With the pending presidential elections, the political climate has been raised dramatically in the country, but what political stories are being heard on radio? Radio stations are apt to discuss policy with groups who might have political objectives, as long as there is a strong local tie to their state and issues affecting their listener. Issues concerning the status of our schools and students, concerns over prescription drug costs and stories about the ongoing conflict in Iraq have all played very well since they speak to issues that affect listeners in their daily lives.
Radio stations recognize that their listeners are directly affected by these topics regardless of the parties affiliated with the source. Viable data that directly relates to a specific area and population will provide the best avenues to get your message on the air.
The challenges in pitching that we have encountered involve the more controversial or political topics that may not always have a local connection. To help our clients in developing a story with a politically affiliated message, there are a few simple guidelines that will help craft your message:
- How do I determine if my politically related story will play on radio? Take a look at the content of the story. The story should address issues important to listeners in the audience. Stories occurring thousands of miles away do not always generate this type of response, but local schools and the varying viewpoints on the best interests of the students will score every time.
- How do I hone my story to make it more attractive to radio stations? The most important point is to localize the story as much as possible. If the story can be refined with localized stats, even on a statewide level, this helps dramatically. In lieu of that, a local spokesperson can really help. If the story is concerning a topic that is happening on a national level, find a spokesperson who can address the topic on a local stage and is willing to support that topic locally. “If it can happen there, it can happen here.”
- How do I present a story without a perceived political bias? Let the facts speak for themselves. Try not to appear to be presenting an opinion piece, but instead provide information that does not need to be affiliated with any political group, like statistics and survey data. The focus should remain on the story itself and not the group supporting it. It is much easier to win that coveted air space with a pocketful of raw data supporting an argument.
Keep it simple. Make sure that if you are going to have a topic that is politically charged, you have facts to support your argument and that the facts have a local connection when possible. Reporters are no different than any other average hard working American. They want to know how the information being provided is going impact them or their families.