Last week one of the Production Guys reached out to me for some creative assistance with a local politician that he feels very strongly about and is trying to help in her bare bones campaign. (“Bare bones campaign”; sound familiar?)
Politics was a whole new thing for him and he was stunned at the resources and research they bring to the battle. “It’s like Arbiton/Nielsen provides the PD’s. They know where the votes are, who different precincts lean towards, who is on the fence, where there needs to be a big push.”
Kind of like how we’ll see Zips Of Opportunity™ and will flood them in search of some diaries or meters.
It’s a lot…wait for it…like fishing. Minneapolis is a lake of 2.8 million fish. We 1500 want of them. Would we stand on the shore and cast at the lily pads or go out with a massive net and try to scoop in as many as we can, hoping we get the prized trophy fish that insure we keep our jobs as fishpeople?
And like any lake the fish are all over the place but as Radio People, we tend to focus on the higher density areas, forgetting that in the 13 county metro, places like Wright and Isanti and St. Croix and Chisago all have meters hiding but stations tend to focus on Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington and Dakkota because, well, that where the majority of people live.
I had a life altering experience when I was 16. Her name was Dana and it has nothing to do with this narrative. I had another epiphany moment when I was a young van driver and for a Friday night football patrol my Mr. Miyagi, Tom Gowan, sent me out to Hutchenson. “Hutchenson? That’s like 60 miles from here,” I whined. “We don’t want people who live 60 miles from here listening to us? Everyone ignores them. Throw them some love and they’ll remember it,” said Tom.
So I went out there and was swarmed when I showed up at the game. The old dude manning the barricade let me in and started talking about Boone & Erickson had come out for something or other in 1972…13 years before my journey to the heartland. He remembered it as if it was yesterday.
The British used to call it “showing the flag”. They would send their biggest and most impressive warships out to the furthest colonies to sit in the harbor, be seen, create some colonial “top of mind” and then sail off.
We do that at a lot of the stations I consult. On a regular basis, we try to hit some of the far flung areas of the surveyed areas, hoping to snag a diary or meter or two. Just go out to six or seven smaller communities, park in front of the high school, hand out some stickers, go through the Hardees drivethru at lunch. Just basically be seen.
And it works.
Yes, they’re two entirely different methodologies but you still don’t want to fall off these people’s radar. Dave Ryan at KDWB in Minneapolis will once a year go and do a week of shows on the road. And, because he’s smart, he goes and hits these places. If he did his show at Starbucks near the U, it would be big and 100 people would show up. Do it at Kodiak Coffee in Forest Lake and it looked like Woodstock without all the acid and skinny dipping. He made “fans”. Fans are good. Fans will tune him in regularly because they met him, he’s nice, he’s genuinely friendly and now there’s a face to the voice.
And if some faceless company asked them to wear a pager….you don’t think they’d remember that? He shook their hand. He won their vote.