the rest of America does not.

  2. fgdesign

    Nevermind, I got my malcontention mixed in with my nihilism, or was it the other way round… (it’s DELICIOUS!!!)… my bad… carry on.

  3. Deborah Ng

    Good points. There are people who tune in to hear shock jocks go off. You’re absolutely right. I guess it depends on your audience? Judging from the mail I receive however, most of the BlogTalkRadio community would rather not be subjected to negativity on shows and in chat rooms. Why would they want to visit someone’s home when all the guests are talking about how terrible the host is?

    There’s a time and place for everything. For instance, blog comments and forum topics aren’t the place for rants and negativity. It drives people away, I should know – I get the email! Plus one draws more flies with honey than vinegar, right?

    Just some things to consider when hosting your show!

    Thanks for weighing in. Love your comments!

  4. fgdesign

    The supposedly “positive” people complain more, no?

    The people I’m trying to attract to my show wouldn’t bother. Loudness does not equal consensus. My listeners also understand that I’m doing a bit (most of them), so who are we protecting?

    I followed these rules last night when I was babysitting my friend’s 4-year old (and they are GREAT rules for that). My show I do for grown-ups.

    Bigger picture this is (supposedly) all about diversity and different points of view. When everyone HAS to sound the same please shoot me. Seriously.

  5. Deborah Ng

    FG – I think everyone complains, but I’m not sure if everyone knows how it sounds? And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the good occasional rant. But do people really want to spend time with someone who does nothing but whine? Not so sure.

    I especially agree that loudness doesn’t equal consensus. The silent majority are the ones who get their point across more than a few loud people. I think loud people are loud because no one would pay attention to them otherwise. Some folks use it for publicity and some folks thrive on drama. Me, I like a nice pleasant conversation.

    Hey…glad the rules worked with babysitting.

    And another hey, thanks for a nice positive conversation with respectful disagreement. Credit where it’s due.

  6. fgdesign

    I meant complain to you. Even the guys at “Laugh In” railed against hypocrisy and authority. When people label that stuff “negative” it just makes them a better punchline. Most humor has a dark component, and I try to keep my show funny and topical.

    In your metaphor the “silent majority” would be the non-busybodies who aren’t trying to control speech by bugging you and other BTR management people with whatever they are “whining” over. If it is to force all hosts to churn out G-rated sunshine and flowers, is that actually “positive”? I’d submit that people seeking to control others in this way are the problem, not the solution.

    I’m so glad my comment passed muster (this time). *Snickers conspiratorially*

    Just rent Donnie Darko again. Nothing gets broken. Should Jon Stewart have engaged that guy from Mad Money in “pleasant conversation?” That would be bizzare…

    I LOVE this platform and promote it to everyone I know (a lot of whom were at SxSW)… I wish a gazillion people will come listen to BTR shows and we all get rich. I’m of the (respectful) opinion that that won’t happen if we do this stuff. The “chilling” effect/losing listeners thing cuts both ways. A lot of people would be “turned off” by this.

    How much did Watchmen pay for the product placement?? LOL.

    OK, on to real work…


  7. Deborah Ng

    Actually, FG, no. The supposed positive people don’t complain the most. Usually it’s the same people complaining over and over again. It’s all good though. We do what we can to make everyone’s experience positive. In same cases, you can’t please everyone, but I like to think we try our best.

    To clarify, I don’t think all content needs to be G rated, nor do I think it all needs to be warm and fuzzy. I just think hosts should consider their tone. For instance, if you disagree with me and call me an idiot that’s not a very positive thing to say. However, if you say, “you know Deb, I see your point but I just don’t agree and here’s why…” that’s a lot more respectful and I’m ready to get it on conversationally.

    So this post wasn’t about being all June Cleaver and Martha Stewart. It was about thinking about how a newer member of the community might take comments.

    I don’t want you to stop being who you are by a long shot. As long as it’s kept respectful, and follows our Terms of Use, you can talk about whatever your heart desires.

  8. fgdesign

    Its all about context.

    I called Rush Limbaugh “an idiot” (far worse actually… I wrote and read his “obituary” on my show to make a point re his comments on Ted Kennedy). I don’t consider that too racy for anyone… maybe something’s wrong with me. I suppose if he called my show I’d be more deferential, or at least playful.

    As far as “tone” goes I’ve fine-tuned mine over the past year plus on here. I do a character who’s a malcontent with a bad attitude toward authority, a punk (It’s me… but MORE SO)…

    If some people don’t get the joke, my apologies.


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