Dallas News Radio Staff Talk Best Practices, FM Simulcast at Morning Event

August 19, 2010

by Andy Kehoe, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Dallas

Rick Hadley

Rick Hadley, News Director, WBAP

The Texas Public Relations Association sponsored a “Meet the Media” event on Aug. 17 at the studios of WBAP News/Talk 820AM & 96.7FM in Arlington, Texas. The featured speakers were Rick Hadley, news director, and Tyler Cox, operations manager. WBAP broadcasts a local morning news show, followed by a local talk show (The Mark Davis Show) and syndicated talk shows in the afternoon. In March, WBAP became the first news/talk station in North Texas to have an FM simulcast (on 96.7 FM). Here are some comments from the morning’s discussion:

  • When pitching a story idea, it’s important that the story will somehow relate directly to the station’s listeners, Hadley said. If it’s a national story, there needs to be a way to localize it for the listeners.
  • It helps to do some research on the station and its programs. If you are pitching interview subjects, don’t offer to send the author of a new “love advice” book to be a guest on the station’s political talk show.
  • If you have a story idea that is not time-sensitive, pitch it on a Thursday. This way, the story can hold until the weekend newscast when there’s more time for it to air.
  • When it comes to business news, they’re not as interested in things like earnings and product announcements as they are in stories that will directly affect listeners. “If American Airlines is building a new park in a depressed part of town, of if they make an announcement about having more legroom on flights, that is something we would probably cover,” Hadley said.
  • WBAP hardly ever runs PSAs. Instead, they prefer to incorporate that kind of content into their other weekly programs.
  • The station’s new FM simulcast was launched to attract a younger, more female demographic. “Most people only listen to FM radio. If you ask the average 20- or 30-year-old today, a lot of them won’t even know what AM radio is,” said Cox.

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