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Why Overlooking Interviews on Smaller Radio Stations Can be a Big Public Relations Mistake

Jun 6, 2008
Talk radio interviews have drastically changed!

In the 'golden days,' the hosts of major-market talk radio shows used to bring guests into the studio for long chats. A talk radio guest could just knock off a couple of those interviews and sales would instantly hit 'turbo.'

Sadly, those days are gone. Unless an author is a truly big name nowadays, the chances of hitting pay-dirt with just a couple of big radio interviews are history.

The reasons are two-fold. First, there just aren't as many talk shows with a format for guests as there used to be. "Secondly, the amount of 'per-guest interview time' has shrunk." What is to blame for this? The researchers. The result of much research found that the shorter the segment, the more the audience will stay involved.

Quantity still rules. Think about it. There are thousands of radio stations out there!many just 1,000 watts or so and without a big-name host. But that certainly doesn't mean you should thumb your nose at them.

Think about this point of view. "If a 1000-watt radio station had, say, only 100 listeners, you'd probably think it wasn't worth the trouble, right?" . "But what if you could go to an auditorium and talk to 100 people about your book, would you go? Absolutely!"

See the contradiction here? "I would suggest that you go on every talk radio show that you can, no matter what the size is! This is a fabulous way of creating a solid consumer base and awareness".

Get your feet wet in the small markets before taking the plunge with the majors.

"It takes approximately 10 to 12 radio interviews before most clients are comfortable behind the microphone. So it's far better to make your first inevitable mistakes on a smaller stage than a bigger one, and that's where the little stations come in. The small stations give you a fantastic practice field when it comes to radio pr."

Also, doing lots of interviews gives you a fantastic on-air experience. You'll be able to crystallize your thoughts on your product better! Get your presentation down to a few succinct words!sound like a pro instead of a floundering amateur.

There are many mistakes made by "rookie" talk radio guests such as not mentioning your product or website enough, or being too salesy. It's also a mistake to mention these too often and upset the host, who will let you know that the show is not an infomercial.

Technical clients have a tendency to slide into techno-babble, and even good guests inevitably walk out of their first few interviews knowing they could have done better. But if you are going out to smaller stations initially, you won't have a national audience hearing your mistakes."

Sure, there can be pitfalls with smaller stations. Be prepared to run into some hosts who are unprofessional, and make sure you confirm an interview at least twice before you're scheduled to be on the air.

But hey, what can prepare you for the 500 watt station in the middle of nowhere that's hosted by a recent college grad. Hosts on the smaller talk radio stations may not do as much research as the big national hosts. So you may have to walk them through the major points of your topic.

"Prepare for these interviews as though you have just met someone on the street for the first time and you're telling them about your book. If the hosts aren't as prepared as they should be, you still need to be on your toes. Very bright people listen to some very small radio stations; so don't ever talk down to your audience."

The bottom-line here is that small-station interviews not only can generate sales, they can prepare you for the big time.
About the Author
For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI. Go to http://www.publicitythatworks.com to claim your free "Power of Public Relations" video today!
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