Top Radio Talk Shows. Local talk radio used to be one of the best tools available to publicize anything! Every town with enough people had its own AM radio station and every one of those had at least one local host who was always looking for guests. While the number of local radio programs is a mere fraction of what it once was, there are still plenty of opportunities to book guests on national programs. The competition is fierce and you will need a really good pitch to get on any of them, but it can be done. By having these resources handy you will save a lot of time looking for contacts, phone numbers, emails, etc. Instead of spending time on those you can devote energy to crafting the perfect pitch.
Now some shows do not book guests, and that is fine. But you can still get a release or announcement read on the air by a national host. Rush Limbaugh, who does not book guests, once read a news release from me about a new treatment for bone cancer. It was epic. And while Limbaugh has his critics, he may be single handedly responsible for saving AM radio.
Talk radio as a listener-participation format has existed since the 1930’s. John J. Anthony (1902-70) was an announcer and DJ on New York’s WMRJ. It was located in the Merrick Radio Store at 12 New York Boulevard in Jamaica, Long Island. After some marital troubles, refusing to pay alimony and child support, he sought professional help and began his own radio series where listeners would call in with their problems in 1930. Radio historians consider this the first instance of talk radio. Maybe, but who is going to argue.
Talk radio is not limited to the AM band. “Non-commercial” usually referred to as “public radio“, which is located in a reserved spectrum of the FM band, also broadcasts talk programs. Commercial all-talk stations can also be found on the FM band in many cities across the US. These shows often rely less on political discussion and analysis than their AM counterparts, and often employ the use of pranks and “bits” for entertainment purposes; the morning zoos which started in the 80’s are still around as is Howard Stern though you have to pay to listen to Howard now. In the United States and Canada, satellite radio services offer uncensored “free-wheeling” original programming. ABC News & Talk is an example of “repackaging” for the digital airwaves shows featured on their terrestrial radio stations.
Virtual Teams Downside. There are lots of people who champion the idea of working from home or some other location that is not the office. Most of the advocates of working from home are the people who want to work from home. They declare that they are more productive with fewer distractions or interruptions. In the age of the Internet and the knowledge worker if I get my deadline met at noon or 2:00 a.m. what difference does it make as long as the deadline was made? Compelling points all, but each misses an important component that contributes to the success of any work group and that is team work and better interpersonal communications between members.
There is so much more to human interaction and communication than words on a page or spoken over a phone. Critics of those who work from home find that there are more misunderstandings or miscommunications as a result of the absence of non-verbal cues, which is also known as body language. Experts believe that 50% to 70% of human communication is non-verbal. There are also added costs of video conferencing equipment and licenses, added web security and the overall inconvenience of not being able to walk a few feet and speak to a colleague.
Death By Friendly Fire
In the military miscommunications cause death from so called friendly fire. The military factors the deaths from friendly fire into the cost of miscommunication. For military miscommunications, this price can be really high. The people killed by friendly fire pay the highest but there are consequences for the people who initiated the mid-directed weaponry.
For business, the costs are also high but instead of being “KIA” the costs manifest in security breaches and regulatory problems, which are high costs, but not life or death. That said, there is no reason not to take miscommunication very seriously. As stated above, in the military the people who died and those who caused the death both suffer greatly. So think about what happens when both sides in a company miscommunicate?
We tend to blame one side (the one we are not on) when there is a disagreement over meaning and intent. Public relations people and employees in any industry need to remember that all communication is a two way street. One side of the communication needs to be receptive and the other needs to be clear. Stop thinking about and in terms of the blame game and think more about this problem of geographically diverse employees as an issue of process that needs fixing.
I was always of the opinion that the public relations person on staff or the firm advising a company should not overshadow the company or client and that doing so was a real boner. It will be tough to avoid the taint of former Congressman Anthony Weiner who will begin his public relations career with MWW of New Jersey, according to a press release the agency distributed last week. Here is a link to the release: (http://www.mww.com/pressroom/2015/07/mwwpr-statement-clarifying-role-of-anthony-weiner-as-member-of-board-of-advisors/).
Anthony Weiner, whose sexting scandal juxtaposed against his last name sunk his political career 2 different times, is now working for the New Jersey PR firm headed by Michael W. Kempner. Kempner is a prominent New Jersey Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, said in a release that it “is pleased to welcome Anthony Weiner as a member of our Board of Advisors.”
While the agency said the former House representative will not serve clients directly, it plans to tap into his knowledge on a wide-range of policy issues, such as national healthcare and technology. “His public policy expertise will be a great asset to our firm,” the company said.
In 2011, the Democrat resigned his House seat amid a sexting scandal involving at least a half-dozen women. Weiner later tried to get back into public office two years later in an unsuccessful bid for New York City mayor. He lost after another story came out torpedoing his campaign, this one involving explicit photos and texts under the name “Carlos Danger.”
Everyone deserves a second, third, fourth or even fifth chance. Weiner is no different. I take issue with his choice of vocation because our profession is one that is not held in high esteem on a good day. Adding Weiner to an industry that suffers its own image challenges just makes it harder for the rest of us.
Keeping Carlos away from the clients is probably a good idea. And you have to wonder what kind of favors Mrs. Clinton owes Weiner’s wife and close advisor Huma Abedin (described as Hillary’s shadow) to get this done. Still, this seems like a really bad idea.
An essential component of any media relations’ effort is the creation of a media list. A media list is, as the name suggests, a list of journalists, reporters, editors and bloggers that you want to connect with about your news. There are lots of ways to define this list. I once worked with someone who would not consider media part of a target list but insisted that they were merely a conduit to the real audience. He may have had a point but it seemed like hair-splitting to me. Oh well, now on with the story.
I like to use fishing analogies when I write about different types of ways to promote a business. There are fish you can catch with a net and fish you catch with a line. The fish that come up in the net are every fish. No discrimination about the type of fish in the net, just pull up every fish that is unlucky enough to be under the boat when the net is thrown out. To catch fish on a line requires more skill, specialized equipment, the right kind of bait and knowledge about where and when a particular variety is more likely available. Sending out press releases is much the same. You can broadcast a release to everyone via one of the popular and expensive services and it will get published, no question. But will it be seen and appreciated by an audience that could better appreciate it? Do you need a “line” to the reporters and editors who are specifically interested in your topic? You already know the answer.
Step 1: Know Your Audience
Or another way of thinking about this is to define who are your customers or potential customers? Where do they live? How old are they? Are they married or single? Are they college graduates or not? How much money do they make? What magazines do they read or subscribe to? These are a few of the demographics about who your audience/customers are and how to reach them. If you do not know this then you will not be able to build a good list or market to potential customers successfully. Know your customer!
Step 2: What Do You Read Or Listen To Or Watch?
So who are those reporters you want to reach and how do you start to look for them? Well, what do you read and listen to when you are thinking about work or looking for solutions to problems on the job? Many professionals and business owners have their favorite writer, podcaster, and/or commentator. The one who covers your business and the one(s) you pay attention to are also the same people who should show up on your media list. Since you already know who they are, finding them on line will be easier than if you did not. So while researching your own favorites, pay attention to others who show up on your favorite search engine feed. You want to be sure that you have access to all media in your selected categories—print, online, TV and radio—and that your list isn’t exclusive to one area. Be inclusive.
Step 3: Find Others Who Cover The Same Beat
Look on line for others who cover the same “beat” as your favorites. These people may not be your favorite, but they are someone’s favorite or they would not have the jobs or following that they do. Are there more places to look? Absolutely.
Step 4: Investigate Other On Line Resources
There are online services that have absolutely everything there is to know about every media outlet in North America whether, print, on line, radio, TV, or blog. Vocus and Cision are both excellent. They are also expensive and not everyone can afford to subscribe to one of these. Here are some other places to look that do not cost anything but time.
The Internet Public Library
The Internet Public Library includes a list of popular magazines and newspapers organized by their respective subject area or geographic focus. Each individual listing includes a brief description of the outlet’s coverage area, along with a link to their website. Other similar directories include World Newspapers & Magazines (some of these listings are outdated, but it’s still a good starting point), the Yahoo! News and Media directory and Mondo Times.
I was looking for producers of radio talk shows in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago and turned to Linked In for help. You can dive very deep into contact information about the people you need by using Linked In. It has its limitations, but is the best source I have found and did not pay for.
Media On Twitter
I have communicated directly with individual reporters sending messages to them via Twitter. Of course you have to know their names and who they write for to make use of twitter, but never fear, there is a site for that. You can learn more about the MediaOnTwitter wiki from PRSarahEvans.com. While MediaOnTwitter is the most comprehensive list, there’s also a Media People Using Twitter wiki developed by Jeremy Porter and his staff.
Congress.org Media Guide
This is a useful directory of media outlets organized by your geographic area. You can click on an interactive map to find newspapers in different areas of the country. Each listing includes a description of the outlet, along with some contacts for the publication (geared toward those that cover politics, but still useful).
Regator aggregates the best blog posts on different subjects. While Alltop will show you the best blogs on a subject, Regator shows you the best posts, saving you even more time. It’s useful for finding the most relevant posts on subjects I’m interested in. The best posts are hand-selected by experienced journalists, so you’ll find nothing but great quality here.
TradePub works with business and trade magazine publishers to market free subscriptions to qualified professionals. This is your one-stop-shop for subscribing to a wide-range of free business and trade publications of interest to you. It’s also a great place to find outlets you’ll want to add to your media list.
TVA Productions is a top independent studio that just happens to have an awesome directory of media outlets in many different categories. The directory is well-designed and easy to navigate. The only downside is the directory only lists the name and location of each outlet per category, so you’ll still have to find the outlet’s website to continue your research from there.
Step 5: Manage Expectations
None of these resources will provide anywhere near the volume or accuracy of information found in commercial media databases like Vocus or Cision. It’s true that you get what you pay for when it comes to media research. If you’re managing media relations for several organizations, consider investing in one of these solutions. If you just need to create a media list for your small business or startup, you can do this for free with a moderate amount of effort, using the resources above. I have used Vocus (and still do) and done this using the other tools listed above. Give yourself plenty of time to do it with the free resources and know that the results will not be as complete as they might be.
Step 6: Let Me Help
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