Peace Love & Sillyness

Writing for Radio and Television

Posted on: 11/30/2010

These notes come from ch.9 in Public Relation Writing and Media Techniques

  • radio reaches about 94% of adults over 18 on a daily basis
  • local television news still attract about 150 million viewers on a daily basis

Radio

  • radio lacks glamour, so it’s not always the first medium PR professionals think of when planning an information campaign
  • on a local level it is a cost-effective way to reach large #s of people in various demographics
  • it is the only mass medium that can reach millions of Americans as they commute to and from work in their cars
  • approximately 13,500 radio stations are on the air in the U.S.
  • about 2,000 stations now have an Internet presence
  • Different stations have different formats, such as: “top 40” (for teenagers), all-news stations (for commuters), classical stations (appealing to older & better-educated groups), etc.
  • for radio news releases, write in all UPPERCASE LETTERS and double-space & give length of release

Audio News Releases

  • aka ANR
  • a simple approach is for someone with a good radio voice to read the announcement
  • preferred length is 60 seconds, including a soundbite of 20 seconds or less
  • should accompany a sound tape with a script of the tape
  • producing ANRs is rather cost-effective, but you should still be selective about distribution

Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

  • defined as: an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest.
  • can be 60, 30, 20, 15, or 10 seconds long
  • submit multiple PSAs on the same subject in different lengths
  • adding sound effects can make a radio PSA more interesting
  • almost any topic/issue can be the subject of a PSA, but stations seem to like particular topics
  • “speak to the common man….make it as simple as possible.” – christine arbesu

Radio Media Tours (RMT)

  • a spokesperson conducting a series of round-the-country, one-on-one interviews from one central location
  • interviews are conducted over the phone with DJs, news directors, or talk show hosts
  • relatively low cost & convenience are the major selling points

Television

  • is the primary source of news, information, and entertainment for most people
  • almost as many tv stations (1,500) in the US as daily newspapers (1,532)

Video News Releases (VNRs)

  • more than 5,000 are produced annually in the US
  • large organizations seeking enhanced recognition for their names, products, services, & causes are the primary clients
  • a typical VNR costs a minimum of $20,000 to $50,000 for production & distribution
  • a basic VNR includes:
  1. consultation on story concept and news positioning
  2. production
  3. script, 1-day shoot, edit, & voiceover
  4. distribution
  5. distribution to newsrooms, satellite feed, & 2 days of pitching assignment editors to use it
  • standard length is 90 seconds
  • VNR package should include 2 or 3 minutes of B-roll (background pictures & soundbites)

Satellite Media Tours (SMT)

  • the television equivalent to the RMT
  • prebooked, one-on-one interviews from a fixed location via satellite of tv journalists and talk show hosts
  • started in the mid-1980s when companies started putting CEOs in front of tv cameras
  • today, SMTs are a staple of PR & the tv industry
  • a basic SMT costs $10,000 to $25,000

Talk Shows

  • there are now more than 5,000 radio talk shows in the US & more than 20 nationally syndicated talk shows and a countless # of locally produced shows
  • talk shows book guests 3-4 weeks in advance

Product Placement

  • often called plugs, are negotiated by product publicists and talent agencies
  • product placements have become a major part of the tv and film industry
  • should always be alert to opportunities for publicity on tv programs and upcoming movies
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