Insider Tip:
Radio producers love guests who are able to handle phone calls from interested, but sometimes contentious, listeners. Consider people in your organization who can present information clearly and concisely without getting rattled. If you have someone who is a great storyteller, even better.
Talk radio
   Talk radio is becoming increasingly popular and can provide a good way to get your message across to the community.
   Consider these statistics from the Radio Advertising Bureau:
  • Americans average about three hours of radio listening per day.
  • Two out of three Americans listen to radio during prime time.
  • Radio is the first morning news source for most people.
  • Seventy-seven percent of all adults can be reached through car radio.
   Talk radio is just that - talk. It's not a lecture and it's not news. Audiences tune in, researchers have found, because they value the intimacy, immediacy and anonymity of talk radio; they are looking for personal information and often respond to advice and on-air counseling. Both listeners and callers tend to personalize their relationship with the host, as if they were a friend or co-worker.
   Talk radio can be an effective tool for sharing information about child welfare. Consider the issue of child care. Working women in your community may have concerns about availability of services, costs and other issues. They might welcome the opportunity to talk to an objective expert who could respond to their questions.
   To secure a spot on your local talk radio show,follow these guidelines:
   Contacting talk radio - Listen to the talk radio shows in your area and determine which ones would be receptive to you and your organization and which have the desired target audience. Remember that talk show hosts and their listeners have children and grandchildren. They may be very interested in the expertise you could bring to a show. Write or call the host or news director and present a brief description of your issue or program, along with biographical information on yourself and any others who would appear on the show. (It is a good idea to have two people on to field questions; one can be thinking while the other is talking.)
   Remember, you're on the air - Be prepared with a brief statement of the issue or program you are discussing. Personalize your talk with anecdotes or an example of a child your program has helped. This will hook listeners and humanize your issue.
   When to use talk radio - Talk radio can be especially useful in responding to a current local or national crisis. For example, when a national network airs a segment on abuses in child care, local agencies can use that as an opportunity to speak publicly about what is working in their communities. Radio is also a good format for promoting upcoming events. Invite your community partners to share the spotlight and emphasize local collaboration. Or invite a guest speaker conducting a training for your staff to share his/her expertise on local talk radio. Small community stations are often strapped for cash and might welcome the chance to feature an expert at no cost to them.
   Radio coverage of events - Radio stations can also do remote broadcast from events that you sponsor. Talk to the community affairs or promotions person at your local radio station in advance to explore the possibilities.

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