Forums » Friday Polls

Friday Poll: Your Thoughts on Remote Broadcasts

    • 1266 posts
    January 20, 2011 8:30 PM PST

    Happy Friday, everyone!  Here is this week's poll question:

    What are your thoughts on remote broadcasts? 

    Are they worth doing, or is the client better off putting his money into an ad schedule only? 

    If remotes are worth doing, under what circumstances?

    Looking forward to reading your answers!

    • 9 posts
    January 21, 2011 12:15 AM PST

    We have found that remotes are a great way to establish a rapport with the client and air talent. 


    So many of our advertisers are buried in stopsets and rarely ever acknoweldged by the air staff. 


    Since remotes create a relationship, albeit short lived, between the client and announcer, the client gets acknowledged throught the live promos, an added value feature that most advertisers are denied. 


    In short, the remote is a small buy, but can open future doors for long term spending for clients that are luke warm about radio advertising.  This is something that only radio can deliver as opposed to our biggest competitor...print. 

    • 1 posts
    January 21, 2011 5:33 AM PST
    remote broadcasts are a 1959 answer to a 2011 question.  if you are doing a remote broadcast at an event that has a built-in crowd (i.e. county fair; boat show; etc) then it's ok.  but don't park a DJ out in front of a pet store and expect people to come swarming in.  doesn't work that way, and hasn't in my 25-year radio career.
    • 83 posts
    January 21, 2011 5:36 AM PST
    I think a lot of the value of the remote depends on the personality who is going to be doing the remote.  If the personality is very popular and engaging, then a remote has the potential to draw a crowd.  Years ago one of our stations carried "Zippo in the Morning"(remember that?) from ABC Pure Gold.  We actually brought Jim Zippo to our market several time for a weekend of remotes.  We would draw huge crowds.  In todays world of voice tracking, however, it's harder to make that intimate connection with the listener.  I like remotes when they are at a large community event, but I rarely recommend them for an individual advertiser anymore.  Running a high frequency schedule will probably work better for the client and we don't run the risk of drawing only a few people during the remote, which can create doubts in the mind of the sponsor.
    • 1 posts
    January 21, 2011 6:03 AM PST
    I would rarely offer a remote broadcast to a new client unless it is for a Grand Opening at a high traffic location.  I suggest you offer a schedule 1st and once your listeners are familiar with your client and its location there will be a higher probability of success.  Make sure to set your clients expectations.  Many of them have high expectations of huge crowds and it doesn't always happen.  Make sure you do them at a zip code where you have strength.  Remind your client that even if your listener does not show during the day of the remote that the schedule did work and had an impact.  The biggest impact will be on those who are listening to the promotion at home who will show up next week or the week after.  Advise your client to bring in a popular personality from your station even if there is a fee involved.  Many of your personalities have a huge following and will follow them and their advice wherever they go.
    • 112 posts
    January 21, 2011 6:32 AM PST
    I agree with all of the previous comments to some degree. We still use a lot of remotes at our group.  I am careful to caution my clients that the remote itself is not enough to draw the customer. The offer must be there too. Grand Openings, Open Houses, huge sales.... all are good for remotes but the offer has to be good enough to motivate the customer to make the trip. A 10% or 25% off sale is not going to cut it. Our most successful remotes are tied in to station giveaway promotions so the "offer" is built in.
    • 58 posts
    January 21, 2011 6:51 AM PST
    Of course remotes are worth doing!! A fact that is often over looked about radio advertising is that most people respond to radio ads within two hours of hearing the ad(refer to RAB training).The reason a remote wouldn't draw a crowd would be the same as that of a radio ad not working. 
    • 3 posts
    January 21, 2011 7:06 AM PST

    I usually try to talk customers out of doing a remote unless there is a compelling reason for THEIR customers to come to their business... a new cellphone model or end of the month sale won't do it.  Our country station is tops in the market, and unless we have concert tickets to give away, or another great prize, it just doesn't happen.  Sometimes a grand opening works better, but there MUST be a real buy-in by the customer, as far as what THEY can bring to the table.

    • 135 posts
    January 21, 2011 7:10 AM PST

    My belief on remotes is that they are effective if done correctly. I think the client needs to have something going on. Some businesses do remotes for the sake of doing remotes.-- to be able to say " we are having the radio station here live". Those kinds of remotes, to me, are pointless. I would much rather see the client invest the dollars into more radio spots or a long term website ad. With that said, if they have a big event going on, huge sale, grand opening, etc...then I believe they ARE worth it.


    Here's an example of a great use of a remote in our market... I have a jewelry store that uses remote very wisely. We only do them around Valenties Day and around Christmas. We highlight one specific item during each remote break. More often then not, people will come in during the remote and say.. I want to see the item you just talked about. A lot of times he will "hide" an item from the DJ--say a HUGE diamond or an exceptionally amazing peice.. and show the DJ live on the air to get thier reaction. People will come in and want to see it.. with no intention of purchasing it.. just want to see the HUGE diamond we just talked about. Seem pointless? Not really.. it gets them in the door... most often the listener will at least look around out of That "looking around" often leads to a purchase!


    Now for an example of a horrible remote... We have a car dealer that no matter how much you tell them its not going to work they still do this... they schedule 4 or 5 days of a remote a day.... cook up hotdogs and offer a $5 Walmart gift card with each test drive. Thats it. No sale. No Special deals. Just want to have us there. People dont go thru the time and effort to test drive a vehicle for $5 at Walmart--heck that barely buys a gallon of milk anymore. They never ever have a good turnout. But yet they keep scheduling them. lol


     One thing I have noticed with remotes, at least here in our market, is that the businesses will often see MORE response after we leave. I think people are afraid if they come during the remote, we are going to put them on the air. So I always make sure to tell my clients this fact. Then there's no room for disappointment during the remote if no one shows up.


    • 6 posts
    January 21, 2011 7:14 AM PST
    Remotes, even with low turnout, work for us..We always encourage them to include a spot schedule after the remote as a follow up..So many times our remotes are during the work day which makes it hard for some to turn out..but our clients have found that people will come after the remote if we 've done our job of making it exciting and telling them things about the client that  a spot doesn't..Christmas we did 12 a day for 12 promote the 12 days of Christmas and the only time people could register for prizes the client was giving away was during the remotes. I had two specific clients that said they had better response after the remote..particularly when we promoted their websites, etc which resulted in some rather large sales..So, yes ..remotes definitely least in my small (micro) market.
  • January 21, 2011 7:26 AM PST

    It's interesting to me that almost everyone wants to judge the effectiveness of a remote with the traffic it draws.  I have had an insurance agent who did a remote every year just before hail season.  He liked the fact that he had the time to talk about his product in a conversational atmosphere.  He also gave his sales staff the opportunity to be on the radio.  Here's what he hoped to achieve:

    1. The opportunity to explain his product in detail.
    2. To help his sales staff build a rapport with current and potential customers over the air.
    3. To fire up his sales staff before a busy selling season. 
    4. To increase awareness of his agency and his products.

    He never expected anyone to show up at the agency during the remote.  He promoted his remote with marriage mail in his billing, and with a heavy ad schedule before the remote, and he used excerpts from the remote (which we recorded for him) in follow up ads.  As with any advertising schedule, managing expectations is important.  But remotes can be used for much more than to build immediate traffic. 


    • 4 posts
    January 21, 2011 7:27 AM PST

    I was at a station where the GM had a no remotes sales policy.  We were number one for 11 years and made a ton of money.  While I am not saying that is the ONLY reason for our success, if you have a strong audinece and a superior product, you do not need to sell remotes.

    Most remote breaks are tune outs to the audience anyway, since most are done on a phone line, it is aways item and price, and  change your life right now for a t-shirt.  If the remote goes poorlyly due to over estimated expectations the station image suffers.

    Yes, they are an easy sell, or can be a strong plus for value added, but my experiece is that if you have a no remote policy, you have a better on air product whci can result in a larger audience and that can lead to more sales.


    • 74 posts
    January 21, 2011 7:33 AM PST
    Remotes can be a very valuable tool.  They should not be used indiscriminately because you want a positive experience for the client and the station.  They are great for special events, etc.  We have a policy that involves the business/owner as much as possible in each drop.  Our remote vehicle is also a signal to passing motorists that something special is happening at that location.  It also gives the business a chance to get involved because he/she needs to plan their end of the event very carefully to ensure the best result.
    • 26 posts
    January 21, 2011 8:07 AM PST
    We do alot of remotes.  Some are for "call to action"....and some are event oriented.  What works nice is our remotes include a substantial spot and promo schedule.  and of course we encourage the client to do giveaways or food.  Just dong a remote at a new business doesn't see to do much   There's so much to cover with a remote it just depends on how clever the rep and the client can be together. And of course as Roger says we include client interviews throughout  We do not have a vehicle but we do bring a huge set with banners
    • 4 posts
    January 21, 2011 10:19 AM PST
    • 26 posts
    January 21, 2011 1:53 PM PST
    I agree...
    • 36 posts
    January 21, 2011 2:45 PM PST

    We price ours high (about 4 times what other stations charge) -- and we limit the number we do.  We also discuss expectations.  No one will drop what they're doing and run to you.  But if you need a big dose of awareness of your business, your product or offer, what's better than 9 live :60s in 3 hours?  We also insist on 3 hours with at least 30 :30s before and 20 :10s -- they can ADD to our package, but they can't subtract. 


    We have 3 vehicles on the streets - a cube truck, a former beer truck with TV's, speakers and an awning and a jeep for small spaces.  For the love of pete, people, who would do a remote on the phone?  We're radio -- there should be some show biz and that includes microphones! 

    • 1051 posts
    January 21, 2011 8:43 PM PST

       Stations often prize remotes for the opportunity they afford to get out into the public eye, to gain valuable exposure and to demonstrate their involvement in their community.  Visibility helps to make tangible the intangible.  And it's done on the advertiser's nickel.

       This is not to say that the advertiser doesn't get something out of it as well.  Often they do.  

       That said, I really can't think of many situations with respect to my own clients where it made more sense to invest in a remote broadcast than in running a well-crafted commercial for equivalent dollars.

       Your mileage, of course, may vary.   ;>) 

    • 12 posts
    January 22, 2011 11:45 AM PST
    Ditto to Mike Petersen's comment........he's "right" on when it comes to remotes. And at the same time remember that "them that has the gold, make the rules". If the client turns down your idea for success and wants a the remote and get their biz!
  • January 24, 2011 7:42 AM PST

    Never, never do a remote in an empty parking lot--like a car dealership where your remote is the sole attraction. All you do is feed the sales staff room temp pizza. I reccomend to car dealers NOT to do remotes unless they are hosting a big charity event and have allocated enough advertising to promote it well.

    Always tie into other events, activities. Then it makes good sense for the client to use the remote to augment an activity or promotion. It also helps if there is additional advertising attached.

    The exception would be: you bring in a national band, have ten grand in prizes and hold a listener party at a client's bar/restaurant. Our snow-delayed country station's listener Christmas party packed the biker bar--over 400 showed.

    Good hunting,

    Chris L

    • 456 posts
    January 25, 2011 9:17 AM PST
    Generally, I am not a big fan of remotes. Clients, as a rule, have expectations that are too high for a remote. They tend to put their faith in the radio station rather than what separates them from competitors. I urge my clients to run an aggressive schedule with a strong message that solves the listener's problem rather than spend the same money on a remote. I've rarely had a client not happy from the results of this strategy. I've often had clients very disappointed in the results of a remote.
    • 7 posts
    February 4, 2011 11:33 AM PST

    Before radio, I owned my own business...a pet store...LOL and I did a remote with the station that I now work for, and It actually did have people swarming in ..  LOL  but I think it all goes back to size of town, popularity of the station doing the remote, and keeping your remote live and entertaining so that it will grab the attention of passers by.... :)

        Also, if the remote staff can be entertaining, and work a crowd, then potential ad buyers may be watching as well.....
    • 1051 posts
    October 3, 2018 5:52 PM PDT

    I had occasion recently to take money for a remote. This is what I recommended instead. Your thoughts?

    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at October 11, 2018 9:52 PM PDT