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More radio cuts, but weekend programming remains golden

Amid radio cuts weekend programming remains strong

Amid radio cuts weekend programming remains strong

I was preparing to blog about the continued programming impact of January’s 1,850 Clear Channel layoffs. Now, another 590 full-time employees are gone, 3 percent of the radio giant’s workforce.

Sadly, I have found my segue. For PR professionals who pitch radio, however, the machinations of both the previous cuts and the latest round create some potential opportunities.

As I blogged earlier, it’s not uncommon for radio stations, especially in this economy, to switch from local morning shows to nationally syndicated ones. Despite the lack of local flavor, PR professionals can usually find a producer who takes pitches on news, events and promotions that might air during the show’s designated breaks.

With these latest cuts, Clear Channel is playing a new game: they’re taking relatively unknown DJs and airing their programs on multiple stations across the country. For example, WBCT-FM evening host “Broadway,” who originates from Grand Rapids, Mich., has his 7 p.m. to midnight show heard in such diverse markets as Milwaukee, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Raleigh, N.C., and Hartford, Conn.

These new, multiple-market on-air personalities like Broadway often do nothing more than play music. That’s it. They tend to be on the air during work hours and in the evening, which means Clear Channel stations are moving toward becoming unpitchable during those hours.

Clear Channel’s new game means new rules for PR pros. How do you pitch locally to an ever-diminishing locally-programmed station? Try the weekend shows.

Weekend programming is a mixed bag, but it is almost always local and full of shows looking for someone with a great pitch. This is where you’ll find public affairs programming, part-time DJs, and even program directors who like being on-air, but can’t manage a full-time weekday shift. They need the help of PR professionals.

Is it a PR goldmine? Well, don’t think goldmine. Think more panning for gold.

–Jeff Peterson

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