Curriculum: Compelling Radio

This is the Curriculum we hand out in the initial Listening Session to get volunteers familiar with the concept of what good radio is, and how to make it!

KBOO Community Radio Listening Session Handout:
What Makes Great Radio?

(Thanks to Marilyn Pittman, Emily Young, Chris Merrick, Kathleen Stephenson, and Jenka
Soderberg for content.)

At KBOO, our programming is based on our Program Charter:

KBOO shall be a model of programming, filling needs that other media do not, providing
programming to unserved or underserved groups. KBOO shall provide access and training to
those communities.
KBOO news and public affairs programming shall place an emphasis on providing a forum
for unpopular, controversial, or neglected perspectives on important local, national, and
international issues, reflecting KBOO’s values of peace, justice, democracy, human rights,
multiculturalism, environmentalism, freedom of expression, and social change.
KBOO’s arts, cultural, and musical programming shall cover a wide spectrum of expression
from traditional to experimental, and reflect the diverse cultures we serve. KBOO shall strive for
spontaneity and programming excellence, both in content and technique.

Core Values:
Values that are the essence of KBOO and should remain intact no matter how the station
● Community: local, accessible, empowering. welcoming, inclusive, participatory, involved
● Progressive Perspective: questioning, vital, uncensored, controversial, activist
resource, educational, journalistic integrity, reflecting justice, peace, sustainability and
● Emotional Maturity: respectful, honest, fair, positive, peaceful, non-violent, engaging,
● Diversity: valuing, embracing, bridging, listening, understanding, giving voice
● Leadership: bold, exploring, independent, cutting edge, responsible, excellence
● Creativity: eclectic, traditional to experimental, idiosyncratic, innovative, iconoclastic.
evolving, compelling

We are here at KBOO to make media!

Our Program Staff and Program Committee developed this criteria for excellent radio:

Some Traits of Compelling Radio

- Alternative Topics or Perspectives
- Prepared and Well Produced: Professional. The best version of yourself
-Informative, topical, new information given to listeners
-Being a true host: Explaining unfamiliar concepts, making a welcoming atmosphere, having an
on-air personality
-Having a Theme or thread running through the show.
- The emotion of the host matching the emotion of the content: Upbeat music, serious news, etc.
-Good Mix of music and public affairs. Commentary in a music show is thought out and
appropriate. Music in a Public Affairs show is relevant to the topic.
- Different points of view are respected.
-Overall content is fresh and up-to-date, lively, creative, with new music, new artists, new
guests, etc.
-Programmer connects to KBOO and other KBOO shows
-Lots of guests, interviews, local connections
-Interactive with a community, so community values the show
- Web presence

Some Traits of Non-compelling Radio

-Inept in presentation of content
-Discussing technical errors on the air
-Ranty and opinionated, rather than informative. Talking too much
-Repetitive information, guests, content. Boring.
-No theme or pattern, not telling the listeners what the theme is
-Bad mix of music and public affairs. Random ranting in the middle of a music show.
-Programmer unconnected to KBOO.
-Unprepared, not ready for emergencies, not focused on show at hand.
-Disrespect for other points of view, rudeness on the air.

KBOO desires to present positive mission based programming content, not humiliating, racist,
sexist, or other demeaning content.

Tips on Making Compelling Radio

-Communicate with the Board Op: Go over runsheets, hand signals, etc.
-Warm up with breathing exercises, vocal exercises, practice saying the names of the guests,
songs, artists, books, etc.

If you are also The Board Op:
-Check the operator logs for IDs, underwriting, ticket giveaways, etc.

Begin the show STRONG

-Know what the show is before yours, and have a good segue.
-Limit the use of theme music or Boo Player Spots. Underwriting, Community Calendar and
Legal ID (K-B-O-O Portland) are the only things that HAVE to be played at the top of the hour.
Work other spots into the show.
-Introduce yourself, the theme, the guests.
- PA - Draw listeners in, tell a story, get their interest.

Throughout your show, do any or all of these things. During the day, about once every 10-15
minutes. Evening programs can go a bit longer.
-Your name, name of the show, names of the guests
-Topic or theme of the show
-KBOO ID, time
-Back announcing songs
-Forward announcing songs/guests/ticket giveaways
-Announce website, and the content you have put there for your listeners.


Prepare yourself:
-Have interview questions In Advance. Use the Interview techniques handout , posted outside
the newsroom, for further guidance and information.
Prepare your guest:
-Prep them on how to use microphones, headphones, cough buttons
-Prep on indecent language
Also, let them know how they can hear the interview later, that you will be posting it to the
KBOO website, if you will give them a copy on CD at the end of the interview.

During Your Show:
-Promote what’s coming up later in your show. Announce what you’ll be doing next week.
-Promote the show that is after yours. Promote similar shows. Promote specials. Promote for more information.
Other Times:
Engage with Your Community. Make promos for other shows to use to cross promote. Make
flyers. Post information about your show on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Listeners respond to information given about the KBOO website and other related sites; make
sure to link to KBOO from Social Media.
-Put your playlists on the web, and tell your listeners that they are there.
-When booking guests, artists, musicians, ask them to promote their appearance on
KBOO and to link to KBOO from their web sites.


Technical Errors:
Correct ASAP, be ready with a Boo Player Spot, or music
Don’t apologize.
If you cannot solve within 30 seconds, Go on the air and say “We are experiencing
technical difficulties, please stay tuned” and return to music. Do Not go on the air and blame the
equipment or explain what is going on.
Indecent Language:
Hit the DUMP BUTTON immediately.
Do not apologize or call attention to it. Move on.
Phone Calls:
For Callers Calling In:
Listen in Cue for the callers, so if there is a dial tone, you’ll know before it goes on over
the air.
Be prepared to take the caller off the air and use the dump button for indecent language
or abusive caller.
If you are calling a guest:
Be prepared with a back of plan, or music if you get a busy signal or distortion.

It is important to record your show and listen to how you present your content.
Is it compelling radio?
Is it technically well done?
How does the content of your show fulfill the KBOO Programming Charter?
What are your overall strengths and weaknesses for followup?
Things to listen for, both good and bad:
Dead air, erratic levels, Station ID, Naming of guests, show name, full introduction of the
show, transitions (between guests, between songs and announcing, between everything),
how prepared do you sound?, announcements of other KBOO shows, website announced,
frequent re-caps, the quality of questions, the level of ranting, interruptions, how were callers
handled, Ums and Ahs, the quality of information, good communication between host and Board
Operator, music levels, how were technical difficulties handled?


Please observe KBOO House Rules on behavior, both on and off air.
-Be a good neighbor to the shows around you. Have a smooth transition between
shows. Have one thing ready to play, and set up for your show once your time begins. Clean up
your music or notes before your show ends. Treat the other show hosts with respect .
Also, please make sure KBOO Staff has up-to-date contact information for you.

(April, 2011, EY)