Stop and think. Hundreds of e-mails and hundreds of faxes are streaming into a radio newsroom or crossing a morning show producer’s desk, and you expect a call-back from a station for a guest you’re booking. Good luck! Radio newsrooms just don’t work that way, but here are some tips on what does work.
First, fully familiarize yourself with the project you are pitching and the spokesperson’s background, so you can come up with a solid angle for your pitch. Make the logical geographic or local connections for the markets you are pitching whenever possible. Local angles to news stories are of great value to reporters and producers.
Next, go through your media database and make sure the topic fits the format of the shows on your list. Today’s radio station formats are designed to reach a specifically defined segment or niche of the listening population, based on demographic criteria such as age, ethnicity and gender. The majority of the time, if the subject matter fits the format, you have a ready-made booking.
Getting a reporter or producer interested in your story won’t happen without a phone call though. Less than five percent of the producers we pitch on a regular basis respond to e-mails or fax notifications without getting a call from us first. Producers and reporters are just too busy to respond to all the pitches that come their way. It’s our job to pick up the phone and call, chitchat, and cajole if need be! Understand that there is a fine line between being a nuisance and a valuable tool to help producers create a great radio story.
Lastly, take the time to develop a relationship with the reporters and producers you are pitching. Remember the convenient times of the day to get in touch with them, their likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc. You’d be surprised how many times a guest is booked on the basis of a host’s hobby or outside interest. A perfect example is the Mark Barnicle Show on WTKK-FM, in Boston. Here’s a strictly politically-oriented show — yet, when master craftsman, Norm Abram, was available for interviews, he jumped at the chance to get him on his show because he loves woodworking and is a big fan of Abram.
Always remember, this is a “people” business — don’t sound like a robot with a memorized script, put some personality into your pitch and interaction with stations, and you’ll score a booking!