Sunday, February 27, 2011


Bill Dodd (current PD at KLOG and KUKN in Longview/Kelso, WA) was the first PD I ever worked for. I’ve learned a ton from him and still seek his advice. Out of all the things Bill has taught me over the years, the one that is the most effective and still my favorite is to “speak in telegrams, not complete sentences.”

The principle is simple. Cut out all the extra words.

When you watch an old Western movie and they are reading a telegram, it normally looks something like this:

“Shoot out. Noon. Tomorrow. Saloon. Need help. Come quick.”

If it were an entire sentence, it would read like this:

“The boys are coming and we are having a shoot out at Noon tomorrow at the Saloon. I really need your help. Can you get here as fast as you can?”

Speaking in telegrams is much more efficient, effective and gets you to the point a lot faster.

Here’s how it relates to your next break on the radio.

FULL SENTENCE BREAK (this was an actual break I heard)
"That’s Keith Urban and Kiss a Girl on 93.3, WXYZ. Good morning, the time is 10:20 and my name is John Doe. Coming up I’m going to play more of your favorite songs. I’ll have the brand new song from Carrie Underwood. Our weather looks like this, sunny and 56 degrees today, clear skies overnight and down to 47 tonight. More sun for tomorrow and around 55 degrees for the high.”

"Keith Urban, Kiss a Girl. 93.3 WXYZ. I’m John Doe. 10:20. I’ve got the brand new one from Carrie Underwood next. Sunny 56 later, clear 47 tonight, back to sun and 55 tomorrow.”

38 fewer words in the telegram break and still able to say the same thing.

It’s simple, just use fewer words. You don’t need to use every available word for your break. Not only will it get you to the point faster, it will increase your energy and momentum.

Go back and listen to an aircheck. Did you speak in a complete sentence, or a telegram?


  1. ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!
    Word Economy is king these days in radio.....

  2. wooooooow,i just learnt the most valuable tip in my 8 years as a radio dj,God bless you John Paul...

  3. Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on this one. I can't believe that I'm disagreeing since I'm a huge fan of yours, but this one...I have to disagree on.