Expert Columns

What's on your schedule this week? Let me guess … you've got a lot of things going on this time of year. Here's a bit of Thanksgiving-themed show prep and some conversation starters to make your week a bit easier.

Thanksgiving and Kids

How do you make the Thanksgiving something more than a turkey dinner and a nap? says make thankfulness a lifestyle by teaching your kids to do these five things:

1) Say your gratitude out loud.

2) Make time for thanks.

3) Help the thank-you note make a comeback.

4) Write down what you're thankful for.

5) Encourage teamwork and community involvement.

Need more ideas? Andrea Reiser writes this on HuffPost:

1) Be a grateful parent

2) Don't shower your kids with too much “stuff.”

3) Have 'em pitch in when they want something.

Andrea shares eight more ideas that are worth following. Check out her article here. offers a few conversation starters, including:

1) _____ means so much to be because... (Name the person)

2) Say one thing you are thankful for, for the person next to you.

3) What is one thing that happened this year that you are thankful for?

Download additional ideas here:

 Need some conversation starters for on-air or online posts? Try these ideas:

1) What's the one family tradition (if your family has Thanksgiving traditions) that you look forward to most?

2) Does your family have a “family game” that everyone plays when you get together each year?

3) What's your number one tip for surviving holiday travel?

4) How do you keep your kids occupied during long trips?

5) If you could invite one person (past or present) to Thanksgiving dinner, who would it be and why?

6) How to you budget or save money when shopping for Thanksgiving dinners?

Thanksgiving Scriptures

Colossians 3:15-17:

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

As you plan for the holidays – and help your listeners celebrate – don't forget to set some time aside for yourself so that you, too, can give thanks!

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pray for the families of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

And then check to make sure your station has everything it needs to help your community should a crisis arise.

One thing you can do to help your station today is to build a contacts base so that your team knows who to call or reach out to during a crisis. Here's where to start:

1) Team Contacts: Make sure everyone on your team knows how to contact you, your engineer and each other during a crisis. If possible, add a “preferred contact method” - text, email, phone.

2) Police and First Responders: Get the names and contact number of your local police information officer (PIO) or firefighter information officer, spokespersons for local leaders and key contacts within local chapters of the Red Cross or emergency agencies. Take five minutes and contact these office to introduce yourself and let leaders know you want to work with them during an emergency situation.

3) Local Hospitals, Blood Banks and Food Banks: Get accurate, up-to-date info so that you can announce blood drives or relief distribution drop-off points.

4) Local Clergy and Counselors: Choose a few trusted pastors and Christian counselors who can talk to your audience about the crisis and help listeners/readers find the spiritual and emotional resources they need as they deal with crises.

Be pro-active. Make key connections and regularly update those contacts. Help your team be ready to reach out and provide the tools your local audience needs – when they need it most.

And pray for the families of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

How do you talk to your audience? Are they just “the audience”... or are they something more? Are they your best friends?
There's a big difference between the two. “The Audience” is a faceless someone who just happens to be scanning the dial and comes across your station. Your best friend is totally different.
Take a second to think about how you talk to your best friend. Is it a more personal conversation? More in-depth? Is there a level of trust? Of safety? There's a huge difference in how you talk to a best friend versus a group of nameless strangers.
European ad agency All 4 Comms describes the difference like this: “...people tend to pay much more attention to highly emotional, carefully crafted and personal messages which they can relate to, not to corporate information, packed with facts and statistics. The same is expected from media. They value real, personal stories with high emotional impact.” (, Top Communication Trends in 2017)
What if you started talking to your audience like you would talk to your best friend? No, you don't need to share your secrets … but you can create a level of trust and depth that invites people to listen, that lets them know you are someone who is invested in their lives.
On one hand, talking to the audience the way I talk to my best friend makes me feel a little vulnerable … on the other hand, maybe that's the point.
So what difference will it make if you start talking to your audience like they've a best friend? Will your audience respond? Will you grow as a communicator? Why not give it a try and see what happens.

Ready or not, here they come! The holiday season is here. Time to start thinking about turkeys and pumpkin pie, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and all the other fun stuff that happens during the month of November.

It's also one of your busiest times of the year, so here's a bit of holiday prep to give you a head start on planning show bits and conversation starters. Have fun!

Historical Information

The first Thanksgiving dinner (a 3 day celebration) was celebrated in 1621.

Thanksgiving Dinner

 According to Fox Business News:

• Americans will eat 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. Nearly half of those Turkeys come from Minnesota. (22 million)

• Favorite side dish? 31% of Americans prefer mashed potatoes.

• 95% of Americans spend Thanksgiving Day with family.

 Conversation Starters: Thanksgiving Day menus, favorite family dishes, where will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

 According to USA Today:

• The average American eats 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.

• The Butterball Turkey Hotline (1-800-BUTTERBALL) answers more than 100,000 questions during the Thanksgiving season.

 Conversation Starters: Who do you call for advice about Thanksgiving dinner?

Holiday Shopping Facts &

 According to

• Americans spend an average of
$750 dollars on Christmas presents
each year.

• On average, consumers expect to receive 14 gifts during the holiday season

• Christmas trees equal big business during the holidays. Between 2006 and 2015, Americans spent 1.3 billion dollars on Christmas trees.

• Half of all Americans (50%) buy presents online.

 Conversation Starters: Do you budget for Christmas gifts, or are you an impulse buyer?

 Do you like one big gift or several small ones? Do you do live or artificial Christmas trees?  Funniest Christmas tree story? (Involving animals, decorations, mishaps that turned out ok?)

Bill Arbuckle CMW

Bill Arbuckle is a media and marketing pro with over twenty-five years experience in creating media promotions. You can connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m.


Fox Business News Story:

USA Today Story:


This past week, the New York Times released social media guidelines for its reporters. The new guidelines are worth reading – and maybe even “borrowing – for your team. Here's a sample:
• “Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that The Times is seeking to cover objectively.”
• “While you may think that your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media accounts are private zones, separate from your role at The Times, in fact everything we post or 'like' online is to some degree public. And everything we do in public is likely to be associated with The Times.”
• “Always treat others with respect on social media. If a reader questions or criticizes our work or social media post, and you would like to respond, be thoughtful. Do not imply that the person hasn't carefully read your work.”
• “If the criticism is especially aggressive or inconsiderate, it's probably best to refrain from responding.”
• “Be transparent. If you tweeted an error or something inappropriate and wish to delete the tweet, be sure to quickly acknowledge the deletion in a subsequent tweet.”
(All quotes taken directly from The New York Times - “The Times Issues Social Media Guidelines for the Newsroom” - October 13, 2017)
Having written social media guidelines gives you and your team a standard to reference when selecting topics and comments to post. In our social media-obsessed world, it's worthwhile to have concrete guidelines to protect yourself, your team and your station from posting something that your audience may view offensive, inappropriate or politically charged. If you do not have social media guidelines in place, take a cue from the New York Times and set up standards for your team today.

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