Dirty Secrets of Radio Promotion Departments
Contrary to what you might think, the Promotions Department does not hand out “promotions” in an effort to let radio people climb some sort of ladder of success. The purpose of the Promotions Department is to fight tooth-and-nail with the General Manager over how much money the station will spend to promote and advertise the station and/or its personalities.
The Promotion Director starts each year by fighting for his budget. For weeks, he goes around in circles with the General Manager in a dance that is so complicated it would even stump Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe from "So You Think You Can Dance." After it’s all said and done, the General Manager ultimately declares that the Promotions Department will have NO budget because times are BAD!
The General Manager usually goes out the very next day on a sales call and spends hours trying to convince some guy who sells ferns that without Radio advertising his product is doomed. The General Manager exclaims, “You’ve got to spend money to make money…,” then quickly looks to his left and right to make sure the Promotion Director didn’t follow him on the sales call.
The Chance of a Broadcast are Remote
Promotion Directors are miracle workers. They can magically transform 5 T-shirts, 7 CDs, 12 key chains, 1 banner, 1 foldaway card-table, and 1 microphone into “a remote”. For our purposes we’ll define a “remote” as anything which makes a client think the radio station has spent hundreds of dollars to create a “presence” to help boost the client’s business – even if it’s only some T-shirts, a card table, and a van.
Radio remotes used to involve actual on-location broadcasting. The radio personality would have a small, portable studio or equipment simulating one along with a special transmitter to “broadcast” back to the radio station. This has all now been replaced by a “cell phone”.
Now, when the Promotion Director shows up with his T-shirts and card table, the radio personality – who usually stumbles in 10 minutes late and smelling like the undercarriage of a bus - simply flips open his cell phone and does what is called a “cut in”. He calls the station where the guy back in the studio records 60 seconds, then drops it into the computer automation. This is not a radio broadcast – this is a data plan from Verizon or some other provider..
Is the Prize Closet a Modern Day 'Ark of the Covenant'?
The Promotion Director has other responsibilities besides remotes. He has to maintain the “prize closet” which through the years has taken on a mystique all its own. Many have attempted to find the “prize closet” but few have. Some believe it only contains T-shirts, CDs, memorabilia from movie premieres, and other promotional items usually
Ponce de Leon Spent Years Searching for the Coveted Prize Closet given to radio stations. But, others speak of unimaginable riches so vast, the sheer reflection of all the treasures contained within are enough to blind a man. Many do not know that the great explorer, Ponce de Leon, was actually looking for the “prize closet” and not the Fountain of Youth. He ultimately failed and the bitterness of this elusive quest shadowed him until his death in 1521.
If you should ever discover a “prize closet”, retain an attorney before announcing your discovery and then hire bodyguards. Your life will surely be in danger.
Other things you should know about The Promotion Director:
Seek out his friendship. Otherwise, when he orders station clothing with logos, he will never order your correct size.
No respectable Promotion Director’s office wall should be without a signed photograph of the Promotion Director standing with his arm around Alice Cooper.
Promotion Directors always see the glass half-full. That’s because the morning man usually forgets his Scotch on the Promotion Director’s desk!