RADIO INTERVIEW 101 Comparing The Number Of Interviews To Listeners
New for 2016: Since radio has no visual way of showing you how many people are listening, when a guest does a radio interview by phone, he or she often doesn't know why they end up getting zero book sales (or public speaking engagements, or coaching clients, etc.) The reason is always two fold: The way they announced their contact info, and, the number of listeners that are listening. The announcing aspect has already been covered; we'll now cover how many radio listeners there are.
The first thing to do is not to fall into the trap of thinking that if you do an interview on an internet station, that "the whole world is listening". It isn't. The whole world also has a cell phone, but how many are calling you? The second trap to not fall into is to believe that "most people donít listen live; they listen to the recordings later". Any radio station person would be happy to tell you that 99% of their listeners listen live; that's why they work so hard on live broadcasts. When was the last time you knew a live show of any kind (radio, tv, theater) was going on, but you said "I don't want live, I prefer the old recordings). This trick of saying that recorded shows have more listeners is done by internet stations and podcasters, who know they have nobody listening and therefore want to have an excuse as to why nobody calls in during the show.
The number of listeners to a real AM or FM radio station is usually in direct proportion to the market (city) size, but not always. A small 1000 watt AM station in Casper, Wyoming (market #286) is going to have far fewer listeners that a 1000 watt AM station in New York City (market #1). But, the biggest station in Casper could very well have more listeners than the smallest station in New York City. So it's not always the market size that counts. See the list of market sizes
This explains why some people get "no sales response" from their AM or FM interviews... they are on small stations (few listeners), even though they may be in bigger markets. And if you are on a small station in a small market, it's going to be even tougher. That's where some PR folks get away with "guaranteeing" you a certain number of interviews... they just take you to the tiny stations that are easy to get, even though they could be in big markets. College stations are great for this. You'll have a good time interviewing on these small stations, but you won't make many sales. And the PR person then makes their quota that they promised you.
Now, there is a good side to doing a lot of small station interviews. One is that you can do lots of practice, but the real reason is that you are building a network of small station interviews (which really becomes your personal contacts) which causes the larger stations to take notice when you tell them about it. All radio people talk, via private forums, blogs, newsletters, conventions, and station owner supplied white lists. Once you get some of these folks talking about you (about how good you were with the audience), other station people will pay more attention to what you say when you call them. So then you will have interview opportunities on many other (including larger) stations as a result of your smaller stations. Amazing how it works.
Big station interviews in major markets (#1 through #30) are great when you get them, but if you are new at interviewing, they will notice it right away and will give you a much shorter interview than a small station would. Big stations just feel more comfortable having fine-tuned people on their shows, and they have the audience to get them. So being new, you would actually do better on a medium or small station with less listeners... they'll keep you on longer, and let you give out your contact info more often, than the big guys will. And how about this: when personnel from big stations get to travel, guess what they love to do... listen to what's going on at the small stations!
The main place where you might be fooled is when you hear a huge station interview someone who is obviously a beginner. You think that if that beginner can do it, sounding that bad, then you can too. But most times those interviews happen TO the person; the person did not MAKE the interview happen. And besides, it probably only happened on that ONE station, and no others. That is not what you call a repeatable business marketing tactic.
You, on the other hand, are responsible for making your interviews happen. You cannot depend on some big station possibly hearing about you and asking to interview you. You need a somewhat-predictable amount of interviews that happens from week to week, and if you shoot for stations that are too large for your current capabilities, your interviews turn out to be too few and too short. Or none.
So start with some interviews you can get, with some audience, that make some sales, and don't worry about how many interviews there are. Build from there.
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