Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday Morning Meeting for January 20, 2010 Bobby KNIGHT

Crisis in Haiti: American Radio’s Lackluster Response

I like to call the 2000s, the decade of giving and caring.  Think back to your station’s response during the aftermath of September 11th and of Hurricane Katrina.  Just about every radio station was holding some sort of charitable drive on the air and on the Web.  Now in 2010, we have the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.  More people are expected to die in Haiti than in 9/11 and Katrina combined; more people are displaced, injured, starving, and thirsty than in just about all recent disasters combined.  Where is American radio?  Where is Country radio?  

Country radio’s audience is the most loyal and generous P1 grouping in America and we’re asleep at the wheel!  Every station should be putting together some sort of disaster relief drive in its local community.  And it doesn’t have to be the same old “canned food drive” or “radio-thon,” it could be the next generation of charitable giving that is sponsored:
  • Donate your old cell phone for earthquake relief.  Think of all the Hatians who are unable to communicate with family in the States.  Partner with a local call phone provider to offer free minutes on these donated phones;
  • Work with your local beverage bottler to bottle “water” instead of soda/beer and send to the Red Cross;
  • Do a “Pay-for-play” weekend and charge listeners $25 per request. Proceeds go to relief organizations;
  • Throw a “bikini” carwash where your air staff (guys included) do the unthinkable!
And, all these drives could be sponsored to offset cost for your station.  Sell a title sponsor, sell hourly sponsorships, sell the heck out of it. Just be sure that a significant portion of your proceeds heads to Haiti, not corporate. 

As always, I welcome your thoughts.  Please e-mail me: or follow me on Twitter @BobKnightAdMan  

Next week:  So, you have a Web site. So what. 

Bob Knight is Vice President, Advertising and Digital Media with Harrison Edwards PR & Marketing in New York and oversees the company’s advertising and HEdigital divisions, which include podcasting, webcasting, blogging; and print, electronic, and broadcast advertising and media buying. Prior to joining Harrison Edwards in 2005, Bob worked for some of the nation’s largest broadcasting companies, successfully developing programming in some of the most competitive markets including Chicago and San Francisco; his stations and shows were consistently top-rated.  In addition to Bob’s work as program director and on-air personality at AMFM, Inc., Clear Channel Communications, Citadel Broadcasting, Entercom, and NextMedia Group, he served as a consultant to Internet radio stations during the dot com boom. Bob’s national and regional radio commercials have won a Gold Clarion Award (AWC) and Gold “Big W” Awards (Ad Club) for commercials he produced. In 2008, Bob was named a “Rising Star Forty Under Forty” by the Business Council of Westchester and is a graduate of Leadership Westchester (Class of 2009).


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