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Dec 05, 2003

How to Become a Guest Star on Radio's The Advertising Show: 5 Pitch Tips

SUMMARY: 'The Advertising Show' airs weekly in 13 markets across the US including Chicago and Houston. Want to be a guest star? Find out how in our exclusive interview with show Co-host Brad Forsythe.
Brad Forsythe, Co-host
The Advertising Show
6363 Woodway Drive
Suite 300
Houston, TX 77057

Audience: Airs in 13 markets nationwide including Chicago and Houston from 2-4 pm Eastern time. Also streamed online:

->Forsythe's background

Forsythe started in the radio business fresh out of college in the '70s, then went to work in advertising. He worked for an international ad agency, then in 1983, he launched his own firm.

"We just passed our 20th anniversary, so I've been the principal of an ad agency for 20 years," he says.

His combination of radio and advertising experience -- along with a rather caustic wit -- make him a natural as co-host of The Advertising Show, a radio program focusing on advertising, media, marketing, sales, and customer relations.

-> Current editorial coverage

The weekly, two-hour live program covers "anything and everything about advertising, marketing, new media, and product placement," says Forsythe. He particularly likes to run cutting-edge stories on ideas and trends new to the industry.

Listeners run the gamut from advertising/marketing/PR professionals on the agency side to client-side listeners to "entrepreneurs of mom-and-pop shops selling shoes," he explains.

The show generally features an interview with a single guest in both the first and second hour of the show. Occasionally, though, two guests are invited on the show to talk about a specific topic from two different angles.

For a show on product placement, Forsythe explains, they had someone from a product placement company in the first hour, followed by an expert from a company that measures the value of product placement in the second hour.

-> The best way to pitch Forsythe

Forsythe says he's not picky about how he receives pitches. You can contact the show via phone, email, or snail mail. Here's how:
Call the show and leave a brief description of the guest idea you have. Let him know the topic of the show, the guest's experience, and why it's appropriate to his listeners.

The show has a dedicated phone line that nobody answers, specifically for these pitches (particularly useful if you're new to pitching and nervous about speaking to a real person): 713- 273-6575.

Send an email to associate producer Stephanie Ceritelli at Again, keep the pitch brief, describing why you think the particular person would be a great candidate for the show.

Snail mail
Send press materials to:

The Advertising Show
6363 Woodway Drive
Suite 300
Houston, TX 77057

Include a bio, a review copy of the book (if the person you're pitching is an author), and of course a pitch letter.

"I have no preconceived notion of how (the pitch letter) should be written," says Forsythe. However, make sure it's geared specifically toward his show. "Frankly, you'd be amazed how many people don't have a clue, they don't get what we do," he says.

-> What Forsythe looks for in a pitch

"We're looking for high-profile industry leaders that are, if not best in their class, certainly one of the top individuals in their particular area of specialization or interest," he explains.

Guests are an eclectic mix: recent interviews include: Kenneth Roman, former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide; David Bushman, curator of the Museum of Television and Radio; Brad Chiet, Composer/Producer, Fuel Music; and Robert Bly, Business Author & Consultant extraordinaire.

They are all "high impact people who demand high dollars for speaking engagements or rarely do interviews," Forsythe says.

Forsythe shared 5 tips for getting his attention with a pitch:

Tip #1. Listen to some archives on the Web site.
Then, make it clear in your pitch that you understand the show's content and audience, and that the guest you're pitching is relevant.

Tip #2. Don't be self-promotional.
"If it sounds like it's all about getting the word out about a particular guest or book, they don't get on our show," Forsythe says. Take a broad view about your topic rather than narrowing it down to showcase yourself and your abilities.

For example: Someone who's the CEO of an Hispanic marketing firm would pitch the topic of multicultural marketing, not the topic of why you should use a multicultural marketing firm.

"Anyone who doesn't understand that is either new to the business and doesn't understand how it works or they'll get out of that business soon," Forsythe says.

Tip #3. Current trends rule.
Look at current events and trends in marketing/advertising. Angle the pitch so that you're representing an expert point of view regarding those current affairs.

Tip #4. Take "no" for an answer.
If you're told the idea is not quite right for the show, take them at their word. Don't continue to push your ideas. By making yourself a pain in the neck, you lose the opportunity to impress Forsythe with different pitches later on.

Forsythe recently received info that "catered to a different audience than our market," he says.

The associate producer responded that the guest wasn't appropriate for the show. The PR person called the Show and insisted he speak to Forsythe, then sent an email to his personal account and continued to pitch.

Finally, Forsythe sent back "a nice note" explaining that the guest being pitched just wasn't appropriate for the show but that he'd welcome info about other clients.

"But the truth is I was just being nice to the guy," he says. "When a person goes over the top and won't take no for an answer, they've identified themselves as being a problem down the road."

Tip #5. Don't leave him hanging

One PR person pitched a guest as an expert on a particularly narrow niche. The guest appealed to Forsythe, but he thought it warranted a second interview to approach the idea from a different angle.

He asked the PR person to speak to the client about who might be appropriate for the second half of the show -- and never heard back from her.

"I left the door open for her to get back to me, and not a word," Forsythe says. "I can't believe it."

-> Favorite professional publication

Advertising Age magazine. But of course, Forsythe acknowledges, he has to say that: they're the sponsor of the show. Seriously, though, "As far as a traditional publication, I have always read Advertising Age long before our show was a show and I do believe it would be considered the Bible of the industry."

He also regularly reads the Wall Street Journal.
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