Author: Emily Roethle
Regardless of medium, broadcast segments offer an interactive and visual way to showcase brands’ stories to a captive audience.
Recently, our team sat down with two Emmy Award-winning Fox 5 San Diego producers – Executive Producer Douglas Downing and The LOCAList SD Executive Producer Aida Soira – to get a behind-the-scenes look at their day-to-day and to learn firsthand how public relations and marketing professionals can best work with broadcast teams to tell brand stories.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Similar to the world of public relations, both Doug and Aida note that their days range in responsibilities.
“Everyday changes! We have anywhere from two to three shoots a day – either on-site in our studio or on location. Sometimes, I’ll go out with the crew if it’s a bigger shoot, but otherwise, I am in the office setting up shoots, making sure the team has all of the necessary information or working with the team in-studio to shoot. I work with the sales team as we are a pay-for-play show, so I’m often touching base with sales, my own team and clients,” said Aida.
“I usually arrive at the station around 3 or 4 a.m. to run the morning show. Live TV is intense, so I need to focus. If there’s no breaking news as the day progresses, that’s when my attention turns to bigger picture planning – scheduling or looking ahead to bigger events like Big Bay Boom, Del Mar Racing and Comic-Con. For instance, we’re having conversations around how we’re going to cover back-to-school, connecting with districts and moving that forward,” said Doug. “I’m often living in three worlds: here and now, short term (tomorrow) and five to six weeks down the road.”
How do you work with businesses and PR professionals and decide what to feature?
While each station and each producer varies, the viewer and the show format are top of mind for producers working alongside PR pros and brand marketers.
“What I’ve been reminded of is that people are really tired of the hard news. It’s necessary, but people are burned out. People want to have good, fun stories. We’re looking for San Diegans who are offering something positive to their neighbors,” said Aida, in reference to The LOCAList SD. “Our goal is to make our clients comfortable and highlight the golden stars about what makes them awesome.”
“For our show, we work with the client to help on the logistics front and with messaging. We sit down with the client to figure out what stories they want to tell,” continued Aida. “If it’s not paid, we have to ask what the benefit is to the viewer? It has to be as little commercial as possible. For instance, we recently featured a veterans’ park in Chula Vista for those that are wheelchair bound and a dog adoption non-profit.”
“On the news perspective, we try to be collaborative with others, but we do want to find other angles to cover big events and news,” said Doug. “We want really good, unique and interesting pitches. Our show is very different than other San Diego-based morning shows, and you can tell who watches us and knows what we are about and what we cover.”
What makes a pitch stand out?
A good story is key for news and lifestyle shows alike.
“Come at it with an idea and a story connected to it. It helps when there is a peg with what’s going on in the world too,” said Doug. “For instance, you could mention the rash in school shootings and share more information about a bulletproof backpack you have. Beyond that, bring in the person that can speak to it as the end user – in this case, a parent. As another example, rather than bringing in the blood bank’s CEO, bring in the family with the son that needed a life-saving blood transfusion. It’s great to have a person attached to tell the actual story.”
“Finally, remember that the second part of television is vision!” continued Doug. “Reflect what is eye catching. We want to get hands-on with things and see demonstrations versus standing outside a building.”
“The human connection is what brings stories together, so anything with a personal element or that’s relatable is great to include. We want to include something that viewers can identify with,” said Aida. “We’re looking for what connects clients to a viewer. Little small nuances are key.”
How can public relations professionals best work with broadcast producers?
“It’s all about collaboration and flexibility,” said Doug. “We live in a news world where anything can happen at anytime. Brands have to be flexible with things barring breaking news. For example, if a wildfire breaks out and we shift around a segment, be respectful and flexible.”
“On the note of collaboration, let’s figure out what the good storyline is together,” continued Doug. “Be flexible about talking points so we can craft something.”
When is the best time to pitch you?
It varies per producer, but keeping their schedule in mind is key.
“People forget that we are a morning show, so I’m focused on that during the first few hours of the day. It’s important to learn what time we aren’t on air and reach out then,” said Doug. “For things happening the next day, send it late the night before.”
“My schedule is more flexible, but I’m usually around between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. That’s a good time to either email or text me,” said Aida.
Interested in elevating your story on the silver screen? Contact Crowe PR today!