What Happened to the Remote?

| July 22, 2013

The poor, abused programming/sales tool still can work well in sports talk 

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON — The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airways, particularly from talk radio.  And for logical reason too.  The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location.

However, there is a place for the commercial remote broadcast to flourish… in sports/talk radio!


Yes, they are done there, but usually badly.  As a sales rep, how many times have you been to one of these when all you could hear on the showroom floor was the echo of your own footsteps? The general result under these circumstances would be a baleful look from the sponsor who had laid out all this money for a non-exciting event, and the station would never see another dollar from him.

Challenge Number One is the remote broadcast where the program host remains in his studio talking sports and fielding calls. Then once every half hour or so, he switches to the remote location where a second or third string voice does a sixty or ninety second report or mini-interview with the sponsor’s sales manager.  Terrific radio! (Ahem.)

Challenge Number Two is the broadcast where the program host is actually at the remote location talking sports and fielding calls and every half hour or so he does a sixty or ninety second report or mini-interview with the sponsor’s sales manager. Terrific radio!!

Challenge Number Three is like Number Two except it’s from a restaurant  where the sports show host interviews a waitress who reads the menu. More terrific radio!!!

I’ve heard these.

What is so sad is that there are ways to spice up these remotes, make them enticing and impress the advertiser.  In a remote from an auto dealership, it would be rare, if at all, if some listener would show up and buy a $40,000 car. Nice, but not a practical goal.  But offering a free oil change to the first ten people who appear would get some lookers.

There isn’t a business that doesn’t have some kind of “doo-dad” to give away.  And in the sports/talk field tickets to  big games are a major inducement.  But the listener has to show up to be eligible.

Doing the remote is not enough, however.  It must be promoted in advance as a major happening. Win tickets! Meet star pitcher, Fasty Zippo! Get autographs! Pose for pictures!  Ten percent off while the broadcast is on!

Drawing a crowd makes everybody happy.  The program host who saw visible evidence that more people are listening than the same six sports nuts with not-so-clever nicknames who call daily. The sales rep who perspired until folks appeared at the door. The advertiser who acknowledged that it was money well spent. The station management  which noted a positive addition to the bottom line.

It all comes down to imagination, creativity and planning. Especially in sports/talk radio the broadcast remote can live and be a fine sales tool.

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Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a marketing specialist for TALKERS magazine.  He can be phoned at 941-708-6520 or emailed at h-and-h@verizon.net.  Meet Al Herskovitz at TALKERS Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10.

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Category: Sales