Radio goes places other media cannot. It reaches 77 percent of consumers daily and 95 percent of consumers weekly. Radio talk shows are an important way to disseminate your coalition’s messages because the opportunities are plentiful and these programs are always seeking interesting guests. In North America, there are approximately 460 national radio talk shows and more than 5,100 local talk shows. In a recent survey, approximately 30 percent of radio producers said they are interested in booking guests who can discuss specific, topical issues.
Contacting Radio Producers and Hosts:
How to contact radio stations: To explore opportunities to appear on a radio show, contact the producer or program director. These individuals usually select the show’s guests, especially at larger stations. At smaller stations, hosts are often their own producers and should be contacted directly. If you are reporting, pitching or commenting on news, introduce yourself to the station’s news director, assignment editor or individual reporters. Demonstrate your value as a knowledgeable resource who can quickly provide information, verify facts, offer quotes, suggest additional contacts and help analyze news events.
Target Drive-Time Radio
Drive times (6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.) are excellent times to reach large numbers of listeners, particularly to comment on breaking news.
Finally, the station manager (along with the program director) usually determines the station’s editorial policy and selects topics and guests for commentaries. Develop a relationship with this individual by sending suggestions for opinions, a copy of an op-ed or a brief written commentary that could be appropriate for the station.
Deadlines depend upon the story, but the following times are standard.
- Editorials/ PSAs: Produced two to four weeks in advance
- Talk shows: Lead-times range from one to two weeks
- News shows: "Day of"
Top Five People To Know at Radio Stations
Station manager determines editorial policy. This individual selects topics and guests to present opinions and commentaries.
Producer and program director will direct you to a talk-show contact or host if your story is of interest.
News director has overall decision-making authority for how the station covers news events and issues.
Assignment editor generates story ideas, often with talk-show producers or the news director and finds local angles and features to add variety to the newscasts.
Reporters cover stories on location.