Thursday, March 4, 2010


A couple of good friends were telling me last week, remotes are dead, in general and at their prospective stations. I knew these were going to die years ago, we kept sending out carnival barker air talent with a shabby van, card table with tent that never went up right and nothing to giveaway. We expected clients to keep buying these broadcast remotes with no ROI. An account executive at a major market Country station said her clients are not interested and most of all agencies. Agencies, the ones that would schedule remotes for their clients and we would go to the remote (without the AE) and they had no idea why were there on a store level, with the manager.

My own personal opinion: We never gave them what they ask for. AE's hated remotes for several reasons.

  1. They had to give up a Saturday morning.
  2. They made no money off the remote.
Another problem, we never knew the real reason for the remote until we got there - Had we known the local high school was putting on a car show, the student's mom cooked up free hot dogs and there was a $500.00 prize for the winning car. We never knew about this and it was never pre-promoted. This is managements fault for not making the AE's find out everything they could about the remote from the client. I have done these remotes and I ask "Why didn't we know about the car show". The AE usually responds with "This was through an agency and the manager didn't tell the agency rep." OK, these are out of our hands. Sales shot themselves in the foot with this.

Now onto how we screwed it up - The most inane breaks ever. The jock on the air say: "We are gonna be checkin in with Chuck Geiger at Bowles Dodge next, he's got great deals and free hot dogs." Ouch - It's like a bad news anchor tossing to a reporter in the field and the story sucks. Stop the hokey cross plugs and just let the event happen in a natural way. Then comes something I would never say - "Come on down and say hi". The client is paying the radio station for this dribble. We have a beat up table with stains on the table cloth, broken, ugly equipment and we are talking on the air on a cell phone.

We did some of this to ourselves. This day in age with a dis-association between the audience and the radio station, we should not do remotes or they should be big events with a pay off for the people attending. The air talent need to speak in a distinct, knowledgeable style about the client's product. They need to just appear on the air as a commercial break with out fan fare. Work with the client and find a better way to enhance the on location remote. Do a remote and record the breaks, play them back as production parts of the client's new ad campaign. This will keep the m on past a remote, if they are new business. Do a video remote on the web site with the client. Big important point: For any Country station to deliver a successful client-listener based event, you have to have a connection to your audience. And for god's sake, no more set-up people eating at the broken card table.



  1. Other terrible aspects of a remote:
    *Come on down and meet ME!
    *Air talent talks on phone or with station interns while listeners are ignored
    *Car salesmen wanting to glom the prizes

    Ah, but what a great way to make $300 for 3 hours!

  2. I've seen guys doing a remote with a cell phone, or some funky outdated box that half the time mal-functioned, or Martis, we had some big dope of a kid who drove the marti right through a jack in the box with the antenna mask still up, an hour before an all-day remote. Then there's the earth-dogs that are the core remote fans, "where's my prize"?

  3. Remotes require a great hook to draw a crowd...Just saying come on down and say hi and get a free hot dog doesn't work anymore. In fact it hasn’t worked for a long, long time! I turn down remotes unless the client comes up with a good hook. Because it won't work for them or us! But if you “create” an "Event" with several different elements happening at once, your remote can turn into a great ROI for your client and make the station look like the Star! In the Summer time when we do remotes I invite the local High School cheerleaders out to do a free car wash at the remote. Everyone benefits, the school gets donations for car washes, the station offers listeners free car washes, plus all the parents come to the remote to support their kids and get a car wash as well. (It also works with School bands). Now you have a built in crowd and your remote looks fun and crowded! You also have to have a great hook to get people there.


    “This Saturday Morning at 10, join us at The Ford Store in Laughlin, take a test drive with Craig Powers and his horse Tyrone and get a pair of free movie tickets to see the number one movie in the world "Avatar in 3d" and free lunch at In & Out burger. Plus Ford has 0% interest for 5 years and a $3000 rebate on for K-Flag listeners today!!! If you need a car today is thee day to get one!”

    Now you have insured a successful remote because you have made it worth your listeners time by giving them something of value... Tickets to the hottest movie in town and tickets to one of thee best burger joints around as well. Plus, you personalized the test drive by adding your station personality in the car doing the test drive with the listener! (Record the test drive and turn into a spot to sell to the client after the remote) Listeners love this! (Because we are so close to the product, we tend to forget about doing the small personal things that listeners really appreciate like above).

    Remotes still get results and sell product for me and our 6 stations. But you have to plan, engineer, entertain and insure your success long before the promos even start! Don't just take the clients money and do some call-ins with no draw or special hook. The client won't use your station again and they'll tell everyone your station doesn't work! Do the opposite and come up with ways to fill the clients remote with people before the remote starts!

    Check out our Facebook page KFLG 947fm for pics of our events, remotes and parties with huge turnouts! One of last events “Girls Day Out” drew 3000 women! But we create these events, we don't just show up and say come on down and see all the great furniture at Don's Furniture! Those days were gone in the 80's!

    Be your clients “Marketing Manager” not just their sales Rep, DJ or PD!

    Craig Powers
    Cameron Broadcasting VP

  4. I'm a former radio guy who did a ton of remotes. THE REAL VALUE was the the event itself...was there something exciting worth going to take a look. Since radio I have launched "Radio Parties" we create a fast paced, high energy MOBILE DJ show on site with a host who promotes what is going on, on-site. NO radio ads on cell phones...a fun, engaging DJ who interacts with the crowd and creates a fun event. The price is affordable for any $4000 dollar remote/advertising package....just $500 bucks for 3 hours that attracts a crowd and keeps them on site for longer periods of time. A real ROI value for retailers. We have done over 30 Macy's events, 50 Fred Meyer (Kroeger) events just this year. It is so cool...many of our station clients, hire us to satisfy their clients needs and forget about the expensive non-productive "Remote".
    Ric Hansen

  5. The Radio remote purchase is still a thing of value. The client generally receives a good stack of mentions that have real value. They usually have prime positioning in all of the stop sets for those hours. The "street" exposure for many stations still means something in this era of zero marketing dollars. In my market stations are doing free bar remotes with jock talent the only cost. Street Cred? Good for everyone right?