Radio newsroom hierarchy, promoting authors, more

What is the hierarchy in a radio newsroom and whom should I target with my story pitches?

Pitching radio
What is the hierarchy in a radio newsroom and whom should I target with my story pitches?

In many large markets there are a number of roles, including news director, assignment editor, anchor, reporter, producer, and associate producer, says Martha Sharan, operations manager at News Generation.
 
In midsize markets, a news director may double as an assignment editor, while in small markets, the anchor may also be the reporter and the news director. “To find out who to talk to,” she advises, “check for a staff list on the Web site for the radio station you are pitching.”
 
If there is a full staff, go to the assignment editor first, who may tell you to contact the producer of the show or a particular reporter, says Sharan. And it's important to remember to not circumvent the newsroom hierarchy.
 
“If an assignment editor tells you ‘no,' you can ask if there is anyone else that might be interested,” she suggests. “If he or she passes on the story, however, gracefully accept the ‘no' and move on to a different station.”

Celebrities
What determines whether a celebrity is paid or not?

Celebrities are not usually paid for nonprofit PR requests as long as they don't have to perform or do anything that requires a great deal of time or preparation. However, celebrities are usually paid for cause-related requests when a corporation or brand is also benefiting from the PR or marketing campaign, according to Rita Tateel, president of The Celebrity Source.
 
“But there are exceptions,” she explains. “It may depend on whether a corporation or brand is sponsoring or owns the project.”
 
How the celebrity's name is being used is also a factor. “You could be paying big endorsement fees to a celebrity for use of their name on a Web site,” notes Tateel, “but in a press release on the site, a fee might not be required if a brand is supporting a cause that a celebrity sincerely embraces.”

Promoting authors
What are some tips for pitching authors for radio interviews?

Many producers and hosts won't consider authors until they've seen a copy of their book, explains Richard Strauss, president of Strauss Radio Strategies. “So pitching often requires a long lead to allow time for the book to be read or reviewed before a commitment is secured.”
 
To determine the right format for authors, Strauss emphasizes the need to research morning shows on music stations that include talk and being aware of segments that fit the subject matter of the book.
 
“If the subject matter is newsworthy, news-oriented formats can be targeted,” Strauss adds. “And many public affairs shows are on the lookout for authors.”

Finally, don't be afraid to offer producers a list of sample questions, he suggests. While some will read the entire book, others might skim bits and pieces and will appreciate input on key areas of focus.

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