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Radio Interview 101

Different Types of Station Contact

Reaching radio hosts (for the purpose of trying to get booked foran interview) can take on various forms, depending on the typeof station the show is done at. What's best? All of them at thesame time, of course. But since that's cost prohibitive for almostany guest, you have to pinpoint what will do an acceptable jobfor an acceptable price.

Personal contact with prospective hosts is always the best, doneby either by the guest or the booking person. These personalvisits are usually only possible in the hometown of the guest orbooking person, since radio PR campaigns just don't chargeenough to pay someone to visit stations nationally. (Interestingly,high-level music airplay promotion campaigns DO charge enoughfor personal visits.) Regardless, if there is ever a chance to meetface to face with a host, do it... they will never forget you.

The telephone is the big equalizer in booking interviews. Mostradio interviews are booked on the phone, since you can reachevery host in the country, and, since hosts are big phone-people.Plus, radio people are used to being hit with calls from musicpromoters, syndication promoters, equipment salespeople,audience calls, etc. Two things about the phone, however, have to hit the hosts at the right time (especially music-stationmorning crew hosts/producers), and you have to sound gooddoing it.

Printed ads in radio publications are used by a lot of people whoare trying to book interviews, and while these ads do generate"some" calls from smaller stations, I'll go ahead and say that anad's purpose is not so much to generate calls as it is to buildawareness (much like a billboard on the side of the road justbuilds awareness.) These printed "trade" ads certainly do havea use, but I just would not rely on them to make your phone ring.

Ads on radio websites are even a bit less useful than printed ads,as far as awareness-building is concerned (and certainly as far asgenerating calls is concerned.) It has something to do withradio's fight over the internet for streaming, artists, banner sales,etc. Regardless, radio does not take things seriously that arepresented via banner ads ONLY. However, if you have a greatsite, adding a banner (that links to your site) as part of your phonecampaign makes good sense.

Email contact is good for college stations and music-directors atcommunity stations, but it is very weak at convincing commercialstations on FIRST contact. Once they know you, however,email is a good tool to get booking-times and dates across. Emailhas to be pin-point to the person... personalized and all. Youcannot send one email to a list of people... they will neverrespond, and they will block you.

Fax is most certainly just an image builder (like a billboard), andnot a booking tool. Getting your guest's point across in a fax (ifused by itself) usually never works since it never gets to the rightperson. And you can't send it multiple times to the same faxmachine, since that would not be welcomed.

Postal mail is a bit better than fax, as far as getting to the rightperson is concerned, but the cost involved, along with theproper-addressing hassle, makes mail prohibitive except forsimple postcard-type image builders, or when mailing a book orbook-cover is really needed. A nice thing about mailings is thatyou can target several guests with multiple pieces, mailed inintervals so that you don't fill up the receptionist's desk with yourstuff.

Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an independent radio interviewpromotion company.


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