Since the start of the New Year, several key stories have dominated the national news, with the word ‘Enron’ immediately springing to mind as one of the top news stories in 2002 so far. In February, the weekly PBS news series NOW with Bill Moyers revealed information about Ken Lay’s meetings with Vice President Cheney that the White House had yet to confirm. In an interview with a Frontline reporter taped last May, Ken Lay, the former CEO of Enron, stated that he indeed did give Vice President Cheney advice regarding the government’s new energy program. He also said that he was unaware that he was the only CEO of a major electric energy company to confer privately with the Vice President as he formulated national energy strategy. The interview was featured on NOW with Bill Moyers on February 1, 2002.

Working with the series’ publicity team at Kelly & Salerno Communications, News Generation distributed an audio news release featuring Ken Lay sound bites to national radio networks and stations in the top-15 media markets on Thursday, January 31, 2002. The story received a 56% usage rate, garnering more than 28 million gross impressions. The release was the lead story on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and was featured in drive-time newscasts on Associated Press Broadcast, Metro Source, USA Radio Network, ABC News, Bloomberg Radio, CNN Radio, Radio America, WOR Network, and Pacifica Network News.

Without publication deadlines, an obstacle for print, or visual images needed for television, radio can be your best ally for getting information to the public quickly and effectively. In fact, more than 20% of stations used the information the same afternoon we pitched the story. This case study shows that one of radio’s greatest strengths is its immediacy, with the responsiveness needed to record audio quickly and turn a story around to radio stations in a breaking news situation. So next time news breaks, think radio!