When mapping out a radio media strategy, many PR practitioners are finding that ANRs are much more effective for a short, simple message that has to get in the media quickly.
"When an issue is relatively straightforward, it's a natural for an audio news release," says Lynn Harris Medcalf, EVP of News Generation. "ANRs have a quick turnaround time, about 24 hours or less if necessary. A radio media tour usually takes around 10 business days for an optimum lineup."
The choice can also depend on the company's spokesperson, says Michele Wallace, SVP of client services at Medialink. For highly media-trained spokespeople, RMTs, with days of back-to-back live interviews, work well and garner a lot more visibility. However, spokespeople who are not skilled at live interviews can be edited and polished in a 15-second ANR sound bite.
With so many variables, it is often the story itself that determines how agencies decide to get out the message. For example, a spokesperson discussing hurricane disaster preparedness could target hurricane states using an RMT. But a general disaster-preparedness story, encompassing everything from fires to earthquakes, would work well as an ANR.
Cost is another issue. ANRs are cheaper in many ways, says Starr McCaffery, principal of Sound Solutions.
"It can be more cost-effective for me to manage the ANR production process - even with its related out-of-pocket costs - than individually pitch a number of radio stations, programs, or networks," she notes.
A final consideration is control. With an ANR, the news is packaged in a 60-second script, and the message is clear, says Kate Corcoran, an account executive at Articulate Communications. ANRs also allow clients to keep within their legal parameters.
"This allows the message to be delivered in the exact way the company chooses," Corcoran says. "With RMTs, you take a bit more of a gamble. Naturally, some interviews will go very well, and the client's message will be loud and clear, but with other interviews, the message may be a bit more muffled."
ANRs are more useful on a tight deadline, when the spokesperson's time is limited
Agencies can save money in production and time by using ANRs rather than media tours
The message is more controlled in an ANR. During media tours, reporters can get off track or guide the interview in other directions