Expert Columns

Station remotes give you the opportunity to connect with listeners and build face-to-face connections. And as part of those connections, you have the opportunity to start an ongoing conversation with them.
While you're talking with your listeners, why not ask them to say a few words on your behalf? Use your remotes to gather audio for upcoming events. Be sure to ask for:
1. Testimonials - Ask listeners for comments about your music, your morning show, favorite talents and more. You can always use listener comments for IDs, imagers, and promotions.
2. Donor Statements - If you're a non-com, make sure to build a bank of donor comments. You can use them in monthly fundraising appeals, on-air fundraiser events, or podcasts. Imagine the power of a listener asking other listeners to give. It adds credibility to your requests and adds a fresh voice to your on-air mix.
3. Podcast and social media interviews - podcasts provide extra time to discuss in - depth information. These can be used for long-form imformation.
4. Celebrity Liners - Are you partnering with local celebrities to host a community event? Ask them if they'll record a quick liner or thank you to participants.
Remotes and community events expose you to new faces and voices. Take advantage of these opportunities and build a bank of comments and testimonials you can use throughout the year.

Easter is over, Mother's Day is next, and you've got a lot of stuff on the calendar! How do you begin planning it all? Here's a short checklist to help make sure you've covered all of the key elements of Spring/Summer promotions:
1) Schedule. Promotions always take more time and work than you expect. So be sure to give yourself enough advance time to plan and prepare for upcoming events. Some things will always be out of control – your sales staff will always have a last minute surprise – but do yourself a favor and plan for those things that are in your control. Don't wait until the last minute!
2) Staff. As you plan, make sure you have enough available staff/street crew volunteers to work your event. Most of the time, you're the one doing the set-up/take-down work, but if you can schedule a couple of volunteers, do so. Oh, and keep your on-air team's schedules in mind. Planning a remote during the morning show guy's vacation will cause some friction...
3) Components. What do you need to run a remote or event? Think physical tools – awning, chairs, sunscreen, water, giveaways, station literature, permissions forms, and staff phone numbers. Keep a list handy so you can do a quick check and head out the door.
4) Contingency Plans.What will you do in the event of bad weather? What if a team member gets sick? Or...(I know this from painful, personal experience.  Just ask me about Wild Horse, Colorado, sometime) gets lost on the way to a remote? You probably won't need an elaborate plan, but at least have something in the back of your mind in case the worst happens.
5) Messaging. Know what you want to say during the event/remote. Ask your advertiser or host in advance about their taglines, sales, or specialties. Make sure your on-air team has the right info about the day's event. Keep info up to date on your website. And finally, know what message you want to leave with listeners.
6) Follow Up. What do you want listeners to do as a result of the event? Wear your station T-shirt? Visit your advertiser? Connect on your Facebook page? If you hold a drawing, what will you do with all the names you've gathered? Don't waste this opportunity! Include a “sign me up” check box on the entry forms so that listeners can get updates and newsletters from your station. (Just make sure they know this when they fill out an entry form!)
7) Cross Promote. The worst sin you can commit as a promotions person is to promote one event, one way, at one time. Always think of how to maximize your promotions. Even if you're just including a web address or Facebook/Twitter sign at a remote, use each opportunity to cross-promote your station and events. Cross-promotion will help you build connections you may otherwise never make. How can you make the most of these opportunities?
The key to a great promotion – whether big or small – is to jump on it. Make the most of it. And have fun doing it. This short checklist will help you do just that!

Mark Burnett is working a miracle. At least for network television.
The producer of “Survivor” and “The Voice” will lauch a brand-new TV series on Easter Sunday 2015. “A.D. - The Bible Continues” will tell the story of the Early Church, from Christ's resurrection to Cornelius' conversion. The series will air Sunday nights on NBC. “This is broadcast TV.” Burnett says. “Not cable. Not narrowcasting.”
Burnett is excited about broadcast television – not just because of his string of successful reality TV shows – but because of its audience. In 2013, Mark Burnette and his wife Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) co-produced “The Bible” - a mini-series that played to an audience of 10 million people on the History Channel. But that was cable. Narrowcasting. On broadcast television, that number could grow. And Burnett is committed to making sure people know about it. “We're going Super Bowl-level to promote this.”
I had the opportunity recently to attend a pre-screening of the first episode of A.D. (Full disclosure: I attended as a representative for Outreach, Inc. Outreach is an official partner to A.D., however, this article does not refer to Outreach's participation.) During the event, both Mark Burnett and Roma Downey spoke about the biblical emphasis of the series, and discussed why they think it will be a success. “This is a story as broad as the nightly news. As broad as the NFL.” Burnett told his audience. He explained that each episode is based on a story from the first ten chapters of the Book of Acts, and that the episodes combine Scripture and history. “We stayed accurate to Acts,” he says, “And the Works of Josephus.” Bible scholars and Christian leaders also combed through the scripts to make sure that each week's story kept to the truth of the story. But he stresses that some creative license was taken to help tell the story for those who may have never heard the Bible. “You'll see nuances that general audiences won't.” It's up to Christian churches, he says, to follow up and teach people the whole story. “Our goal is to funnel them in to churches. You can teach them the finer points.”
And that is, perhaps the miracle of A.D. Not that a TV producer is willing to stick to the script of the Bible, but that the Bible is being broadcast on national television. It's up to Christians, churches, and Christian media to seize this opportunity. “This is a big shift in our culture.” Burnett challenges his audience, “the door is opened.”
The A.D. Series will begin Sunday evening, April 5 on NBC, and will run for twelve weeks, wrapping up on Father's Day. The series is a quality production – both in storytelling and filming. The characters are believable. It is a powerful presentation of the Scriptures and is emotional and engaging. This is a great opportunity to reach our nation for Christ. I hope that you and your station will seize this chance and connect your listeners to this event and to the Greater Story behind this television production.

And we thought First Quarter 2015 was busy! Second Quarter is packed with opportunities to promote your station! Of course, this weekend is Easter, but it's just the start of several upcoming events. Keep these on your radar:
• Mother's Day
• Memorial Day
• End of the School Year
• Graduations
• Father's Day
• First Day of Summer
• Summer Missions Trips
• Church VBS Programs
What else in on your schedule? Make time this week and do three things that will help you get ready for all these events:
1) Update your promotion calendars. Make sure that you know the dates of key events in your community and that the staff is aware of what's coming up.
2) Make a list of promotional needs. Is it time to order station giveaways? Pens? T-Shirts? Water Bottles? Do it now. Don't wait until the last minute. Make sure that your remote gear is in good working shape and that the team has a box of stuff they can grab at a moment's notice to take advantage of those last-minute opportunities.
3) Make a list of copy/imaging/production needs. While your events change, your promotional needs don't. I take time to create a master template or list of basic tasks that apply to every job, no matter what it is: Social media sizes, copy needs, notes to designers. This helps me fly through basic projects, and gives me extra time to be creative.
The next few months are pretty busy, but take time to enjoy the work and have fun with all your promotions!

Is your station website mobile-friendly? Can station listeners and web users access your site on their phones and tablets? It's worth taking a few minutes to check.
Google has announced by April 21, “mobile-friendliness” will become an important feature in site ranking. The gist of the change is this: more people are accessing the web via mobile devices. Google is now using mobile friendliness in its search algorithms...along with fresh content, search engine optimization tags, and keywords.
Why is this important to you? Your station's website can do the “heavy lifting” for your online content. It's the hub that links out to social media, blogs, and information. While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the fastest ways to keep in touch with your audience, your website is “home base.” And your home base should be easy for listeners to search, find, and access.
Chances are that your site is already mobile-friendly. If you're not sure, ask your web team or test it at Google.com/Webmasters/Tools/Mobile-Friendly. If you have some work to do on the site, then take a deep breath and relax. Your site won't vanish on April 21. What may change is that your site won't rank as high in a search. It's your call whether you want to make changes to retain visibility.
Media use continues to change. Phones and tablets are our main communications tools. With these new tools comes new opportunity to share your content and message. Make the most of it!

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