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What’s Your On-Air Diet Plan?

If your station hasn’t capitalized on the foodie craze, give these recipes for success a try

San Diego Restaurant Week websiteIt’s nearly impossible to eat at a restaurant without witnessing a delighted diner taking a picture of the plate in front of them. Could you have imagined this happening prior to Instagram, Facebook and digital photography? 

As many trend trackers have observed, Millennials are obsessed with food. Thanks to social media, “food culture” has caught fire faster than a flambéed pudding. LendEDU, a digital marketplace for private student loans, asked 1,000 Americans aged 22 to 37 and uncovered that 49% spend more on dining out than they put toward retirement. They found that 27% actually spend more on coffee alone than they do on savings plans.  

Maybe it’s time to reconsider your diet plan! What percentage of your broadcast week is spent discussing food?

[Infinite Dial: Podcast Listening Now a Majority Behavior]

What’s old is new again: I once worked with one of those “real gentlemen” in radio — look the term up in the dictionary and you’d see the face of Eddie Gallaher. Eddie started so long ago that part of his job as an announcer was to sing live! Man, what a voice Eddie had. 

He was also blessed with a sensitive palate and had the ability to convey in great detail why a restaurant meal was so delicious. Eddie made listener’s mouths water for 53 years on the air.

Is there someone at your station or, maybe even better, a local foodie “influencer” who could do the same? I see advantages to either type of talent. A key personality at your station will already have cred with her audience. However, the culinary influencer will likely know much more about the local dining scene and, on top of that, she may well introduce a new audience to your station.

KROQ cookbookThis short-form foodie segment — which airs primarily in morning drive, perhaps to repeat throughout the day — could also be a longer, weekly podcast wrap-up that goes into more detail concerning the reviews and discussion the host has done the previous week. 


The next step is conveying recipes on-air, on the web and on your social media channels. This is where you get listeners involved. The possibilities are almost endless. Here’s one idea to get you started.

The prize: Dinner for two at a hot local spot or, if you’ve got the dough, a meal in a cool city that includes air and hotel fare. Contestants submit their original recipes (or those they’ve tweaked and cited) along with a bit of commentary as to why their recipe is so appealing, which you then push out to the public. 

Tap as your finalists the top three or five who garner the most thumbs-ups, then invite them to bring in their dish for the morning show and your foodie star (if you have one) to sample live. 

From there, you choose the winner to announce the next day.

Maybe you can convince a local restaurant to actually put the dish on their menu to serve at a special price for that week. 


If I haven’t enticed you to start considering a culinary content perspective, there is an entire sales angle that can generate bucks to the bottom line. Once a month, you could create a week devoted to a food or beverage specialty. 

As an example, consider “Beer Week.” Many cities have a lively brewery scene. You could create a consortium of micro-brews who each pitch in to generate further growth to the scene. The package could start with a brew festival that the station promotes, where their top brews are sampled; continue with a certain number of daily mentions about beer specials at each location with one live remote at each place; plus a section on the station website devoted to local beer and daily social media posts. 

This same model could be applied to wine, seafood, pasta, healthy eating options, the list goes on.

Everyone has to eat. Not everyone has to listen to radio. Give people a compelling reason to sample your station and increase the odds of repeat customers.

Mark Lapidus is a longtime contributor to Radio World. Email him with comments or your own promo successes at [email protected].

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