Gathering at the 2023 NAB Show were a group of small and medium market broadcast executives who are doing big things in their communities that could serve as a lesson for radio groups in any size market. Moderated by Erica Farber, President & CEO, RAB, the group highlighted the positive aspects of being community-minded, while also increasing revenue and extending brand reach.
Everyone in attendance at the session now knows the birthday of Mike Hulvey, CEO of Neuhoff Media, is March 4th. His blood type B+. “March Forth and Be Positive” is a calling card of the broadcast group. In fact, Neuhoff Media stations have an ongoing campaign titled “March Forth Moments,” which is a vignette piece that features positive things happening in the markets they serve.
“We start the campaign on March 4th, and we run it to the end of October,” Hulvey told attendees of the session. “Every week, we run a series of vignettes focused on good news that's going on in our community.”
Hulvey says it’s an easy tie-in for local businesses who want to be associated with a positive, feel-good feature. “We have four underwriting partners who get no commercials, all they get their name is an underwriting partner, and then you focus the [feature] on the good news that is happening.” The four underwriting partners pay $5,000 each to be part of the feature.
The “March Forth Moments” campaign, now in its 14th year, comes complete with a custom-made jingle that features Hulvey’s granddaughter, along with the tagline “When you focus on good news, you get more of it.”
He says the campaign focuses on “conversations in our communities about the good things that are going on.” This week’s feature highlights a World War II hero in the community that is celebrating his 99th birthday.
Neuhoff Media also works with local clients and community leaders for what is billed as a “Holiday Nonprofit Grant” campaign. Again, clients pay $5,000 to be an underwriting partner. The campaign starts in October and provides four local nonprofit agencies with a $5,000 advertising campaign. The ads run for a week each between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Being community-focused is a benchmark of Georgia-based Davis Broadcasting and VP Geniece Granville spoke about two of the company’s community events – the “Fresh Market Food Giveaway” and the “Tools for Schools” school supply drive. The former was developed to address a need for people to get fresh foods and vegetables, “especially in food deserts in our community,” Granville explained. The company partnered with Goodor, which supplies fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.
The “Tools for Schools” campaign also featured a “Movie Night Under The Stars” and was designed “to ensure that students are prepared with the proper tools to have a successful school year and bring families together for free movie nights before the school year,” she explained.
Sponsors, such as Walmart, supply the school items and are included in the campaign's on-air and online messaging and also have their logos incorporated into the book bags that are distributed to students.
One thing that Granville stressed was recapping the events. “We have to do a better job of telling our story afterward,” she explained. Video, pictures, and social media posts can accomplish this. Granville said a client that sponsored the fresh food giveaway was not at the event last year, but after seeing the recap video “they want to be hands-on with the community” next year.
Kelli Freiler, Executive Director, Digital, Leighton Broadcasting/Leighton Engage also stressed the importance of recapping events. “We have to be better about presenting how great these things are,” she acknowledged.
The events these broadcasters are carrying out are not new, or exclusive, to the companies that are developing them. “A lot of what's been talked about reminds me of something I heard somebody say in this session last year, it was R&D – Rip off and Duplicate,” Freiler said.
Understanding the campaign and client needs help to make a great partnership. “It's making sure that when we're bringing these ideas to our customers that we're helping them understand the value of these touchpoints that we're creating for them [and] that they get to be a part of, and how can that help their business,” she continued.
Farber recalled the days of broadcasting old when “we actually had marketing and promotion budgets to market our own brands.” These events “not only are a way to increase revenue, and connect with the community, but the exposure that the brand is getting in the marketplace is huge.”