There’s ordinary greatness, and then there’s the capital G kind that only comes when WLW radio talk show host Bill Cunningham fields your opinion and labels you a Great American. We asked WLW executive producer James Bedingfield for advice on how to be sure the The Bill Cunningham Show’s host hears you out.
Timing is everything. You most definitely won’t get on if you call at 1:35 or 2:35, when Willie is delivering “The Stooge Report.” And you won’t get on when one of his guests is talking. Wait until you hear the guest sign off—and then speed dial.
Don’t work blue. When speaking to the screener, keep the language clean. “If you do it ahead of time there’s a higher probability you’re going to do it on the air, too,” says Bedingfield. Which is part of the reason they use a 15 second delay for the show.
Extremism in defense of liberty is no sure thing. You might think having a strong, combative stance on an issue would help. Think again. “We don’t want things totally going off the rails,” Bedingfield explains. “Sometimes we may take an extreme caller one way or other on purpose in order to make that person look stupid.”
Mind the gap. Monitor the show through your phone, not your radio, while waiting for your name to be called. The radio is on a delay, remember? Otherwise you will miss your chance to share your opinion on the Duck Commander, and Bill will have moved on to the next caller in line.
Does it help to butter up Willie? “Not really. If [only] one guy agrees with him, I might tell Bill to take that call first,” says Bedingfield. “But at least as often, someone going against the grain can be the first person we go to. He can use that contrariness to his advantage.”