Recently, I spent an interesting week on the road for business. From the thrill of seeing the new and unusual to the agony of losing my wallet, I had a lot to talk about — for better and for worse.
For the first time in ages, I actually felt like getting behind a microphone because I had real stories to tell.
When was the last time you took your show on the road? Sitting in a studio without the occasional excursion can become routine and lead toward a “sameness” in approach. It’s not too late to plan now for your 2017 radio tour broadcasts! Here are a few thought starters.
How often? Once per quarter for a major live-on-the-road broadcast is enough to leave an impression on your regular listeners. In between, getting the show out once per month locally is certainly worth scheduling.
Who goes? Morning shows are the best vehicle for road tripping. The audience is accustomed to hearing more chatter in the morning and will totally enjoy the character development as the on-air team describes what’s taking place. If you have a team of four, I say go for it and take everybody. The more people on the trip, the greater the likelihood that the shared experiences will be compelling.
What is your purpose or premise? While these on-the-road shows do take a great deal of planning, it’s much easier if you’re wrapping the broadcast around a concert, cultural festival or other major event. Because you have a pre-planned theme, it’s easy to describe during pre-promotion and at the actual broadcast (like the Super Bowl, the CMAs, the Grammys, Bonaroo, etc.)
It’s also likely that at huge events, you will have better access to celebrities. I have also heard of and participated in many broadcasts from fun vacation spots.
For example, you could spend two lovely days in Cleveland at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, describing the museum and the city, talking with people who can tell stories about inductions, or pre-recording some phoners with inductees. Follow the stars to Los Angeles and spend a day or two sightseeing and celebrity-seeking in Hollywood. Or search high and low in Philly for the best cheesesteak in the world.
Part of the fun is your team simply laughing about the previous day’s events and telling tales about how the show members have been dealing with each other. Regardless of where you go, record sound everywhere to use in the show and take pictures and video for social media and your website.
Who pays? While it takes effort, it is quite possible to obtain local advertisers to sponsor your road trip. Think outside the box to devise an unusual sales package that includes mentions in all pre- and post-promotion.
How about creating a contest during which one lucky pair of winners gets to join the trip? Listeners can register on your sponsor’s website or by text messaging an entry that generates a bounce-back coupon from the sponsor. Provide bumpers in and out of breaks during the shows plus live reads; you might even bring along the sponsor and his/her spouse to watch the broadcast and bond with your team.
Another approach is to trade the biggest expenses of the trip such as hotel, air and rental cars. If you work for a big company, maybe a pal in your destination’s market will actually let you run trade on her airwaves — and you’ll return the favor someday.
Three tips before you travel: 1) Take a picture of your driver’s license and store it in your email. 2) Leave that extra credit card at home. 3) Don’t lose your wallet!