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Nov 05, 2004
Interview

PR Interview: How to Get On San Diego's Inside Business Radio

SUMMARY: Are you a San Diego-area company with a CEO who needs a little on-air experience to flesh out his or her media training before hitting national outlets? Pitch your CEO for a 20-minute interview on the Inside Business Radio Show. Here's how:
Inside Business Radio Show KCEO AM 1000 Ben Rothwell 4250 Executive Square, Suite #700 La Jolla, CA 92037 858-550-2824 http://www.businessonair.com/new/main.asp

-> Reach

KCEO broadcasts in San Diego with a range from Orange County to San Ysidro and east to Pala.

Average age of listeners is 34-65; average household income $75,000+; and the station is considered San Diego's financial talk station.

-> Rothwell's background

Ben Rothwell is Vice President of Resource Associates Group, the company that owns the Inside Business Radio Show, and is responsible for lining up all guest interviews for the show, which is "pretty much a full time job," he says.

Rothwell enjoys the work. "It's the quality of professional people I get to meet and work with every day, the CEOs and the professional staff they have," he says. "It's not your normal job. Our listeners are the decision makers in the companies they work for."

-> Current editorial coverage

The hour-long show airs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, with two to three interviews during each show; each interview typically lasts about 20 minutes.

The show's purpose is to educate and inspire listeners. The host believes that the people who establish, own, and manage businesses and not-for-profits are entertaining; and their stories are inspiring.

Host Bob Ryan interviews owners, presidents, and CEOs of companies in San Diego and surrounding areas. "Our listeners like to hear from the person at the helm of the company," Rothwell says. "If they're a big company and have a story to tell that's interesting, we have them on and they tell us about their business, what it's like to run a company of their size."

Rothwell only lines up interviews with companies that have 30 or more employees, and prefers companies that have 50 or more.

Topics run the gamut, from recruiting, hiring, and training, to innovative technology that could change the way people live. Guests have included executives at the helm of Qualcomm and Petco, founders of DivX Networks, and CEO of Figure 8 Wireless.

-> Best way to pitch Rothwell

This is refreshing: Rothwell prefers to be approached by phone. "Call me old fashioned," he says, "but phone is quicker and I get a lot more done that way. It's a little more personal, and I get to know the person better."

Rothwell spends most of his day on the phone, in fact. "Because [guests] are presidents of big companies, it's hard to schedule," he says.

You can also contact him by filling out a form via the Web site, which can be found at: http://www.businessonair.com/new/contact.asp

-> What he looks for in an interview pitch

Rothwell wants top executives at big companies that are well-known in the San Diego area. Let him know what you do, how long you've been in business, how many employees you have, and what you'd like to talk about. "We want big, inspiring stories," he says.

There are 75,000 to 100,000 companies in the area, so Rothwell is not at a loss for companies to interview. However, with up to nine interviews a week, he's always looking for good guests.

That's good news for PR companies. Rothwell has relationships with some publicists who get their entire client base on his show. "I encourage PR companies to form a relationship with me," he says. Simply give him a call and let him know what clients you represent.

Once your client is booked, you'll be asked to fill out a questionnaire that asks some basic information about the client and their company, including the three most important areas of interest for the company, any awards they have won, product announcements or mergers and acquisitions, and anything they *don't* want to discuss.

(FYI: The form can be found at: http://www.businessonair.com/new/beaguest.htm)

Don't worry about providing a list of questions for the host. The questionnaire is all he needs, and the interview is a relaxed conversation. Guests don't have to do anything to prepare, and the publicist doesn't have to do anything to prepare the host.

-> Pet peeves

Rothwell hunts down interviews any way he can, by reading local newspapers to find out about companies to networking extensively with past guests and their employees. Whereas many members of the media become irritated by ringing phones, Rothwell prefers the phone to ring.

"Because I do so much of the calling myself, and it takes a lot of time, it makes it a lot easier when I get calls from people who want to be on the show."

-> Favorite professional publication

San Diego Union Tribune and the Wall Street Journal, among others.

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