Different Types of Station Contact
Reaching radio hosts (for the purpose of trying to get booked for an interview) can take on various forms, depending on the type of station the show is done at. What's best? All of them at the same time, of course. But since that's cost prohibitive for almost any guest, you have to pinpoint what will do an acceptable job for an acceptable price.
Personal contact with prospective hosts is always the best, done by either by the guest or the booking person. These personal visits are usually only possible in the hometown of the guest or booking person, since radio PR campaigns just don't charge enough to pay someone to visit stations nationally. (Interestingly, high-level music airplay promotion campaigns DO charge enough for personal visits. ) Regardless, if there is ever a chance to meet face to face with a host, do it. . . they will never forget you.
The telephone is the big equalizer in booking interviews. Most radio interviews are booked on the phone, since you can reach every host in the country, and, since hosts are big phone-people. Plus, radio people are used to being hit with calls from music promoters, syndication promoters, equipment salespeople, audience calls, etc. Two things about the phone, however, . . . you have to hit the hosts at the right time (especially music-station morning crew hosts/producers), and you have to sound good doing it.
Printed ads in radio publications are used by a lot of people who are trying to book interviews, and while these ads do generate “some" calls from smaller stations, I'll go ahead and say that an ad's purpose is not so much to generate calls as it is to build awareness (much like a billboard on the side of the road just builds awareness. ) These printed “trade" ads certainly do have a use, but I just would not rely on them to make your phone ring.
Ads on radio websites are even a bit less useful than printed ads, as far as awareness-building is concerned (and certainly as far as generating calls is concerned. ) It has something to do with radio's fight over the internet for streaming, artists, banner sales, etc. Regardless, radio does not take things seriously that are presented via banner ads ONLY. However, if you have a great site, adding a banner (that links to your site) as part of your phone campaign makes good sense.
Email contact is good for college stations and music-directors at community stations, but it is very weak at convincing commercial stations on FIRST contact. Once they know you, however, email is a good tool to get booking-times and dates across. Email has to be pin-point to the person. . . personalized and all. You cannot send one email to a list of people. . . they will never respond, and they will block you.
Fax is most certainly just an image builder (like a billboard), and not a booking tool. Getting your guest's point across in a fax (if used by itself) usually never works since it never gets to the right person. And you can't send it multiple times to the same fax machine, since that would not be welcomed.
Postal mail is a bit better than fax, as far as getting to the right person is concerned, but the cost involved, along with the proper-addressing hassle, makes mail prohibitive except for simple postcard-type image builders, or when mailing a book or book-cover is really needed. A nice thing about mailings is that you can target several guests with multiple pieces, mailed in intervals so that you don't fill up the receptionist's desk with your stuff.
Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an independent radio interview promotion company.