Radio Media Tours (RMTs)
A radio media tour a series of pre-arranged, 10-15 minute interviews between your spokesperson and 10-20 targeted radio stations. RMTs are efficient, cost-effective ways to get optimal radio exposure for your message. They can be a stand alone effort, or more often the case – part of a larger media campaign that includes TV and social media. Sometimes the interviews are aired live on the day of the RMT, but many times they are recorded by the stations and aired later that day or week.
RMTs are most successful when your story has either a solid news component or a high-profile spokesperson. High-profile can mean anything from a nationally or regionally recognized expert to a Hollywood celebrity. One of the key advantages of an RMT is the opportunity for the spokesperson to connect with the host and listeners in a more intimate way than through an audio news release or soundbite. The other advantage is more time on the air to tell your story and convey the key messages of your campaign.
1. Start by defining your message and your target audience
Whether you are disseminating the results of a survey, raising awareness about a cause, or trying to drive traffic to your website, you need to identify and prioritize the key components of your message. Do you want to reach a national audience or listeners in a particular geographic area? Are you reaching out to a general population of all ages and backgrounds, or to a more specific audience, such as young professionals or working mothers with small children. Is there a call to action?
2. Choosing the spokesperson
Think about your message as a story – who is the perfect person to tell your story? You’ll want to choose a spokesperson who is going to relate to your target audience as well as someone who knows your brand inside out. Your spokesperson should be an authority on the topic who can speak at length and field all sorts of questions. Stations are eager to book credentialed experts-someone who sounds confident and comfortable on air and who can be conversational with the station’s host. If your spokesperson doesn’t have on-air experience, you will want to provide media training and rehearse with them prior to the RMT, or ask if your vendor can provide media training.
Usually it takes a celebrity or someone with a high degree of name-recognition to score an interview with the largest stations in the top markets during peak morning or afternoon drive time. That being said, as long as you have a compelling and relevant topic with an appropriate spokesperson, your broadcast specialist will pitch a variety of outlets, big and small.
3. Choose Your Vendor – the Broadcast/Media Specialist
You’ll want a broadcast specialist with established relationships with radio stations and experience pitching a story like yours. Important questions to ask your specialist include:
How do they identify and target the outlets they’ll pitch?
How often you can expect updates?
How do they follow up on recorded interviews?
How do they measure, track and report results?
Where do they get their audience numbers?
What’s included in a final report and when can you expect it?
4. Work With Your Specialist to Craft an Effective Media Alert
Your broadcast specialist will work closely with you to frame the interview opportunity so that it appeals to producers and news directors at radio stations. Some topics will be appropriate to pitch to morning shows, while some are better suited to weekend public affairs programming or the newsroom. An effective media alert, or press release, grabs the attention of radio producers, gets right to the meaty part of the topic, and contains all the important info: why the topic is relevant, who the spokesperson is, what dates/times are available and how to book an interview. And even though it’s for radio – the alert should include a good photo of your spokesperson.
Keep your timeline in mind: most vendors require 3-4 weeks to pitch outlets, and you will need your alert to be approved prior to pitching.
5. On the Day of the Radio Media Tour
Make sure that your spokesperson uses a clear landline from a quiet, private space for the day of the RMT. A Skype connection may also be used. Many stations will prematurely end an interview if they hear a bad cell phone connection or too much background noise. You should also provide them with the entire day’s schedule and plan out when they’ll have good opportunities for water breaks or to use the bathroom. You’ll be able to listen in to all of the interviews if you like, and you can coach your spokesperson and share feedback when there’s time between interviews.
Prepare your spokesperson and yourself for the unexpected: last minute schedule changes, substitute hosts who may not be familiar with the topic and questions that might seem off-topic. It’s a good idea to rehearse a good natured and polite exit line, such as “Thanks so much for having me on today, Ryan – I’ve gotta run but check out www.moreinfo.com for more info.”
Radio Media Tours are a great option when you want to maximize your spokesperson’s time and create a more intimate connection with the audience. You can book and complete 10 to 20 interviews on the same day while your spokesperson relaxes in his/her home, office or hotel room, anywhere in the country.