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News Desk > How to Participate in Live Call-In Programs
How to Participate in Live Call-In Programs
guidelines from YPR News Director Jackie Yamanaka
All calls will now be screened. That means just because you've called
in it doesn't guarantee you will get to ask your question or state your
comment on the air.
First let me say call screening is not new. All national radio talk shows
have call screeners. It's fairly new to YPR.
Why the change?
"Live" talk shows on public radio are a fast-paced, thoughtful,
and intelligent discussion of issues for the benefit of listeners. You
won't find the "Yeah, yeah. Good point, man!" call.
What YPR News is looking for from participants are unique questions,
personal experiences, and sometimes opinions to advance the topic/discussion--and
all in a short period of time. This doesn't sound very democratic, but
without screening talk shows are disjointed and confusing radio programs.
This doesn't mean YPR News doesn't want you to call in. On the contrary,
we want your input. So here are some tips to better your chances of being
included in our programs:
- Know the topic being discussed. Before we go on the
air, YPR News will provide the guests and topics to be discussed. We
will include, with links, all relevant information. Hosts will also
state up front the topic/subject of the segment. Your "assignment"
is to come up with a question/personal anecdote on that topic. If you
call in and your question/comment is not applicable, YPR will have to
reject your call. Don't take it personally. It just didn't fit within
the parameter of the segment.
- Be brief. You will have to state your question or
comment quickly and concisely.
- Don't use a speaker phone. The sound quality is often
too poor to be understandable on the radio, especially to a listener
who is tuning in on a car radio. If call on a cell phone, PLEASE not
while you're diving.
- Turn down your radio. Otherwise, there will be feedback
that is broadcast over the radio.
How will this work?
Here is a brief rundown of what you will encounter when you call in to
a YPR News-produced program:
- "Good evening. What is your question for (guest/topic
currently under discussion)?" At this point, please be
ready to articulate the question/comment you wish to make. If you are
unable to to quickly get your point across, the screener will likely
put you on hold to answer additional calls. Use this time to frame your
- "What is your first name?" This information
is required. It is not considered intrusive and if you argue with the
screener about providing a first name, the screener will move on to
- "Where are you calling from?" Again, this
information is required. Certain guests/topics may deal with a particular
area, and the inclusion of your location may add to your comments. It
is not considered intrusive and if you argue with the screener about
providing a location, the screener will move on to another caller.
- Once the screener has all the information they need, you will
be placed on hold. Your information is then passed to the host,
who makes the final determination about your appearance on the program.
Should you not make it onto the broadcast, a screener will let you know.
What about e-mail questions?
YPR News certainly encourages you to send your questions/comments via
e-mail, either in advance of or during the the program broadcast. All
participants' first names and locations must be included in the body of
the e-mail to be considered for reading on the broadcast. As with phone
calls, the host(s) make the final determination for inclusion on the broadcast.
To see how National Public Radio deals with the issue
of listener participation, visit
How to Get on Talk of the Nation, an article on NPR's
website by former NPR OmbudsmanJeffrey Dvorkin, written
in April, 2006.