Satellite radio boasts niche audiences for healthcare

Satellite radio didn't just give Howard Stern fans a way to tune in to the shock jock after he left terrestrial radio. The two major providers of satellite radio also have given healthcare PR pros a valuable way to reach niche audiences.

Satellite radio didn't just give Howard Stern fans a way to tune in to the shock jock after he left terrestrial radio. The two major providers of satellite radio also have given healthcare PR pros a valuable way to reach niche audiences.

Nick Ragone, SVP and director of the New York communications media strategy network at Ketchum, says the trend with satellite radio mirror the broader trends in media.

"With blogs, online sites of traditional media, etc., they all have more original content, and it's becoming more and more specific," Ragone says. "That's the whole trend. Satellite radio offers so many programs, it's just been an unbelievable growth opportunity for PR people to find."

One such avenue for PR pros involved in healthcare is Life Love & Health, a 90-second health program that is embedded within ESPN, CNN, Fox, and other networks' satellite radio shows.

"When a product is released, there's sometimes a reluctance to do serious advertising," says Chris Springmann, executive producer of the show. "We do all original interviews and work hard to provide a real informative and fun show. I would say we're generally considered part of people's marketing and communications mix."

Not only is the show a unique way for a client to reach consumers and raise awareness of a particular disease, procedure, or health issue, but it also provides clients a chance to speak to people going about their ordinary day. In addition to being broadcast on the satellite programs, the show is played on Wal-Mart Radio in its stores.

PR pros have pitched the show on issues their clients would like to see raised, and Springmann says it's increasingly an effective way to reach the general public.

LuAnn Sodano, VP of media relations at KEF Media, has approached the show to do stories on diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraines.

"There are so many programs out there; the reach is getting larger every day. I think you'd be foolish not to include satellite programs in your communications plans," Sodano says.

Key points:

Satellite radio can help you find programming to fit your clients' targeted needs

Some shows are carried across a number of satellite programs and can help get your message across to a variety of audiences

Pitching programs like Life Love & Health can be an alternative to paid ads

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