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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

How to hype nothing

I get lots of press releases every day. There’s an ebb and flow of course, and as the NAB convention approaches, the number of these releases swells. There are two types of press releases that really annoy me.

The first type comes from a company that is promoting something that has absolutely nothing to with radio. I mean absolutely. There’s a book publisher that is spamming me to promote the novels it publishes. That’s completely irrelevant.

I also get lots of releases that are related to radio by a thin line. They usually come from companies working in pro audio, high-end consumer electronics, TV/video and industrial tools. These aren’t too bad, and at least sometimes there is something that applies to radio. Sometimes they also introduce me to companies with other products that are relevant.

The stinger on the sort-of-related releases is when the PR person something like, “This is a perfect fit for your pet-loving readers,” or some similar boilerplate claim. Thanks for doing your homework.

The other type of annoying release can be called the fact-free press release. These releases have two common forms. The first is so full of fluff that once all the endless quotes about how excited a company is or how the information shows how forward-looking views of the company are exemplified there is nothing left but a single sentence. It’s hard-hitting stuff when it comes down a “story” like this: “[Company] has done business today.”


The other form of the fact-free press release is not even a press release. It’s usually marketing information that really should be in an advertisement or in a sale person’s pitch. Sometimes it’s not even marketing information. It’s not even fluff. It can’t be boiled down to [Company] has done business today, but it usually comes down to [Company] exists.

Granted, any press release has some marketing element to it (why else would a company tout anything), but I think we’re pretty diligent at Radio magazine at screening the fluff from the meat.

So if you wonder why you see some information in another radio trade publication or radio trade website but don’t see it on RadioMagOnline.com or in Radio magazine, see if it really relates to radio or if it’s really useful information.

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