Marketing On Radio


Dave CongaltonThis past week has been busy. To gain visibility for my latest Zack Tolliver, FBI series novel Canaan’s Secret, I took a guest spot on two radio shows, one a blog talk radio show and the other an old fashioned over-the-airwaves local radio show live in a studio.

The effectiveness of both for my purposes remains to be seen.

The shows were a day apart at the same time of day, both live. My interview lasted an hour on the on-line blog radio program (the other guest never arrived) and about 25 minutes on the over-the-air talk show. Both hosts are seasoned interviewers.

Why radio? In a way, it is the forgotten social media, yet with a strong continuing following. Many programs today are pre-programmed and pre-recorded. Still, live over-the-airwaves talk shows maintain a following from commuters and traditional listeners. There are fewer such studios, but they are hanging in.

My chat on a live radio talk show, the Dave Congalton Show, took place in San Luis Obispo in a studio located in an industrial part of town. The studio itself is the one you see in movies with the ball-shaped tilting mic hanging down in its double-barred stanchion like a large ice cream cone. It had two guest stations at a slim desk, each with earphones and microphones. My host, Dave Congalton, sat across from me with his side consul of many buttons and monitors.

Live studio interviews present their own form of nervousness. The unfamiliar environment, headset and volume control, and rapidity of the interview (telephone interviews have natural pauses to prevent overlap). The posture, seated with lips close to the mike, forces one to roll eyes downward to see notes on the desk. Because of the tendency to “freeze” it is suggested to guests they write important names and numbers down on an index card. It doesn’t take long to adjust to all this, however. The big advantage? The resulting sound, in the hands of the sound engineer, is always perfect.

Not so with on-line call-in radio. Here, the sound quality is dependent upon a number of factors, such as the phone the guest uses, the equipment the host uses, the quality of internet at either end, and so on. I have been on shows with echoes like those in a stadium, volume difficulties, crackling noises, and fellow guests with their phone volume too low. There is one clear advantage, however. When calling in from home, all reference materials are at hand.

But again, how effective is radio for my marketing purposes. Of course it is difficult to measure. My words disappear off into space. Unlike a large marketing firm, I can’t send around poll questions, nor is there data to analyze such as Amazon provides. There is a certain element of hope. If I were to see a wave of sales within in a relative time following the show, I’d consider that a statement. So far, I have not.

Regardless, radio shows are a unique and (yes) fun way to talk about the product. It is good practice for tuning an “elevator speech”. And who knows, one of those far flung seeds might take root.

I have included a link to both radio shows. Enjoy.

Blog Talk Radio/Red River Radio: Host Barbara Hodges

Hometown Radio with Dave Congalton Show: Host Dave Congalton

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