Using Radio’s Power for “Good” – Valerie Geller

Create Powerful Radio – Speak visually: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov 

Any time, as a broadcaster, that you have a chance to help listeners, do it. Which is why I’d like to applaud Premiere’s Coast To Coast AM host George Noory on a special effort last month. Like many radio promotions that emanate from America this should easily translate to Australia.

George Noory’s “Shape Up America”

 For one hour each week in July, Noory gave his show over to diet experts in hopes of helping to inspire his audience to get going. Noory says, “Night time radio is very special and very mysterious. At night, people have a more direct link with the show. If they get motivated, they’ll lose the weight.”

“I Don’t Want To Lose Any More Listeners!”

While it’s hard to change any habit, if you’ve ever successfully lost weight (or know someone who has), you know the results can be dramatic. The challenge is not only starting, but sticking with it. Noory’s motivation for this summer was prompted by a listener who wrote: “My dad and I loved your show and we used to listen together. He was very overweight and we just lost dad to a heart attack.’” Noory wanted to do something to help. “It’s selfish,” he says. “I want people’s lives to be better and I don’t want to lose any more listeners.”

Can America Really Lose 15 Million Pounds This Summer?

Seems like a big number but Noory says it’s reasonable. He mathematically calculated,  “At any given time we have 3-5 million listeners…so I picked 3-5 pounds for each person to lose. That’s not much, and it’s very achievable.”

If you’ve been to the beach, the mall, or the airport lately, you see it all around you. We live in a fat country. While encouraging people to lose weight has long been a familiar theme on TV – with various morning exercise programs, and shows like Dr. Oz, Oprah, Richard Simmons, and America’s Biggest Loser – harkening all the way back to the days of Jack LaLanne, can it work on radio? After all, TV’s been the more obvious medium to help dieters because it’s visual. You can see the before and after transformation.

Can It Work On Radio?

 Noory says yes. and believes radio can be just as effective as TV to help trigger the mysterious process that clicks people into gear.

Proof Positive

Certain diet products (Nutrisystem for one, and now Weight Watchers) built very successful campaigns using radio. Noory decided to offer weekly programming this summer to help his audience shape up.

It Worked In Detroit

It’s not the first time Noory’s spearheaded an on-air weight loss challenge. In the ‘70s while Executive News Producer of WJBK TV in Detroit, Noory watched “Shape Up Detroit” help burn the fat off of thousands of Detroiters. Weight has not been a personal issue for Noory. At 6 feet and a trim 185 lbs, he admits that the one time his weight did creep up to 192, he was able to bring it down pretty easily by “working out, eating right and staying off pasta, breads and potatoes.” But just because Noory hasn’t personally suffered from a weight problem hasn’t stopped him from seeing the pain it causes all around him and the desire to use the airwaves to help, out of concern for the collective health of our overweight country.


Noory’s followup includes asking listeners to update their progress (with photos) at: [email protected] If motivation is the most important part of any change, then Noory’s plan is working. After the first couple of weeks, the calls poured in saying, “George, I weighed myself after your show and I’m in shock, I’m going to lose 20 lbs!”

Valerie Geller Schedule

I hope that if you’re in the area or planning to attend any of these conferences, you’ll say hi!

September 6, The Momentum Conference Orlando, Florida – “Secrets to Communicating Powerfully”

September 20, The NAB/RAB Radio Show Dallas – September 20  – “Creating Powerful Content…from the Blank Page to Radio Sage” 

October 2, I’ll be in Washington, DC, for the NAB Presenting a Small Market Radio Webcast for NAB members: “Powerfully Engage And Grow Your Audience By Mastering Social Media.”

October 6-9 Los Angeles

October I’ll be working in Australia, if you’re in Sydney:

October 12Commercial Radio Australia “Creating Powerful Communicators Workshop”

October 13 IMB Academy “Creating Powerful Communicators Workshop” in Sydney, Australia

October 20, 2012 –IMB Academy “Never Lose A Listener Master Class,” Sydney Australia 

Back in the USA:

November 1  – Workshop /Keynote in Boston

Massachusetts Association of Broadcasters (Creating Powerful Radio Workshop)

I’ll be working in Europe in Sweden, Holland, Denmark and Istanbul, Turkey, in November and December.

About the Writer

DisplayValerie Geller, president of Geller Media International Broadcast Consultants, works to help communicators become more powerful in 30 countries for news, talk, information and personality. Through consulting and individual coaching for news and talk talent, Geller finds and develops personalities, leads “Creating Powerful Radio” and “Communicate Powerfully” workshops and seminars for radio and TV broadcasters, internet radio and podcasters. Geller is the recipient of the Conclave’s 2010 Rockwell Lifetime Achievement Award and is the author of four books about radio including her latest from Focal Press Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age. To contact Valerie Geller for a one-on-one coaching or consulting appointment, or for information on the “Powerful Radio” seminars and workshops, call 212 580-3385

Note: This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on and has been republished with permission.