The greatest political scandal of our time began when burglars were caught in the Watergate Democratic Party headquarters and ended with the collapse of a presidency. On Wednesday, July 30, a PBS documentary Watergate Plus 30: Shadow of History offered a radically new answer to the question: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
Fueled by the breaking news of Jeb Magruder’s allegation that former president Richard Nixon personally ordered the Watergate break in, media coverage for WATERGATE PLUS 30: Shadow of History exploded. Magruder’s allegation emerged as the top news story on Monday, July 28, 2003 after Greenwich, Connecticut firm Kelly & Salerno released the news exclusively to the Washington Post and provided it to AP for its wire on Sunday, July 27, 2003. An audio news release for radio stations featuring a soundbite of Magruder from WATERGATE PLUS 30, helped the story dominate a 48-hour news cycle on Monday, creating awareness and interest in the documentary premiere on July 30, 2003.
Kelly & Salerno Communications, which represented the PBS documentary, worked with News Generation to prepare an audio news release offering a sound bite of the Magruder allegation. The audio news release reached almost 50 million (49,668,975) listeners nationally, attributing the news to the documentary premiering on PBS. This was the highest volume usage for any audio news release produced and distributed by News Generation to date this year.
More than 8,000 stations and network affiliates aired the segment on July 28 and July 29, many airing it multiple times over a 24-hour period for a total of 27,190 airings. The segment aired nationally on Associated Press Broadcast, Metro Source, ABC News Network, USA Radio Network, CNN Radio, SRN News, and Bloomberg Network. Metro area networks and top news and talk stations in the top-25 markets broadcast the segment repeatedly including the #1 news stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh.
Colby Kelly, principal of Kelly & Salerno Communications said “Our strategy was to leverage media interest in coordination with the exclusive we had provided to the Washington Post and the AP wire and an ANR was the perfect vehicle.”