Anyone who has pitched any type of news producer knows that one thing they don’t have is an excess of time. Radio news, in particular, works on a clock system where newscasts air at particular times and deadlines must meet or stations are faced with possibility of the dreaded “dead air.”

What this means for someone pitching a station is that it’s very important to find out the right time to call. Get to know the clock for the stations you are pitching and don’t try to make contact within five minutes of an airtime. For some stations, their prep time is longer.

The best way to find out what time to call is to simply ask. Reporters aren’t shy about letting you know when they are too busy to talk and will usually offer up a better time to call. If you are unable to get a reporter in person, often someone else in the newsroom or the receptionist will be able to provide you that information.

If you keep in mind that you are working on a reporter’s schedule and not yours, you will have the most success in pitching your story at a time that a reporter is most likely to be receptive to hearing it.

Submitted by Lynn Harris Medcalf
Executive Vice President, News Generation, Inc.

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