So you want to syndicate.
I can help you. But first, can I talk you out of it?
I get at least couple calls each week from earnest talent who wants to syndicate.
The first thing I ask is, “Whose money are we playing with?”
Why: You can blow-through six figures EASY -- making honest, logical mistakes – while challenging ABC Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Westwood One, and other goliaths.
Yes there are independent clearance firms, all quite enthused about your future. But try this: When they tell you it’ll cost $X thousand per month to smile-and-dial on your behalf, ask if, instead, you can simply pay them for results, i.e., $Y per station affiliated. You’ll likely hear “HABBA-HABBA-HABBA…”
- Too few managers are managing more-stations-than-they-can-manage.
- The-station-you-want-to-be-on -- dismissively referred-to in-house as "the AM" -- is the red-headed stepchild that music-FM-oriented managers want to ignore (a REAL shame, since its upside potential is so much greater than music FMs').
- ANY program placement effort is really a DISPLACEMENT effort, since the hours or minutes you want aren't dead air. So your clearance effort begins by trying-to-stations-OUT-OF a-decision-they've-already-made.
- And they don't make this decision alone. Clearing a show requires all four station departments -- which, lately, try to AVOID each other -- to agree on something. All four of the following need to sign-off-on the decision to take a show:
- Programming, since, you're offering a program.
- Sales, the REAL weekend PD at Talk stations.
- General & Administrative ("Corporate is reviewing your contract").
- Engineering ("What satellite is it on?")
- In 2008, the weekend got 6 hours shorter on the-stations-you-want-most, as Premiere crammed-down Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity weekend re-run mandates.
A smarter first step?
Launch on the Internet. It’s dress rehearsal for eventual AM/FM exposure; and a no-cost, no-risk place to get-into a production routine, and hone and tweak your material. Blogger, Podomatic, Wordpress and other do-it-yourself FREE templates have all the bells-and-whistles built-in, including RSS…syndication!
Once built-out, such a platform becomes your affiliate marketing demo. And when you get on-air, you’ll arrive with a pre-existing audience, your RSS subscribers and E-list.
THEN you should get “a beta,” that first affiliate, a station that can take delivery via MP3 or CD. Write a success story (and a testimonial) there; then get another station. And so on. When you’ve got a dozen or two, in several time zones, THEN it’s time to write a business plan to grow. Or, like the success stories you read on my Podcasting page, you might decide not to bother.
Even if you never make it to AM/FM radio, you can still do "a show," and make money. How? Round-up "1000 True Fans."
copyright 2008 Holland Cooke