Running a radio quiz

What is a radio quiz?

A radio quiz can be very entertaining, and is a great way to encourage audience participation. Quizzes are also one way to evaluate the effectiveness of your radio program at clearly delivering key messages to your listeners.

This BH2 is a guide for running quizzes as part of a regular farmer or rural livelihoods program. The quiz can be conducted during the phone-in or phone-out segment of the program or recorded in the field and edited in studio. Broadcasters could also invite farmers into the studio to compete live on air.

Perhaps the easiest and most effective format for a radio quiz is to ask either true or false questions or multiple choice questions—or a mixture of both. The respondent who gives the most correct responses is the winner.

There are different methods for posing quiz questions: one way is to pose the same question to all participants, who must answer as fast as they can. Another way is to ask each participant separate questions and give them a set amount of time to answer. Whichever way you run the quiz, the winner could receive a small prize from the station, or simply earn the title of Quizmaster. You might also consider inviting the winner back to the station each week until they lose and then host a “battle of the champions” series, where the top winners compete for the ultimate Quizmaster title. Creating suspense and friendly competition amongst your listeners may help you attract sponsors and local businesses that can offer a small prize to the winner (e. g., bag of fertilizer, seedlings, farm tools, etc.).

How can a quiz help me serve my listeners better?

  • It is an entertaining way to encourage participation and test whether your program is clearly delivering the intended messages to your farming audience.
  • It is an effective way to remind listeners of key information discussed on farming programs.
  • It can promote women’s participation in the community and serve to recognize women.

How can a quiz help me produce better programs?

  • It can make a farmer program more entertaining, exciting, and interactive.
  • It can increase listenership, especially if there is an incentive (for example, a prize) to participate.
  • It helps me evaluate how well some listeners recall and understand the information I broadcast. This can give me valuable feedback on how effectively the program has been broadcasting sometimes complex information. It may also give me clues on how to improve my broadcasts to ensure that they meet my audience’s need for important information.
  • Local businesses can sponsor quiz segments, increasing revenue for the radio station and the farmer program.

How do I get started?

  1. Plan how to integrate a quiz into the program
  2. Choose a format
  3. Draft the questions
  4. Practice running the quiz
  5. Incorporate music and sound effects


1. Plan how to integrate a quiz into the program

You could schedule a quiz in the middle of the episode after a specific segment or at the end to summarize the key information in the episode. Consider running the quiz after an in-depth interview or a drama. Integrating a quiz in this way is useful for evaluating whether a small sample of your listeners have learned specific things from your program and whether they’re engaged.

Quizzes require planning and preparation, so complete a detailed run sheet that clearly shows where the quiz comes in the episode. For more information about creating and using a run sheet.

The quiz segment should be between five and 10 minutes. Experiment to see how many questions you can fit into this time period and how many participants you can include. Quizzes should be quick-paced, upbeat, have lots of humour and an entertaining moderator or host to keep your listeners engaged and excited.

2. Choose a format for the quiz

The two simplest and most popular formats for radio quizzes are asking multiple choice questions and asking true or false questions, though a quiz can include both types of questions. These kinds of questions produce short, simple responses. Open-ended questions may elicit long responses which drag on and risk losing the excitement of the competition.

True or false (T/F):

T/F questions are useful for testing listeners’ recall and understanding of issues discussed in your program. They are also useful for testing knowledge gained from a drama or interview.

For example:

True or false? When you add them to guinea fowl feed, ground oyster shells can prevent thin eggshells.

Note: this answer is TRUE. Oyster shells are high in calcium which is an essential ingredient in poultry feed to produce strong eggshells.

Multiple choice:

Multiple choice questions should be limited to a maximum of four possible responses. It’s a good idea to avoid using negatives (for example, “Which of the following is not a proper method of storage?”). You could include responses such as “none of the above” or “all of the above,” but use these options sparingly.

For example:

Which of the following features distinguishes Fall armyworm from other pests with a similar appearance?
A) A Y-shaped marking on the head
B) Rough skin
C) Red skin
D) All of the above

Note: The correct answer is A. Fall armyworm can be identified by a pale, upside-down Y-shape making on the head. Their skin is smooth and dark, so options B, C and D are incorrect.

3. Draft the quiz questions

Getting the questions right is the most important part of planning a successful quiz. Quiz questions must be clear and concise. Start by thinking about the purpose of the quiz and what you hope to achieve with it. This should be directly linked to the purpose statement of the episode. For more information on purpose statements, read FRI’s BH2 on how to be an effective host of a farmer radio program.

The kind of quiz we’re talking about in this Broadcaster how-to guide is entertaining, educational, and informative. It shouldn’t just pose a series of questions for the sake of competition.

Beyond entertainment, think about the following questions: What do you want farmers to learn? Do you want to find out whether or not you have successfully communicated a specific piece of information? What challenging concepts or ideas do you want to reinforce? Is a quiz the best way to address this?

Asking yourself these questions will help you draft quiz questions that test the participants’ knowledge of the topics in the episode and avoid asking questions that are irrelevant or that don’t benefit your listeners.

Here are some tips for drafting effective quiz questions:

  • Use simple, clear, and direct language. Avoid words that could have multiple meanings.
  • Avoid using too many numbers or statistics. This can confuse your listeners. If it’s really necessary for listeners to know precise numbers, measurements, or statistics, find the simplest way to pose the question.
  • Be specific. For example, ask: True or false? When harvesting mangoes, you should maintain a 2-3 centimetre stem on the fruit to ensure that oozing latex does not stain the fruit. (This is TRUE) Don’t ask: True or false? The stem is an important part of the mango.
  • Avoid leading questions. Don’t let your opinions or biases (or the opinions or biases of anyone else) influence the way you phrase the question, or the response options you provide to participants.
  • Avoid using the words “should” or “recommended” in questions. Ask questions that require participants to choose whether something is factually true or false or identify which of several statements are factually true or false. Do not ask questions about whether certain activities or practices are recommended or whether farmers should use them.
  • Ask about one thing per question. For example, ask: “What time of year should you start planting cowpea?” NOT “What time of year should you start planting cowpea and when should you harvest?”

4. Practice running the quiz

It’s a good idea to practice running through the quiz with colleagues, friends, or family. Use a clock or stopwatch to limit the amount of time a participant can use to respond to a question. This will help ensure that the segment fits into the allocated time slot in the episode (usually five to 10 minutes). For example, you might give each participant up to 15 seconds to answer each question. Or, you might start a 60-second timer and ask participants to answer as many questions as they can in that time.

Here are the steps for running a basic quiz:

  1. Start by welcoming the participant(s) (if it’s a phone-in quiz competition) and either introduce them yourself or ask them to say their name and where they are calling from—or where they live if the quiz is happening live in the studio. If you’re in the field, record the entire process and edit it in studio. For tips on audio editing, read FRI’s BH2 on audio editing as well as our BH2 on audio editing software.
  2. Explain the format of the quiz, including whether the questions are true or false, multiple choice, or a combination of both. If relevant, state the number of questions that will be asked.
  3. Explain that the participant has X amount of time to answer as many questions as they can. Tell them that if they are unsure of the correct response, they can say “pass” or “next."
    Note: The host may choose to indicate immediately if the answer is correct or incorrect by using a buzzer or a bell, or s/he may wait until the allotted time is up before indicating how many questions the participant answered correctly. Always briefly explain what the correct answer is and why it’s correct. At the end, you can review the correct answers in more detail.
  4. Explain that there will be X number of competitors and that the competitor who correctly answers the most questions will win a prize (this is optional). For example, you might choose up to four competitors. You could choose a winner each week, and/or create a final competition where each week’s winners compete against each other.
  5. If hosting the event in your studio, invite your studio guest to talk about the results of the quiz. This is a good opportunity to reinforce new concepts or information and evaluate the participants’ understanding.

Here is a sample introduction to a radio quiz:

HOST: Now it’s time for our weekly quiz! Today, we’re bringing you three contestants live in the studio to participate in this week’s round of questions about sexually transmitted infections. Sitting directly across from me, all the way from Bimbila community, we have Amina Braimah. On my left, we have a young farmer named Ibrahim Mohammed who joins us from Savelugu district. Finally, to my right, our third contestant is a returning winner from last week’s competition, and she lives right here in Tamale, Hajia Sidiq! You are all welcome to the station. Now, let’s get right down to it. Each of you has a small bell in front of you on the table. I am going to read a series of multiple-choice questions. After I read the first question, the first contestant to ring their bell and correctly answer the question wins a point! My co-host will keep track of the points. Then we will quickly move on to the next question. The first contestant to answer three questions correctly will win a prize and be invited back to the studio next week. If you answer incorrectly, the next contestant to ring their bell will be invited to answer. Let’s begin with the first question.

Question 1: Which of the following is a symptom of hepatitis B?
A) Yellowish colour
B) Blindness
C) Sore throat


HOST: Yes, Madam Sidiq?

HAJIA: The answer is A. Yellowish colour.

HOST: That is correct! Someone with Hepatitis B may turn slightly yellowish in colour. One point for Madam Sidiq. Next question …

The host should prepare a minimum of 10 questions. After finishing the quiz questions, the host should review all of the correct answers in more detail by either speaking to an expert, or reading from one of FRI’s backgrounders or other authoritative document on the subject of the quiz. For this particular question, the host could read from this backgrounder on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

5. Incorporate music and sound effects

Sound effects like a ticking clock, a drum roll, or a buzzer can make a quiz segment more entertaining and suspenseful. A number of websites offer free, downloadable sound effects— try ZapSplat or SoundBible.

Remember not to go overboard with music or sound effects—they can sometimes be distracting to listeners. For example, if you play the sound of a ticking clock, make sure it doesn’t drown out or distract from the voice of the contestant. One idea for a cheap prize is to invite the winner to request that their favourite song be played.

Other points about radio quizzes

Radio quizzes are a fun, interactive segment of a farmer program, and can also be useful for testing the effectiveness of a radio program in getting messages across in a clear manner. But while quizzes can encourage participation and introduce variety into an episode, they should not be stand-alone segments. A quiz should accompany more detailed information about a topic, available in segments such as interviews that are designed to tell a character’s story or interviews designed to gather information. They are best at reinforcing key information rather than introducing new ideas or topics.

Presenting awards to the winners can encourage participation and interactivity. To encourage maximum participation, consider providing a small incentive like mobile credit, an invitation to the studio for a live program, a special discount from the sponsoring company, or simply the title of Quizmaster. You could even encourage community listener groups to compete against one another each week to earn the title of Community Quizmasters.

Finally, you could ask a local business to sponsor the quiz as a way to generate revenue for the radio station and the farmer program. The business will benefit by getting increased exposure every time you announce that it sponsors the quiz. Read FRI’s BH2 on generating revenue to support a regular farmer program for more ideas on how to fund your program.

Where else can I learn about radio quizzes or other on-air games?

Bambara, Andrea, 2017. BH2 – How to run ‘public games’ (Jeu public).

Betteridge-Moes, Maxine, Barza Wire, 2019. On-air quiz gets listeners calling in to Radio Argoutar.



Contributed by: Maxine Betteridge-Moes, Agricultural Knowledge Management Advisor, Farm Radio International Ghana