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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pitching Radio: What Newsrooms Want

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We are often asked about stories that will work well on radio.  One of the most important factors to consider is timeliness.  Interest drives the content and relevance of the story more than any other factor.  Given the climate in the country right now, economic topics are at the top of that list.  For example, offering experts to explain how the stimulus package will impact each citizen is extremely compelling right now.

Radio stations want to grab the attention of the listeners and hold on to it.  The easiest way to accomplish this is by addressing topics that are at the forefront of the concerns of that very audience.  Everyone is being directly impacted by the dire economic state of the nation, and many of the details concerning that situation are more complex than the “Average Joe” can wrap his mind around.  Radio stations are clamoring for experts to help simplify this issue and explain it in a way that allows the magnitude of the problem to be broken down to a personal interest level.

Another key to a successful radio campaign lies in keeping the story as localized as possible.  Stations are always looking for a way to localize stories.  Radio stations, metro area networks, and even statewide networks want information pertaining to the particular area they serve.
There are three great ways to localize a story.  The first is to include an additional page of state-by-state statistics; for example, figures for average teacher salary in each state.  The second is to write a shell for a script and include an area, where the local information might be added for each particular market.  The last method for localizing would be to write an individual script for each market.  This is the most time-consuming and expensive form of localizing a pitch.

The additional page of information is usually the most effective option, because stations can see where their state stacks up against others in every category from seatbelt usage to the number of uninsured children in their state.  This gives the stations the localization they’re looking for in a cost-effective manner.  Never underestimate the customized touch.  The availability of local information can mean the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful radio campaign.

When developing a story for radio, the most important things to remember are timeliness and localization.  Radio stations want their listeners to think that their personal needs are being addressed and answers are being provided for their particular questions.  If there is a way to combine timeliness and localization into a good story, there is no doubt that a successful radio campaign will quickly follow.

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