How to contact media
If you are still an
opener but get the club more butts-in-seats than the headliner,
Guess who might be headlining that club the next time around:
Radio Show Host/Media PR Consultant who gets clients more free media publicity,
asked this question on the LinkedIn.com discussion group Step Into The
Spotlight! Monday, September 16, 2013:
"Do you contact media
If so, where do you have the best luck getting featured?
Internet Radio, or Podcasts?"
I replied Thursday, September 19, 2013, around 3:30 pm PST . . . a bit
Selling yourself during interviews with radio, TV and newspapers:
An hour later, Wayne drew me out with his reply:
Hey Jim, comics are always a toss up on radio -
they are either amazing, or they are terrible.
Never an in between.
Sean Morey (the Man song) is a fantastic interview.
He's on...and it loves playing along with radio.
My funniest comedian ever was a rodeo clown.
I had no idea this interview would turn out like it did.
He saw us laughing, and just turned it on.
But yet he let us control the interview.
An hour-and-a-half later, I got around to finally answering Wayne's original
Back in the day, we did mostly radio stations, both
FM and AM,
smallest and largest stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For my stand-up comedy workshops,
I'd take a few students into the studio with me and
the rest of the class would call in from all around the USA.
We took our cue from KSRO's morning DJ Jim Grady who died 2-13-2013:
He wrote out his jokes before the show on 5" x 7" index cards:
•easy to shuffle around the material,
•and no wrinkling paper which (as you know) can sound like a fire breaking out
in the studio!
So, I always urge students and clients to lay out their jokes on a table top,
whether doing call-in shots or in the studio itself.
We developed quit a library of our radio and TV shows
by making doubly sure that we always got recorded by
1) asking the station to record it, plus
2) having 2-3 students or friends record it over the air from their home radios or TVs.
So, current students/clients have plenty to study from the past successes
and goofs of those who, as the bard put it, had gone:
"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead."
—Henry V, Act III (1598)
When I moved on and began producing about 1,000 professional comedy nights throughout
I was taken aback by the number of professional headliners who were "uncomfortable" with radio interviews.
So, I made it optional since a comic with a negative attitude can subtract butts-in-seats instead of adding to attendance.
The exception that proved the rule was a young Kevin Pollack,
well before his movie credits:
Kevin contacted the local radio stations, including KSRO, without any urging
on my part.
He also left a very funny message on my answering machine,
doing an impression of Woody Allen calling me to nervously
"inquire about getting some lessons."
From this experience, I strove to train both my students and professional clients
to take a much more aggressive attitude toward self-promotion.
Those who did learn how to sell themselves to radio listeners & TV viewers
•experienced much success on the national radio and TV scene,
including David Feldman:
and Ross Shafer:
David and Ross both got their own radio shows & won TV Emmys.
By the numbers, for several years I had a Saturday night comedy show in Santa
Rosa, California, with an average attendance of 185.
David broke attendance records: 275 = SRO (standing room only).
This, by plugging our show on San
Francisco's "Alex Bennett Show," Monday-Friday, 6-10 am,
Alex later came to the club twice where I introduced him from the stage.
He has gone on to host a weekday radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio channel "SIRIUS Left 127" and
XM Radio's "America Left" Channel 167.
He now hosts a video podcast "Great American Broadcast" on Livestream.com
weekdays from 10:00 am until noon Eastern: http://new.livestream.com/alexbennett/events/2192414
I had been a stage and film reviewer for a few years already.
So, moving on to write stand-up comedy reviews (1977-1979) for local newspapers
the San Francisco Sunday
Chronicle Datebook entertainment section
gave me insights into what the press and the broadcast stations really wanted
from comics on the air.
Matching that insight to properly formatted Press Releases and Public
Service Announcements went a long way toward getting media gigs where we
could plug our live shows:
"Always make it easy on your audience" translates to
•"Research what the big newspapers, magazines, radio & TV
stations are looking for in their regular copy."
•Never make them re-write the copy you send in, or you will lose ink.
Well, that's part of the story anyway.
Just a simple, country comedy coach
More on successful media interview preparation and execution here:
You can also follow the "Do you contact media for interviews?" discussion
on LinkedIn.com, and even join in:
•Get in touch:
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Mill Valley, California
last updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 9:12 am PST and Friday, March 7, 2014, 7:07 pm PST.
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