Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tapping Radio’s Power to Get Out the Vote
The day before the midterm elections the White House was buzzing with activity. While most presidents choose to be on the road stumping for local candidates, this year President Obama opted to stay in his office and conduct a series of strategically targeted radio interviews.
CBS News confirmed that President Obama was recording what they termed as “a flurry of interviews on urban-oriented radio shows, including one with “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.”
The interview with Seacrest was pretaped to air on Election Day, along with interviews on the popular urban morning shows Russ Parr and Steve Harvey. The President also conducted a live afternoon drive interview on November 1 with Michael Baisden.
Going even further, the President got local by doing interviews with hosts in key markets of Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Honolulu, and Miami. He wasn’t alone in the radio appearance category, however. First Lady Michelle Obama also recorded interviews with Steve Harvey and Yolanda Adams.
What’s interesting about this tactic is that President. Obama’s strategists seem to understand how powerful radio is in driving a message home. Using his time strategically, the President could be on the air all over the country in a short few hours from his desk. A feat that he could not achieve by physically travelling to all those locations in such a short period of time.
While the President certainly could have used television to drive this message out, he chose radio. This is because radio allows you to reach key demographic and geographic groups better than any other medium. He focused on what many of us in the radio industry know – listeners to these radio shows are exactly the audience he wanted to reach where he wanted to reach them.
While the Democrats may have lost ground in key battleground states in the Election, the White House pushed the communications envelope by using a focused, targeted approach to reach voters – a strategy that we’ll likely continue to see deliver a tailored message to their key voters.