PR pros should be tuned in to radio's multicultural appeal

Radio is becoming an increasingly popular way to reach multicultural audiences, as PR pros realize the potential of the often-underused medium.

Radio is becoming an increasingly popular way to reach multicultural audiences, as PR pros realize the potential of the often-underused medium.

"As PR pros, we're always looking for ways to cut through the clutter," says Cheryll Forsatz, group VP of Mediamixx, a division of MWW Group. "Radio is so great [because] it's highly targetable, highly segmented, and it's a low cost with high returns."

David Henry, president of Telenoticias and NovoMedia, says that the highly targeted aspect of radio, especially in Hispanic and urban markets, makes it a good choice for PR people.

"You really can target your message to that population," he says. "So it becomes much more focused and a much better vehicle from which to reach the market. Chances are you'll then produce materials [specifically for that] culture and it will make sense for the market, as opposed to trying to create something so broad that it's going to reach everyone."

Another reason radio is especially effective in targeting multicultural audiences - particularly Hispanics and African Americans - is that those groups listen to the radio more than the general population. According to Arbitron, the average American listens to radio 20 hours per week, but Hispanics spend 23 hours a week doing so, while African Americans listen for 22 hours.

Information from Arbitron makes is easy to target multicultural audiences, says Susan Apgood, president of News Gene- ration. "You can look up pretty easily and find out how the market's broken down," she adds.

Henry notes that Hispanic radio's explosion - Arbitron reports the number of Spanish-language stations has multiplied by 10 in the past 20 years - makes radio impossible to ignore as a medium to target those audiences.

While traditional radio PR tools, such as ANRs and RMTs, will work for multicultural campaigns, Forsatz notes that Mediamixx has sometimes taken a different approach: targeting DJs.

The firm helped McDonald's publicize its Monopoly game with a radio promotion last fall after research showed it wasn't resonating with the Hispanic and African-American markets.


Key points:

Hispanics and African Americans listen to more radio than other Americans

Hispanic radio stations have experienced explosive growth

Radio allows for a more targeted message

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