Tom Tradup

(Full disclosure: I personally have experienced real blessings when I’ve pitched in on mission trips with organizations such as Food For The Poor, and then helped raise funds for them on the air. In 2013 I was on-the-ground in Guatemala and this year traveled with FFTP to help deliver essentials to Haiti.)

Given talk radio’s popularity as, alternately, America’s No. 1 or No. 2 format (talk’s formatic dominance nationally see saws back and forth with country music stations periodically) the opportunities to serve local and national charities are endless: individual hosts and their radio stations and networks are, even now, planning their 2014 efforts on behalf of the Salvation Army, Cure International, Rock of Africa, local food banks, and many other worthy causes. Not to mention being electronic “first responders” in the wake of floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.

So while talk radio isn’t abandoning its core appeal to listeners by tackling breaking news and hard issues while engaging in freewheeling debate, the next time you hear your favorite host asking for support of a worthy cause, know that your donations are part of a growing trend of Americans helping Americans via the private sector rather than through unwieldy and often ineffective government bureaucracies.

And at the end of the day, that message is a big part of the magic of talk radio.

Tom Tradup

Tom Tradup is vice president of News & Talk Programming at Dallas-based Salem Radio Network.