Radio phone-ins are an excellent way to get your viewpoint aired and counter any ranting crazies who might be on the other line. They can also reach a large audience, influence public opinion, move people to take action and influence policy-makers or elected officials directly or indirectly.
Here's some tips for getting on air and convincing listeners of your points:
Before making your call, jot down what you would like to get across. The guidelines for letter writing, in terms of 'framing' your comments, are also applicable for making your phone-in.
When you ring in, you will first speak to someone who will want to know what you plan to say and then will either put you on hold until there is a slot or call you back.
What to say
Once you are on air you can use your notes to jog your memory but you will sound stilted if you read from a prepared script. It helps to address the presenter or guests as if you were speaking with them in a normal conversational setting.
Take it easy!
Remember the person you are trying to convince is the listener, not the person you are in discussion with and antagonistic ranting puts people off. If you're polite even in the face of opposition or a guest who's being abusive, then you will come off better and your argument will seem more reasonable.
If you feel the presenter is being provocative don't rise to the bait; it's not personal, it's their job, to create 'good radio'. Take a moment and think about the different ways you could reply and what would sound best to the listener.