Growing your local radio show or podcast through terrestrial radio syndication to reach a wider audience can be a personal and professional satisfying endeavor. Once you have decided to embark upon that journey, let's unfold the road map (literally) and decide which radio markets to approach first.
Sure, many syndicated radio shows want to be heard in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Chicago. Yet, very few start in these markets and we believe there are plenty of opportunities for a syndicated host to be successful within 500 miles of their home radio flagship without ever having to extend beyond. Understand the criteria radio managers use when selecting syndicated radio programming and you will grasp how your radio show could hold more value to these programmers than those being offered by the big-box networks.
There are three reasons a radio station will choose to pick up a syndicated show.
Content that is difficult to replicate. Does your show offer something an affiliate radio station could not easily produce on their own? That could be a particular expertise or area of knowledge you possess.
Celebrity or VIP host. More nationally known figures from outside of radio’s traditional boundaries have made their way onto the syndication landscape. Examples include Dennis Miller, John Walsh, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Mike Huckabee, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Geraldo Rivera and others. That is not to mention the current crop of syndicated personalities that have parlayed their radio careers into national stardom—Ryan Seacrest, Dave Ramsey, Rush Limbaugh, and more.
Ratings track record. Stations seek assurances that a syndicated radio show will perform well on their radio station. Programs that have demonstrated an ability to generate ratings in other markets are likely to produced comparable results elsewhere.
Typically a newly launched radio program is able to claim the "unique content box", but checking off the ones pertaining to celebrity and ratings are yet to be achieved. So, how does a newly syndicated host compete in this environment while establishing his or her program as a credible alternative to the status quo? By adopting an approach that we refer to as Flanking Syndication. Side-step the box and compete with the big-box!
In business, Flanking Marketing is an indirect marketing strategy aimed at capturing market segments that are not being well-served by one's competitors. Flanking Syndication is the development of radio programming which offers difficult to replicate content customized for a regional radio audience. For example, a regionally syndicated business talk program can flank a more established national show by tailoring its on-air conversation to the regional business environment. Mention regionally based industries, companies, and business leaders. A regional home improvement radio show is well equipped to flank a national version in the same way. That regional show has an opportunity to discuss regional building trends, appropriate materials for area weather, regional growing seasons, and more. A regionally relevant positioning statement and localized on-air references completes the package and establishes your show as a credible alternative to nationalized programming.
As you build your regional radio network, another nice thing happens. Your show becomes a perfect sponsor vehicle for regional advertisers with a similar marketing footprint. Flanking Syndication now puts your show in a position to effectively attract these advertisers who are seeking a cost efficient targeted advertising vehicle.
Given the industry's economic environment, radio stations will continue to rely heavily on syndication for quality programming. The inherent challenge within that reliance is to balance programming costs while filling a station's on-air roster with quality locally relevant programming. Flanking Syndication provides that relevance while offering a radio station the economic benefit of syndication. Successfully implemented, Flanking Syndication offers a host the opportunity to become a regional expert in their field yielding professional notoriety, career satisfaction, and a strong personal income.
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