RADIO INTERVIEW 101 Concentrating Your Radio Listeners Into Cities
New for 2017: With the advent of online-only talk radio stations, especially for younger people trying to market their product/service, it sometimes is easy to forget how a concentrated listenership can benefit you. Let's go over it:
Concentrated listeners are how traditional broadcast AM and FM stations have always operated: Their signal covers the majority of a city, and anyone in that city can listen, and anyone outside of that city can't. Of course the web now let's you find and listen to many of those signals from around the world, and that's great if you are just a listener who is wanting to listen; but the vast majority (99 percent) of the people listening to an AM or FM station are within the broadcast signal range, and that's all you really care about if you are trying to market your product or service to that area.
Interestingly, even though only 1 percent of an AM or FM station's listeners might be listening online, the online listening is still usually the most-listened to online programming in that city. Meaning, it only takes them 1 percent of their total listeners to beat all other online programming; the remaining 99 percent of their listeners are additional, concentrated listeners in that city. This facet of AM or FM stations having so many listeners is what prompted Nielsen (the TV ratings people) to buy Arbitron (the former radio ratings people) for 1 billion USD. So why does concentration of listeners matter? Here's why:
The big reason for anyone to pursue a traditional AM or FM broadcast station for interviews, instead of pursuing online-stations only, is to get in-person appearances in the cities where the stations are. It's probably obvious for musicians, who will need to travel to those cities to perform, but it's equally important for you to travel there too for book signings, film debuts, speaking engagements, etc. There is absolutely nothing more important to radio listeners in a city than to be able to meet the person that they just heard on the radio. It's somewhat like a musician's fans.
This fact does not go unnoticed by the people who need to say "yes" to your appearance there: Book stores, venues, theaters, civic groups, schools, businesses, even libraries. They all want what everyone wants: a person who is somewhat known by the people that can come to their place. And if you just did a great radio interview (or two or three) on a station in a city, then you are at the top of the list of people they will consider to have. And if they were already considering you, they will now consider paying you more than before your interviews, again, because you can now attract more people to their place.
Next on the list is securing distribution of your physical product (if you have one) in those cities. The people who operate chain stores, restaurants, clubs, etc. want to carry products that are somewhat already known; it makes their own marketing much easier, instead of them having to do everything from scratch. The more you can be heard interviewing in those cities, the more your name will become associated with your products, and the easier it will become to talk to the people who can say yes to you. And in a similar fashion, once to do get distribution or placement in physical places in those towns, those people will probably want even more, ongoing interviews to help push the product even farther.
Next is popularity, or more accurately, perceived popularity. Have you ever had a day where someone in your house said "did you hear that person talking about that thing on the radio this morning?", and then at your work someone says "did you hear the radio this morning, what was that person talking about?" And then maybe even a third person says something similar later that day. When two or more people personally say these things to you, you immediately get interested, at least to find out more. This in-person communication of events in a city only happens when people come into contact together throughout the city. Yes, there is online popularity, sharing, likes, etc, but how much impact would two or three "likes" be from people in different parts of the world?
Next, is personally meeting important people. Most people understand that a personal face-to-face meeting is the most powerful (compared to phones, email, etc), but is the hardest and most time consuming to set up and attend. And telling them that you were just on an online radio show that he or she has never heard of, probably won't help. But if you told them that you just had, or were just about to have, an interview on his or her local AM/FM station in their city, and on that interview you were going to be talking about visiting the city in person, they you will just have moved up their list of priorities to consider meeting. Those people almost never get contacts like this; why I'm not sure, but it really helps get their attention.
Next is adding other local media. A "media" in a town is TV, radio, or a cable tv station, newspaper, or possibly a local/regional magazine or website. When you are going to be doing an interview on an AM/FM station in their town, you pre-contact those other media to inform them about it. After they've listened to the interview (or even if they didn't), you contact them again and see if they'd interview you themselves. The fact that the AM/FM station interviewed you tells them that you might have something of interest, and moves you up on their priority list.
Next are tie-ins with outdoor media, which is a higher level of operation and usually applies to larger advertisers. Outdoor media (signs, billboards, bus benches, etc) in a particular city can only be seen by people in that city, and so it automatically places great preference on things that are or will be in that city. Your (hopefully several) interviews on their local AM/FM stations can be a tool to convince the outdoor advertisers to place you or your product/service in their outdoor ads. They probably would not care so much about any online-station interviews, whose listeners will never be going down the city's streets.
Lastly is one that is a bit of a twist of the first one. Yes, interviews on local stations can make it easier to get booked appearances in those cities; but also, having appearances in those cities makes it easier to get more radio interviews there! Why? Because AM/FM stations live and die by how many listeners they have, because their advertisers absolutely must have those listeners. And as already stated, nothing is more important than in-person appearances. So when a new station hears that you were, or will be, visiting their city to make an appearance, they immediately put you at the top of their list for interviews because they know their listeners what to hear what is happening IN their city. Not in other cities or countries.
So a common scenario and desired pathway is: Radio interview --> Appearance --> Meetings/Distribution --> Other Media --> More radio interviews. You repeat the process for each city that you get your first radio interviews in. Some, of course, progress more than others, and some don't go past the first interview, but the basic idea is that concentration of listeners in one city is what drives the whole thing.
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