The Thing Everyone's Talking About By Andy Meadows

Typically, I coach on-air personalities to only choose content they can add to and, for the most part, I believe that advice holds up. After all, it’s not like any of our listeners are tuning in to our entire shows with a clipboard checking off all the major topics of the day to make sure we addressed them all by the end of the show. But every once and a while something happens that’s so big we all HAVE to talk about it and Sunday night we had one of those, when a major movie star slapped a modern comedy legend live in front of our nation’s biggest celebrities and millions of us watching at home. 

As someone who regularly evaluates and coaches on air talent, I like these kind of moments because they’re a great way to gauge where an on-air show is at in comparison to the competition within their market and other shows across the country. Because on topics like this we’re all on equal footing, everyone has all the same information and we all know it’s the main thing our audience is talking about that day across literally all formats and demographics. Believe it or not some shows decided not to talk about it at all, either because they’re too cool for school and want to avoid the thing’s ‘everyone else does’ or I’m guessing because they just didn’t know what to say about it. Other shows simply delivered the info straight-forward as a news story and left it at that, likely afraid of offending anyone with their take. But a handful of shows came up with their own creative angles to discuss it, personalizing it and localizing it with their own hot take and likely touching on things that made the listeners say “I was thinking the same thing!”. Those that delivered this content well, uploaded that audio afterwards and shared it were rewarded with their own viral moments and stood out to existing listeners, new listeners, and potential employers, as show’s that ‘get it.’ 

It's important that terrestrial radio doesn’t miss these opportunities to shine. When something like this happens everyone wants to talk about it, read about it, and listen to personalities they like give their opinions on it. Popular TV shows have to scramble to write, video and produce content about it and big-name podcasters are forced to hurry and re-record episodes they banked and edited already to turn something fresh around. Meanwhile terrestrial radio is live, local and on the air immediately the following morning to give people their instant fix on a story that’s massive today and will fade very quickly. These are the kinds of stories that show how relevant terrestrial radio still is and how, despite being around for a very long time, radio still has a seat at the table and an important role to play in our national conversation. 

If you talked about it on-air what was your angle and how did it go? Comment below or email me at 

Pic by DCStudio for

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