What exactly is a Swap Shop radio program? And what can it do for your radio station? As hard as it may be to believe, it describes a radio program where people can call in and either swap things or shop for things. How about that for truth in advertising?
Probably the most well known example (aside from the one in your own radio market) belongs to Clif Desmond in Florida, who has been running a swap and shop style show since the 80s. He perfected, if not pioneered, the format, and continues to host his show in several Florida markets. Not only that, Desmond also travels the country and advises stations on how to open their own radio swap shop. Advertisers are happy to buy space on swap shop and shop radio programs, since callers to such programs are already in a buying mood. Stations across the country are more than happy to put a show like that on the air, if it will increase their ad dollars.
So how does it work? Callers call or text with items they have for sale, items they want to swap, or items they are looking for. Weekend callers frequently provide local garage sale and yard sale information, and some callers even provide rental listings.
There are rules, of course. Callers cannot be businesses or service providers. All callers to the show must be individuals (rental listings, for example, cannot be from rental companies, only from owners renting individual spaces). Callers can only list three items per call, and can only call once a day. And you cannot list, sell, or trade firearms.
Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Station managers look to these swap shop radio programs not only as a way to connect community members to each other, but also as an incredibly entertaining venture. Callers list everything from furniture to cockatoos, and interested parties can sometimes try to outbid each other live on the air. Even if listeners have nothing to sell and no interest in buying, the show can be a delightful way to pass the morning commute.