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Remote Broadcasts; "Mention This Ad"; Faked Testimonials

This posting is for readers of my latest Radio Advertising Letter to share their thoughts about giving the client plenty of mic time during remote broadcasts…the pros & cons of saying “Mention that you heard this ad on Radio X”…and/or faked testimonial commercials.

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  • Anonymous May 30, 2009, 5:31 pm

    I agree we should not give the client ‘lots of airtime’, but I think it can be an effective choice in certain situations. If the client will speak briefly and specifically, they will accomplish two things.

    First, they will provide local content. If your station’s goal is to sound as ‘big city’ and polished and super-professional as possible, then this will likely not be a good fit. If, however, your station wants to project an image of a station that is for the average listener and matches their specific preferences, it might work well.

    Second, although our goal is to sound as sincere as possible when we are promoting a client, and a sign of professionalism is being convincing, who is going to be more convinced this is the right product for your listener? Is it the person whose livelihood it is, or the radio person who promotes this client’s products as well as a great many others throughout the week? Regardless of how well presented, is your listener going to believe the client about this, or the radio person whom they’ve heard make the same or similar promotions for other clients before?

    Rod Carty,
    Station Manager,
    CIAY Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

  • Phil Bernstein May 30, 2009, 5:54 pm

    There’s an old joke which ends with the punch line, “We’ve already established what you are. Now we’re arguing aboutg the price.”

    I’m a sales guy. I hate remotes, and do everything I can to talk clients out of doing them.

    But once we agree to do a remote, if the client wants to be on the air for a few minutes, we put him on the air for a few minutes. And I think that’s the right decision.

    The only reason you’re ever going to bring your wacky, zany morning show to Billy Bob’s Auto Body is to get some of Billy Bob’s money. You’d never do it for free. Perhaps you shouldn’t do it at all.

    The only reason Billy Bob is paying a talent and engineering fee (and, if your seller is any good, buying a big advertising schedule) is to use the power of your wacky, zany morning show to promote his business.

    You can try to talk him out of going on the air (Dan’s newsletter gives you some good arguments), but since you’ve already agreed to bring your show to his store in exchange for his money, a few minutes of on-air time is not an unreasonable expectation.

    So hand him a mic and some headphones, ask him a few questions about his business, do your best to integrate the conversation into your show, go to commercial, shake the client’s hand, and send him an aircheck later.

    If you’re willing to do a little work in advance — talking with the client, preparing some intelligent questions — it might even turn out to be good radio.

    And if it’s not? As I’m fond of telling my wife, it’ll be over in five minutes. You’ll live.

    You also have the option of choosing not to do the remote. That decision may cost your station some money, and somebody at the station will have to decide how important that money is. But it’s a perfectly legitimate option.

  • Anonymous May 31, 2009, 3:25 am

    let me start by prefacing that I have been out of the Radio Industry in Australia for 5 years, but it seems little has changed.

    I was a programme director at a regional station and found that O.B’s (Australian venacular for “Remotes”)were money spinners for our station for clients who generally were “groupies”.. ie they wanted to be part of a successful breakfast show/announcer’s programme. Many announcers were too egotistical to allow anyone else to “star” in their timeslot therefore the OB was usually destined to failure. If good jocks could give a client a persona on air (funny guy, sarcastic guy, overly positive guy) then it could be played on and listeners would respond. The client if they want to be on air promoting their stuff, must be treated like a show element and not an outsider to the listener. The announcer needs to give his audience the impression that the client is a part of the “family” and that the only reason the jock is introducing this guy/business to the listener is because he thinks he is a good guy with good stuff (at good prices)and wants to share this with his audience.

    No station should sound “big city” or “polished” they should be local, relevant and interesting ! otherwise no one would be listening, not many listeners know what big city or polished sounds like, they just know whether or not they are engaged or not with the “local” station, if they are engaged they respond to OBs and promotions !!!

    Lets face it, our listeners know the commercials are there to pay the bills,(no jock pre-supposes the audience are that dumb) and if a commercial is entertaining and engaging, whether pre-recorded with zips and zings, or a live read, or an OB discussion, if it targets the listener correctly and entertains it will work, otherwise like most “commercial radio these days” it will just be background noise. This is the same for music-stations, talk stations,etc. If the talk is succinct on a music station it will have impact, not detract from a format and be entertaining to the listener. I was part of a duo on a breakfast show on a music station that had a large following and huge credibility and had quotability with listeners did lots of client phoners/live reads and only played 6 songs per hour. No one ever commented on how “little” music was played. Everything we did had a dollar value, otherwise we didnt do it !!! We always talked up local events and clients and they got results.

    Any “jock” who thinks he is bigger than the station and its need to generate revenue, needs to get over it and pretty quickly.

    Interested to hear others thoughts.

  • Trish Bell May 31, 2009, 10:28 pm

    I cringe when a client goes on and on at a remote. I have always prepared the client letting them know we have only 60 seconds to make a great point and it usually helps. It’s up to the jock and the AE to let client’s know of this brief time frame before putting a mic in front of them.

  • Neil Holmes June 1, 2009, 5:29 am

    On “Mention this ad” – When we’re required to include a “mention this ad” test; first – make sure the offer is something a listener will remember. 10% is not gonna cut it, the ‘test’ must have real value. So if you must include the ‘test’, twist it to benefit the station. I like adding “… and tell ‘em you listen to (radio station) and get one hundred dollars.”

    On the Remote Broadcasts: The clients should be made aware that the biggest value in a remote package is the weeklong pre-sell; the live mention every couple hours of the upcoming event building the awareness of the business in the listeners mind.

  • Anonymous June 1, 2009, 6:28 am

    I like the old saying, "If you can't sell them advertising, sell 'em a dog & pony show".

    Remotes are soooooooo yesterday's news. In today's economy, does anyone in their right mind really think someone's just going to wake up on a Saturday morning and say, "Hey! I think I'll go spend 20 grand on a car today because the radio station's there, with free hot dogs!" They don't. At the local level, it's a horrible investment. On a national level, it's usually only done so the agency can send pictures to the client, saying "Look what we did for you!"

    It's lazy sales, and even worse, it betrays the trust of being a problem solving marketing partner.

    (Even though I got a talent fee…)

  • Barry Cole June 1, 2009, 8:07 am

    We do the week long promo of the remote.
    The talent goes out for about 30 minutes sends back breaks to be recorded and played later.

    Then we bring out the lovely,tall,sexy eye candy to stand in the booth,with big smiles,and big etc,etc’s.Both msle and female, We have a large gay populace.

    And we draw them in.

    It works really well. The talent gets paid for 3 hours while there only 30 minutes and the interns do the rest.

    It is all in how you hollywood it.

  • Anonymous June 1, 2009, 4:36 pm

    I preach to my clients that remotes benefit the station more than they benefit the advertiser. It's just a reason for the station to be seen out in public. Give away some t-shirts and mugs to people they hope are diary recipients.

  • Jim Thomas June 2, 2009, 6:56 am

    Good Heavens! “Real” testimonial ads are enough of a pain in the patootey. I’m glad to work for a company that doesn’t believe in “faking it” for testimonials.

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