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SYNDICATION 101... Live or Taped

While the format of some shows absolutely dictates that they be either live or taped, most shows can be offered either way, or, if they are already offered one way, with a slight modification they can be offerd the other. And there are reasons for doing this. For a brand new show by a brand new host, taped delivery (on CD) should be seriously considerd. Lower cost, ability to fix mistakes, and 100 percent campatibility with all stations, makes for good reasons to go with CD (cassettes are no longer required.) For shows that must have either current info (i.e., stock quotes), or callers, then satellite must be used. All other situations, however, can go either way. Here are the not-so-obvious advantages and disadvantages of each...

LIVE: (via satellite) Radio is all about mass audience, and nothing attracts an audience like a live show. Everything else equal, just having listeners know that your show is live can eventually double your audience (and the station's rating during that daypart.) With live you also have...

o The ability to do live spot reads for currently-occuring sponsor events (only radio can do this efficiently,)

o The ability to welcome each new affiliate onboard during their first show.

o The ability to mention / talk about particular affilite activities that are currently occuring (activities which would be of interest to other affiliates' listeners.) Station management loves this.

o The ability to tie in current regional weather to outdoor-activity weekend shows.

o The ability to reference TV shows currently airing, or national newspapers currently distributing.

TAPED: Delivering a show on CD gives you...

o A quick way to start a new show.

o Very little distribution cost, especially with few affiliates.

o A chance to fix things.

o A way to get cleared on tough stations that may not believe you can deliver live on time.

o Ability to ask for any daypart.

o A delivery mechanism where you can include auxillary offerings without having to do a separate mailing; things like spec spots, promo samples, client testimonial, station managemet testimonials, messages to the station, etc.

If your show is already offered live, you may consider adding a taped version since it allows you to go after non-satellite stations, or stations that could not take the timeslot you are available in. Even if you are currently on live, a taped copy of the same show can be used as a tool to convince the station to re-broadcast the show later (and you won't have to pay extra satellite time.) If your show uses heavy phones, don't feel like you would be losing out with the taped version, since you are getting your foot in the door where you previously had no show. And besides, these stations may add you live later. Another good situation for adding a taped to your live version is when you are experimenting with a slightly different version of your show, and you don't want it available to the current live stations (you want to go after a different group of stations with your new version.) Or, you want to expand the show's length, but don't want to do more production... so instead you offer the additional time on CD in the form of a past show that may have not aired on these particular stations yet. One last reason for a taped add-on is simply for current live affilites to have a copy for salespeople and prospective sponsors to listen to themselves, since they may be too busy buying/selling to be able to catch your show live.

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