Creating a Two-Way Radio Show

Article 7 min
Watch Senior Airman Hannah Malone of the American Forces Network (AFN) Radio Refreshers show how to create a two-way radio show using on-air games, audience interactions, in-studio guests and audience support.

Once you know show prep basics, it's time to take it to the next level. While creating your show prep, thinking about how you can bring your audience into the studio via phone calls and social media is crucial.

On-Air Games

Although it may feel like you're alone in the studio, you have your whole audience to engage with whenever you open your mic. One of the best ways to prep for engagement is through on-air games. Games can be a one-time bit, reoccur daily or even weekly. Your audience wants to call in. They want to play along on social media. You have to give them the opportunity. Create riddles or have a daily photo contest on social media. Just have fun, try different approaches and see how your audience responds.

Example of Favorite Movie in Five

Here's an example of a quick one-hour game you can play with your listeners. This radio game is called "Favorite Movie in Five." This contest aims to get the listener to figure out your favorite movie with a five-word hint. To begin this contest, you schedule a social media post during the show prep to publish at the start of the hour the game will take place. The post will already have the rules, hints and how to play along. The person participating online will be encouraged to tune in live for extra tips, and the person participating live on the air will be encouraged to see what others have said on social media. The goal is to integrate the online and live parts of your show.

Let's say the five words are: woman teaches kids to behave.

Vague, right? But throughout your hour, you will give ever-increasing hints that push the listener closer to the answer and keep them engaged. As the listeners call in to guess the movie, you should air the incorrect calls, which spurs other listeners to call in to try to beat them. At the same time, announcing the guesses that have come through social media comments live on-air brings listeners from both mediums into the fold.


DJ: AFN Eagle, who's this?

Caller: It's Mike.

DJ: Hey Mike, are you playing along with Favorite Movie in Five today?

Caller: Yes, I think I've got a good guess.

DJ: Alright, so your five hints are woman teaches kids to behave. It's one of my favorite movies. Do you think you know what it is?

Caller: Is it Mrs. Doubtfire?

DJ: Oh no, it's not Mrs. Doubtfire, but I do love that movie, too. Call back with another guess, okay Mike?

Caller: Alright.

DJ: Thank you.

You can also post the answers received through phone calls as comments online. This makes it a fun race.

Additional Tips

Contests always work better if you have an incentive or prize to give away. Understanding that every affiliate is different, use your resources to provide Exchange gift cards, free movie tickets or any legal prize you can generate from your local community.

Symbol of an ā€œiā€ within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: It may be a good idea to reach out to AFN headquarters (Europe or Pacific) to get guidance on what constitutes a legal prize.

These games aim to share ownership of your show with the listeners. The more they feel a part of your show, the more they'll want to tune in. Be sure to voice the winners on air and post them on social media. This gives your listeners something to look forward to. Rest assured, they will be asking who won.

Prepping for Audience Interactions

Motivate your audience to participate without making it a contest. If you plan to discuss the base kennel during your show prep, schedule a social media post asking audience members to drop pictures of their pets in the comments, or you could have them call in and tell you about their favorite pet. People love to show off their furry friends. You can choose the cutest or silliest pet picture as a free incentive to declare a winner. This costs nothing, and the listeners will feel validated.

Ask the audience to tell you a story. Telling the audience an embarrassing moment you've gone through, then asking your listeners to share theirs can result in a fun two-way show. Make sure not to promote inappropriate or criminal acts. Schedule your social media post before you go on air. Then, you'll be less stressed when you reach out to your listeners.

Encourage your listeners to interact with you. No matter what you're discussing on air, there's always a way to get your listeners involved. Posting a question online the night before a morning show or having your afternoon DJ tease your question the day before can get the ball rolling on your content so it's ready to use during your show.

Symbol of an ā€œiā€ within a black circle representing a note of additional information. NOTE: Don't assume you know what your audience wants and needs. Conduct audience polls, demographic assessments and other research to tailor to your audience.

Priming the Pump

Sometimes it helps to have your other affiliate members answer a question, make a comment on a post or call in to get interactions started. We call this priming the pump.


DJ: AFN Eagle, who's this?

Caller: It's Guerrero here to help prime the pump.

DJ: Oh, great. Thanks for calling in. Let's go ahead and start this call. AFN Eagle, who's this? Hey G, what's going on?

Caller: Not much.

DJ: We're playing Favorite Movie in Five this morning. Are you playing along with us?

Caller: Yes.

DJ: Awesome. Your hint is woman teaches kids to behave.

Caller: The Sound of Music?

DJ: It isn't, but that's another one of my favorites. Keep playing along, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Caller: Sounds good.

DJ: Thanks, bye.

Caller: Bye.

In-Studio Guests

Encourage phone calls to connect your listeners with your on-air guests. If the local auto skills center is coming in for an interview and you know you'll discuss oil changes, plan for audience interaction. Create a car quiz during your show prep that the listener can play on air and social media, and prepare to select a winner at the end of the interview. You can even have your listeners call in with questions for your in-studio guest. This directly connects the audience and your in-studio guest. It makes your show feel like it belongs to the community.

Audience Support

Promote your interaction initiative before the hour it occurs, no matter what option you use, to maximize your audience's interest and interactions. Your audience can both participate in the show and help you run it. Encourage your audience to call in with traffic and weather updates, gate closures or upcoming events.


DJ: AFN Eagle, who's this?

Caller: Hey, good morning DJ Hannibal. This is Mike.

DJ: Good morning, Mike. What's going on?

Caller: Well, I just saw a little fender bender outside the front gate and thought people might want to know.

DJ: They definitely will. I hope it doesn't slow you down too much today, Mike.

Caller: Yeah, just a little bit of traffic.

DJ: All right, well, thank you for calling in. I'll let people know.

Integrate the video and photo work your team does with your on-air product. If your team has done a video feature on a local airman that volunteers at the elementary school, then you can encourage audience members to watch the video and comment on what they do with their free time. This gets them to watch the video and adds a dynamic product to your show prep.

Running a radio show, taking calls and playing on social media can be a lot to handle, but it'll be a breeze if you're well-prepared.

Get creative, try new things and most importantly, have fun. Practice makes perfect. Have a great show.

Discover More You May Like

View All Articles