brrrrrrrr

Oh the weather outside is
frightful…   I just logged on to
weather.com and it looks like the entire country is purple, red or blue.  And that means blizzard, freezing or
hazardous conditions. 

As I left the office for
lunch here in beautiful downtown Bethesda, MD, I began to wonder when North
Face became the parka of the people? Me, dressed in my very warm sheepskin jacket,
came face to North Face jacket about every five feet. This is Bethesda, not
Vail and I’m headed to work, not on a double black diamond run. 

By the time I got back you
could have tossed me into a tumbler and swirled me around with the rest of the
ice cubes. I’d head down to Miami to visit my former home at WINZ Radio, but
it’s about 40 degrees there and everyone thinks it’s freezing, too. Not exactly
swimming weather. 

While the temperature
continues to drop and we are treated to even more delightful freezing rain, I
remembered something. I like work even more when it’s nasty out.  I have no problem with the snow, unlike the
other DC drivers. My 4-wheel drive car provides the piece of mind I need when
the grinning weather guys and gals are calling for 12-24 inches. I think their
serotonin levels go up whenever they sniff some “unusual weather” headed our
way.

I must admit though as a Public Relations person I do love to watch the
weathercasters. This is their 15 minutes of fame. They’re in their glory. They
lead the news then come back for their extended segment and then get to promo
the news again.  And while, I’ll bet
nearly 75% of them don’t have a degree in meteorology, they do have good hair
and they know how to banter. They also have their Doppler radar, golden snow shovel
and satellite photos from Mars.

The moral of this
story?  Why venture into five degree wind
chill when I can go voice a PSA or
bang out some copy for a radio
promotion
in a well-heated office where there’s plenty of coffee and
snacks. Throw another log on the fire, grab a cup of soup and grilled cheese
and settle into your desk. Stay warm.

EAT & GREET

For the past five years what
news angle have PR pros tapped into
the most?  Obesity.  Headline after headline about the “fat Americans.”  It’s made the papers, radio and TV.  It’s gotten such great press it’s even triggered
a whole reality TV craze with shows like “The Biggest Loser” and “Dance Your
Ass Off.”

The message has come across
loud and clear, Americans are fat and unhealthy which can cause Diabetes, heart
problems, etc.  So, with all the air time
why don’t these campaigns actually succeed in fixing the problem?  Why do most Americans still choose the donut
over raisin bran or Whoppers over grilled chicken? 

For me, it’s about one
word:  comfort. It’s all about the
comfort of a muffin and piece of crumb cake at a breakfast business meeting – the
comfort of a cocktail and plate of fried calamari on a date – of food for 100
at a Thanksgiving table that seats 12.   It tastes good and gives you something to
do…a filler, a prop.

Eating fries and Mac & Cheese
is more filling and less expensive than steak, spinach and a baked potato so in
these lean times the lean have turned soft. And, while schools have tried to make
school lunches healthier by banning soda machines in favor of milk, it’s not working
all that well. And college?  Forget
it.  The freshman 15 is now the freshman
25. 

So what’s the answer?  I think, given my PR background, it’s all
about measurable results.  First you have to understand you’re
overweight and then you need a goal and some action items.

If you want those extra
calories, balance them with the gym.  As
you start to get healthier, feel better and see results, you start eating less
on your plate. It’s win-win.  And weigh
yourself daily or weekly so you always know the score. 

And the Holidays?  Give yourself a pass for a few weeks and then
stick to your New Year’s Resolution.  Too
many folks give up by February.

Listen, I’m no
preacher.  I’m a NJ native in love with
huge, greasy slices of pizza from some hole in the wall with Tony Soprano
eating in the corner booth. But, along with my pizza comes an IOU for 45
minutes on the treadmill.  And I always
try to pay up. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Tiger Tale

Down,
Tiger.  Who knew?  When you set yourself up as a choirboy, the
fall is that much steeper.

I
knew from the start that Tiger wasn’t going out for a carton of milk at 2:30 am
and that his wife wasn’t practicing her golf swing.

Superstars
just have a different set of rules than the rest of us and the temptation is
there. If you’ve got a Pepsodent smile, are the best golfer ever and make $100
million a year, there will be no shortage of women around you at any given
moment.

So
now that he’s been caught, the big question for Tiger isn’t what’s next for his
personal life or will his wife stay with him. 
The real concern is, what do his publicists do to repair the damage and
return the prince of the links back to his throne?

I
was interviewed
this morning on this topic and here is what my 20 years of expertise in video
and radio PR experience tells me.

Tiger
needs to go on Larry King and Oprah, look us in the eye and show us how sorry
he is.  But, that doesn’t mean we’re not
tired of the good wife that stands by her man and community service as ways to diffuse
guilt. 

David
Letterman got out of his jam (at least for now) by half-joking about the his
“office affairs” with the audience.  He
was lucky and masterful in what he did. 
But, Tiger blew it from the start by not being honest. Can you imagine
having a two and a half year affair and not thinking someone would rat you out?

Did
Tiger wait too long to come clean to save himself with the public? I don’t know
how. I do know Tiger Woods has lots of good will in the bank and at some point
the media frenzy will die down.  But, for
now, the media has Tiger in their crosshairs and they have very itchy trigger
fingers.

While
this has been the worst thing that’s ever happened to Tiger Woods, it is probably
the best thing for the PGA. I’m guessing the whole world will be tuning into
the very next tournament Tiger decides to play in.  Who knew golf was so sexy?

 

How do you maximize radio placements?

"There are many ways to maximize audience reach and impressions on radio,” says Joan Carrese of zcomm. 

When pitching Radio News Releases and PSAs, customize your story to each market.  “zcomm researches and includes statistics in pitches to localize stories and, whenever possible, uses a local spokesperson to add a credible, community angle,” adds Carrese.  Stations across the country prefer stories with a local newshook. 

If you are targeting multi-cultural demographics, such as the Hispanic audience, produce both and English and Spanish language release for stations in markets with large Hispanic populations.  And Spanish language outlets are pitched less than general market outlets, so they are more receptive to news releases, interviews, PSAs, podcasts and radio contests.

For Radio Tours, send an audio clip of a dynamic spokesperson with a written pitch and when appropriate make sure the stations are streaming your interview on their website for value added.  Take advantage of a great spokesperson and produce a series of audio Podcasts about your message to download on aggregators on the web, in addition to a client’s website. 

Finally, remember to personally pitch often and pitch well.  “A short, informative and newsworthy personal call and email increase the odds that a media contact will like your message and say yes,” says Carrese. 

How can I optimize my Satellite Media Tour?

"You’ve heard all the noise about the FCC crackdown on SMTs – and it’s true,” acknowledges JoAnn Mangione, vice president of zcomm, Bethesda-based broadcast PR firm.  “However, a little tweaking of our approach to SMT planning can still reap the big audience numbers.”

First, put your money where your mouth is – invest in a well-known spokesperson and stick with health, entertainment, topical issues and non-profits.  Topics related to special observances such as American Diabetes Month, are helpful as are charity tie-ins.  Full disclosure is very important; so build trust with producers by telling them up front who is sponsoring the SMT.

Use your studio time wisely, don’t forget to incorporate radio bookings between TV interviews to pump up audience numbers and think about extending the length of the tour to increase station participation.  Finally, repurpose the interviews by creating a series of videopodcasts and/or audio podcasts.  Consider streaming part or all of the interviews on your website, and on related or partner websites and make use of viral marketing.

“An SMT is still a smart media tactic,” say Mangione.  “Let stations know your awareness of the FCC’s regulations and give them what they need to be comfortable airing your client’s message.”

Why are spanish language radio stations more receptive to broadcast PR?

Hispanic households will soar to over 13 million by 2010, controlling almost $700 billion in personal income by that time.

As the Hispanic market continues to rapidly expand, more clients are looking for effective ways to tap into this affluent community.

zcomm founder and CEO Risë Birnbaum says radio stations are more receptive to broadcast PR tactics than general market stations.

“The reason,” says Birnbaum, “is that Spanish language stations are still not getting the volume of pitches that general market stations receive, and if you pitch a topic or issue that’s important to Hispanics, they’re definitely willing to listen.”

For example, finance, housing, immigration, pharmaceuticals, cars and food and beverage and consumer products are all of interest to Hispanics.

“But to reach them effectively to book an interview, radio news release or PSA, you have to be on the same wavelength,” adds zcomm’s Birnbaum, “and that means using a PR professional who not only knows Spanish but also understands different dialects.”

Another way to reach the exploding Hispanic market is to use bi-lingual spokespeople and book them on both popular Spanish language and general market stations in markets with large Hispanic populations such as Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas.