Radio Publicity Secrets

DSCN1141If you are an author, would you like to publicize your book on the radio at no cost to you? It’s not as hard to do as you might think. A broadcast radio network distributes programming to multiple stations simultaneously or slightly delayed. For example, EWTN distributes its programming to about 225 independently owned and operated radio stations. These stations accept the network programming free of charge and add local programming as desired, often no more than an hour or a couple of hours a day. The local talk shows are in constant need of new topics, interesting topics to discuss. This is where you may find an opportunity to publicize your book, if you are an author.

It is virtually impossible to join the EWTN network programs unless you have a significant public platform already. However, it is quite easy to get on the local talk programs if you go directly to the host of the program. How do you find him or her? Well, first decide just what type of network you are interested in researching. Is it a commercial, non-commercial, public, or a religious network? The subject matter of your book dictates the type of network or station you should investigate. My books are about early Christian history so obviously I am interested in Christian radio stations. (There are at least thirty Christian networks and a couple thousand Christian radio stations.) Once you know the type of radio station you are interested in approaching, you may short circuit your work by seeking to know the network supplying the programming. This allows you to access the list of affiliate radio stations served by the network. Now you have a list of local stations and can pick and choose which you will approach.

I like to select a station based on location. That is purely a personal decision; I could just as easily select a station base on the alphabet. Next I use the internet to find that station’s website and a list of its programs. Usually, it is fairly easy to distinguish between the network programs and the local programs. The local program always identifies the host of the talk program and the subject matter in which he or she is interested in discussing. That is the best person to query. If the station’s website offers the host’s email address, that is an indication of easy availability or less competition for access. Those hosts who are least likely to be interested in your book or organization do not have an email address on the station’s website. In the latter case, they often ask you to telephone the producer to explain why you would make an excellent guest.

In this past week, I was on radio stations in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Saginaw, Michigan; Naples, Florida; and Washington, DC. I never left my house. In each of those stations I was on the air being interviewed for almost fifteen minutes by telephone. Folks–that’s a long time to be describing your book. It means you must be prepared with a spiel that explains why you wrote the book, what expertise you possess, and how the material in the book is going to brighten your reader’s day. It’s not hard, go for it.