Far from killing it, the Internet is giving radio - and, by extension, radio PR - a whole new lease on life.
Distributing ANRs or other material to radio news teams has been a lot easier, thanks to the use of Web sites and e-mail, and audio simulcasts have given radio stations many more potential listeners than ever before.
More recently, though, podcasts posted on corporate Web sites or third-party sites like iTunes have allowed PR firms to target clients' customers more directly. Radio has always been somewhat of a "fragmented" medium that targets specific audiences, says Larry Thomas, COO of Medialink, and podcasts are simply an extension of traditional radio.
"Because of radio's ability to target, and its mobility and ease of production, unlike conventional TV, radio has always had the key attributes to inoculate itself against the supposed threat of the Web," he adds.
Jack Trammell, president of VNR-1 Communications, notes that ANRs or radio broadcasts that might previously have been one-time deals can now live on as podcasts, and that corporate clients are only now beginning to realize the benefits of podcasting for their PR initiatives.
"Clients are thrilled whether they get 10 downloads or 1,000 downloads because in their minds it's found money," Trammell says.
The ubiquity of iPods and other digital media players, as well as the potential for cell phones now to also play podcasts and other types of audio, is a big benefit for radio PR firms, who are now in growing demand for their radio production skills. Telling a story through speech rather than words is a particular skill that print journalist PR specialists may lack, notes Joe Balintfy, communications director at North American Network.
"Not that it's rocket science - anyone can create a podcast - but now that people are getting so many podcasts, the content has to be interesting," Balintfy says. "The way the program is put together has to be compelling enough for people to keep listening to it."
The Internet has made distribution of radio PR easier, and it has greatly expanded the potential audience for radio in general
Podcasts help PR clients directly target audiences and extend a message's life
The particular skills required to create radio news reports or other audio content has led to new business for radio PR firms