How Charlie Sheen’s Use of Talk Radio Demonstrates the Medium’s Influence over Everything Else

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Have you noticed how Charlie Sheen has quieted down? It’s not that his public meltdown has slowed or that he’s run out of things to say. It’s just that he isn’t saying it on radio anymore.

I was actually surprised when I realized that Sheen’s daily presence in the news wasn’t just from his tweets or his videos that he posted online, but rather his radio interviews. The meatier comments the media used for their stories about Sheen actually came from his constant calls to national radio shows like The Dan Patrick Show, The Alex Jones Show and a wide variety of morning shows in different cities.

In fact, Philadelphia’s Wired 96.5 FM station – recognizing Sheen’s penchant for phone-in radio rants – flew a banner over Sheen’s house inviting him to call the station. He did and another news cycle ensued.

The interviews then fueled more tweets on Twitter and provoked TV and print outlets to seek out Sheen for other interviews. Now does that mean I’m saying that a public meltdown in radio interviews is a good PR strategy for drawing attention to your message? Of course not, but make no mistake, talk radio was the fuel behind his media engine.

And that’s a lesson that should not be taken lightly and it proved one thing that advocates of other, more technologically-driven media, seem to want to downplay: people are still listening to radio. They are listening to radio and paying attention to what they hear. That’s why I feel very strongly about the value of talk radio as a key component of any well-balanced media campaign.

A good radio interview can fuel social media, because it gives you something to tweet about. It also works well in conjunction with print coverage and appearances on local and national TV, because it provides a longer form format for your message. Whereas an article may only be 500 or 600 words or a TV appearance only 3 to 5 minutes, a radio interview can run anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the show and how interesting you are to the host and the listeners.

What I love most about talk radio is that it provides a forum for guests to demonstrate their expertise in their field, making them attractive to customers, clients and also decision-makers from other media outlets. It’s also the one place in which they can communicate their message in their own voice, in their own tone and their own words – unedited – to listeners within the range of the radio show’s signal. If it’s a syndicated show, their message can be heard nationwide.

So, if you’ve been thinking about doing PR, be sure to include radio as a key venue for your campaign. People are definitely willing to listen to you, if you’re willing to speak to them.

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