How to Get More Mileage from your Remotes
Let’s learn some tricks of the trade from two masters of live remote broadcasts, James and Morris Carey hosts of the weekly home improvement show On The House. I asked the brothers for their best advice on how to ensure a successful remote. James and Morris agree, “it’s lots of advance planning, good broadcast equipment, a great engineer and a highly visible location. It helps to have great advance promotion too, on-air and in print.” They suggest good on-site promotion and fun incentives that bring people in like free eats, balloons for the kids, drawings, spinning prize wheels and other creative attention-getters.
Live remotes can boost your station’s image and deliver results for your clients if they’re well planned and executed. Advertisers pay big bucks for a remote broadcast because they want you to build traffic and move merchandise. The Carey brothers believe building traffic is as easy as giving listeners a reason to visit. Moving merchandise calls for a consistent sales pitch repeated frequently. James says “make it fun! It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Make the experience fun for yourself, your team, your audience and your clients. Everyone will walk away a winner!”
Less is more! Don’t confuse people with too much stuff. Be sensitive to your crowd and present products that will most appeal to your listeners. Know your audience and cater to them. Have good signage and be clear about what your product or service can do. Too many words and too much information can confuse people and turn them off. Offer incentives such as a gift with purchase, purchase discounts, free estimates, free in-home visits and other complimentary services.
Talent should always dress the part. The days of showing up for a remote in torn jeans and a Greatfull Dead tee shirt died with the final season of WKRP in Cincinnati. At minimum, dress business casual with a high-quality polo shirt embroidered with your station logo. When James and Morris take their national radio show on the road, they wear their trademark bib overalls. The bothers have about twenty pair in a variety of bright colors. I asked James and Morris what they do to stand out from the crowd at remotes, their answer, “hands down, it’s our bright-colored bib overalls. That’s ALWAYS and attention-getter! Beyond that, we are entertainers and we love what we do. We love to engage people and have fun with them.”
Are your promotion interns still hanging those tattered banners you traded out with a local printer ten years ago? Update your banners and signage frequently and customize them when you can afford it. According to James and Morris “they’re a must-have for any successful remote or event. Come big or stay at home! Stay away from banners and fonts that are too small and require the viewer to be three feet away to read it.”
Make sure your talent doesn’t bail immediately after the remote broadcast. Encourage them to press the flesh, kiss the babies and pass out plenty of compliments. Most people respond well to kindness and attention. Make people feel special. As James and Morris put it, “stick around after the remote. Don’t be in such a hurry to pull your ‘Elvis has left the building routine.’ Keep in mind that the people coming out to see you are the reason that you are there. More often than not, they are responsible for your success and they appreciate it when you go the extra mile and stick around to answer questions and interface one-on-one. Look people in the eye, shake their hands, ask their name and thank them for listening.” This is an opportunity to make a lasting impression. If listeners are still dropping by to meet the talent, don’t disappoint them.
Meet Your Audience Face to Face. Don’t let your talent waste an opportunity to be memorable. Make sure the talent’s name appears somewhere people can easily read it, preferably with their face next to it. Even better, have talent photos that they can autograph and hand out. Better yet have someone from sales or promotion taking photos of the talent standing with listeners that can be printed instantly, then signed. Fans will be more likely to hang onto a photo that has them standing next to their favorite host.
Leave a lasting impression on everyone who attends your event, especially your client! And don’t let the talent forget to thank everyone, on the air and in person before they head home.
James and Morris Carey do a lot of high visibility remote broadcast throughout the year including industry trade shows, sponsor events and for national charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. They also offer a unique service exclusively for their affiliates. On The House with The Carey Brothers is one of the few nationally syndicated shows I know of that offer affiliates live remotes in their market at no charge! The do ask stations to cover the expenses of the broadcast and travel, but they don’t charge a talent fee! You’d be surprised at how many small stations are able to take advantage of this money-making opportunity. You can learn more about how radio stations put On The House to work for their listeners and their sales departments by clicking the link below.