A day in my life usually involves phone or email conversations with prospective clients. They always have questions about how they can better their position to promote themselves and/or their business.
But one line of questioning I always find mystifying deals with talk radio, a medium I love and we’ve made great use of for our clients over the years.
The question they ask is: “Does anyone actually listen to talk radio anymore?”
Now, from my own experience, I could answer that with an emphatic “absolutely!” But I decided a higher authority from the world of talk radio would be more credible. So I checked in with my friend, Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, the industry’s top trade magazine, to see how he would respond.
It turns out Michael was even more emphatic than me. Since the modern era of talk radio began in the late 1980s, he says, its detractors have been quick to point to every blemish or minor ratings down-tick as indicating the death of the format. They could not be more wrong.
“If no one is listening to talk radio, then no one is listening to radio at all,” Michael says. “With the normal ups and downs inherent in any format of the medium, talk radio (and country music radio) remain the two most-listened-to genres of radio, ratings period after ratings period.”
Is talk radio important and influential? Michael says you might as well ask if voters are influential and if active consumers are influential.
“Research continues to indicate that talk radio is where a high concentration of voters and active consumers are indeed listening,” he says. “Talk radio also puts the spotlight on important issues that for reasons of ratings, circulation or sizzle the rest of the mainstream media often tends to ignore or simply bury.”
Michael is so right. As a listener, I’ve been a huge fan of talk radio for nearly my entire adult life. That love actually spawned my business, and I was even more thrilled when it eventually led to me hosting my own show.
Here’s why you should be a fan, too.
First, know that there are a few types of radio stations. The conventional ones are referred to as terrestrial. That’s your AM and FM stations. AM is home to most talk formatted shows and it’s where we book clients most often. FM is primarily music but also carries some talk shows; you’re probably most familiar with those heard on National Public Radio.
There’s also satellite radio, such as Sirius and XM that people subscribe to, and internet radio, which is accessible online.
Here are some of the reasons we love talk radio as a source of publicity:
- It’s an easy, effective way to get your message out. There’s no travel or special equipment involved. As long as you have a landline, you can be interviewed from the comfort of your home or office. (Producers don’t like cell phones because the signal is unreliable.) If you give a compelling interview, you’ll impress listeners with your expertise and personality, which will help them remember you. It will also prompt hosts to plug your work and offer your website address.
- Talk radio audiences are educated and engaged. Talkers magazine periodically profiles news/talk listeners. The numbers show these are people who read books, buy products, care about issues and participate in the political process – potential customers!
According to the most recent Talk Radio Research Project:
- 72 percent of listeners are ages 35 to 64.
- 70 percent are college graduates or have attended college or graduate school.
- Men comprise 58 percent; women 42 percent.
- Almost three-fourths of listeners earn $30,000 to $79,000 a year.
- 79 percent of those eligible to vote do.
- Shows in smaller markets can be just as helpful as big ones. Some clients start out telling us, “I don’t want to waste my time on small market shows.” But, here’s why they are valuable: Smaller markets have devoted fan bases because listeners have fewer shows from which to choose. So, not only do you talk to a dedicated audience, it’s also likely your interview will be longer than it would in a larger market. That gives you greater potential for making a strong impression to and driving home your points to those devoted listeners.
- It can live online for you to share. Your interview can be saved as a podcast so that you can share it on social media and on your website. Having the ability to re-purpose it in this way is what I like to call marketing gold! The radio interview’s return on investment is not necessarily just new customers or clients who find you because of the interview. The ROI actually is that these interviews help build your credibility as the go-to expert in your field, and that can lead to people choosing you over competitors down the line.
Besides the great publicity potential, I love talk radio because it’s easy. When a show host wants to interview me, I simply close my office door for 15 minutes and get on the phone.
There’s simply no better way to have a live conversation with a dedicated audience tuned in to hear what you have to say.
P.S. If you want to be a guest on national and local talk radio shows across the country, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 211
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.