What I’ve Learned About PR From My Career In Radio

From college radio to on-air gigs in Philly, Dallas and, since 1988, in St. Louis, I have dealt with and generally enjoyed my dealings with numerous PR people. Here are a few ideas I have picked up along the way that may provide guidance to those in the “media relations” area of PR.

  1. Don’t tell me that an interview guest you are pitching “is really funny and personable” if he/she is, in fact, a dud.
  2. Don’t leave me a three-minute voice mail message.
  3. Don’t send me a lengthy release when all I want is a basic fact sheet.
  4. Don’t pitch me an interview for a celebrity who is coming to my town and then have the celebrity call in from his hotel room three blocks away from the station.
  5. Don’t tell me how much your client values my station if the ad agency is spending tens of thousands on paid spots other stations and none on mine.
  6. Don’t ask me “how many listeners do you have?” There are too many different answers to that question.
  7. Don’t be upset if I record a 15-minute interview and edit it down to 2 ½ minutes for on-air (or online posting). Sometimes a short interview can be more effective than a long one.
  8. If the interview is live, make sure your guest is ready to go at the appointed time. If he is still on the line cracking jokes with the show in Pittsburgh when it’s our turn to chat, that’s not good.
  9. Make sure your guest sounds human, even if his answers are all pre-programmed. Sure, most radio folks will ask similar questions, but encourage your guest to sound spontaneous and not scripted.
  10. Don’t take it personally when I disagree with you that your guest would be “perfect” for my show.
  11. If there was value in my interviewing your client, send a thank-you note or give a quick thank-you call. (If you leave a voice mail, make it quick.)
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