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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Monday, November 24, 2008

CASE STUDY: AUDIO NEWS RELEASES AND RADIO MEDIA TOURS – THE WEATHER CHANNEL

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This is a case study for a radio outreach project we worked on this year that really illustrates the exposure that radio can provide.

OBJECTIVE

Since 1982, The Weather Channel has been delivering up-to-the-minute weather information to its viewers around the world. Beginning as a 24-hour television network devoted entirely to weather, it has expanded across several mediums to bring breaking weather news to its viewers and users. In 2007, The Weather Channel hired News Generation to promote multiple television series and programs to help better inform viewers about the everyday impact weather has in their lives.

The outreach initiatives of The Weather Channel were developed based on the need to educate the public about preparedness, awareness and safety messages relating to on-air topics of The Weather Channel. Raising awareness of these issues provided an opportunity to promote several new television series.

STRATEGY/TACTICS

To maximize The Weather Channel’s messages, News Generation recommended the combined use of radio media tours and audio news releases. Between December of 2006 and August of 2008, two audio news releases and four radio media tours were produced and distributed.

The first audio news release, distributed in December of 2006, released the names of the ten most influential individuals or organizations impacting global climate change. The second audio news release, distributed in April of 2007, promoted a new program highlighting how weather decides our destiny. With each audio news release, radio networks and stations were targeted, stations were directly pitched and fed stories, and follow-up was completed with outlets accepting the release.

Radio outlets were pitched individually and offered the audio news release in a number of formats including: script, audio from News Generation’s content website www.broadcastnewsresource.com, e-mail text and audio, or phone feed. The releases were distributed to a total of 550 stations, and a final Broadcast Usage Report was provided within seven business days following distribution.

The first of four radio media tours took place on September 22, 2006 and promoted a new program about weather stories on location. The second radio media tour on September 27, 2007 promoted a new program that focused on the science of global warming. The third radio media tour on May 31, 2007 provided hurricane safety tips from on-camera meteorologists. The final radio media tour in this series took place on August 15 and 18, 2008 and promoted a one-hour special on the dangers of hurricanes.

The four radio media tours not only allowed The Weather Channel spokespeople to promote the new programs, but also gave them an opportunity to elaborate on more complex weather phenomena related to the important topic of hurricanes and all programming on The Weather Channel. A total of 49 interviews were completed, and following the tour, follow-up calls were made to each outlet that conducted interviews to verify usage. In addition, interview segments were placed on News Generation’s content site www.broadcastnewsresource.com. Final Broadcast Usage reports were provided within five business days following the completion of each round of interviews.

RESULTS

More than 78 million listeners heard the stories, with a total of 23,415 airings on 13,953 stations and network affiliates across the United States. Overall placement rate for the audio news releases were 99 percent, with an average usage rate of 38.5 percent.

Highlights include: airings nationally on Metro Source, ABC News Network, and American Urban Radio Network; airings on statewide and regional networks in Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and the southeastern U.S.; airings on #1 news stations in Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington-Hagerstown, DC-MD; and airings on #1 news-talk stations in Boston-Manchester, MA-NH, Charleston, SC, Houston, TX, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA, San-Francisco-Oakland, CA, and St. Louis, MO.

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