A long-time friend of mine is a guy I brought into our firm years ago when he was still a young man searching for an outlet for his wit, charm and energy. I gave him one—PR.
Today he has a company that books clients on radio shows, but he says it’s driving him up the wall seeing former clients giving up on radio talk shows. The feeling is they don’t pull the way they used to, he said.
People today might be too ADHD to listen to talk shows, he said. They might have it on in the background, but they’re hardly listening as they are simultaneously tweeting, Facebooking, emailing and texting while eating and drinking coffee, all at the same time.
I’d give you his name but I don’t think it would be good for his business to be critical of his bread and butter, but he got me to thinking about talk radio in general whose audiences are aging and whose demographics undoubtedly are narrowing.
They range from extraterrestrial programming for nocturnal listeners a la “Coast to Coast AM” to prehistoric political elephants plodding around their respective center rings, pontificating “can you believe this, people.” It’s no wonder the Barnum and Bailey Circus is calling it quits with people already doing so much more at once than those plate spinners and jugglers, while occupying and wearing many more than three rings, including ones on their noses to toes.
I met my then young friend in Chicago back in the eighties when I was doing a campaign for Magikist, a U.S.-based, rug cleaner manufacturer and cleaning company that was acquired by my client at the time, Coit Carpet and Drapery Cleaners. Coit services was founded by Hungarian immigrant Lou Kearn who named his company after the Coit Tower in San Francisco. Lou built his company into one of the largest carpet and drapery cleaners in the world, even possessing the Royal Warrant to clean the Queen of England’s carpets and drapes.
Lou hired me to book their spokesperson Kathryn Crosby, Bing Crosby’s widow, on TV and radio
Shows like Joe Franklin in New York. Joe, who’s gone on to that radio booth in the sky, was a good friend and a great interviewer.
Our assignment was to promote Magikist in Chicago, a company notable for its large, flashing advertising signs, in the shape of luscious lips, which were a part of pop culture in the Chicago area.
So naturally we immediately conducted “The Most Kissable Lips in Chicago Contest” and thousands of women kissed postcards we handed out and mailed them in showing what luscious red kissable lips they had.
I know. It was corny, but it worked like Magikist. We selected a winner and we cleaned house with the publicity, which was awesome.
I’ll continue my thoughts about talk radio in future installments when I’ll have something to say about its current Lords of the Manor like his lordship Rush Limbaugh, his highness Bill O’Reilly and his conservative wing man Sean Hannity, etc.