It is ironic that the medium that was developed such a long time
before TV should be the element of broadcast media which has such
innovative options to offer marketers.
The PR industry has flirted with radio for some time but as a whole it
appears a little distrustful of its power because with the freedom of
content comes what can be perceived as lack of control over the messages
This can be the case if you do not know how to effectively work with the
medium to broadcast desired messages in the most ’radio friendly’ way.
Those messages must be of value to the station, the listener and the
It should always be remembered that radio is a secondary medium. A lot
of people within the PR industry interpret this as meaning second class
but what it really means is that people listen to the radio while they
are doing other things: getting ready for work, driving, cooking,
brushing their teeth or lying in the park on a hot day. This allows
brands to market their services while their target consumers are doing
those things that will make them more receptive to the message.
No other medium has such a hold over its audience or can hold its
attention for so long regardless of the output at any one time.
Radio is a very personal medium with the majority of listening taking
place while people are on their own. Monday to Friday, without knowing
it, each individual has a regular listening habit - radio has a brand
loyalty that is second to none.
As the relationship between station and listener is one of trust, so
must it be between station and organisations that intend to work their
programming, whether it be for a half-hour or for a year. Only with that
trust can you ensure that everyone is getting the most from radio.
What is most misunderstood is the fact that radio can create a brand’s
character, not just a brand image. The value of having a presenter talk
in a positive manner about something is immeasurable. Radio allows us to
use our own imagination to form a deeply personal visual image and
perception of a brand unmatched by any creative.
There are over 240 radio stations in the UK, each with its own viewpoint
on the world. Relationships have to be built with presenters, producers
and programme controllers, so that the resulting impact of a story or
promotion is maximised.
Most PR Week readers will know about ISDN interviews, outside broadcasts
or audio features and will certainly have been introduced to the highly
charged world of promotions, but all of these things are subject to
constant change as the industry develops at high speed, making it
essential to keep up to date with developments.
’Insert your brand here’ marketing does not work on radio anymore. In an
increasingly aware and crowded marketplace you must not pigeonhole radio
into interviews, competitions, promotions or sponsorship, but embrace
radio as a whole to develop the most effective strategy for the brand in
question. In order to do this it is becoming increasingly necessary to
consult with experts within the industry.
There are a plethora of opportunities within radio that the PR industry
has not yet been exposed to and this is an issue that must be addressed
if PR is to take full advantage of the medium - the challenge is to
maintain the knowledge of the changing industry and to be prepared to
move forward with it.
Howard Kosky is managing director of the Market Tiers.