Originally published on the Larry Gifford Media blog
Love it or hate it Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary show can serve as inspiration for your next radio event. Paying tribute to the music and personalities that built your radio station into what it is today is a great idea. Celebrating your heritage is a powerful brand builder, but too often in radio we are quick to white-out the names who no longer roam the halls. If you’re not a heritage station you use the event to begin to build your station’s mythology or you could pay tribute to business leaders in your community, scholar athletes, or community volunteers. SNL40 had its hits and misses, but the idea was right, it owned the night on social media and it helped remind people why they love the show.
Here’s what SNL did right which applies to your radio station.
- Engage fans: Multimedia and social media cross-promotion, voting on “favorite moments,” live broadcast, launched new app.
- Engage partners: VIP reception/red carpet before the event. Big events like this are a great way to thank partners and attract new clients. Use several levels of credentials and events before and after to add gravitas to your radio event.
- Engage staff: Pitching ideas, rehearsals, celebrating their talent, post-show party. The staff must be included in the creation and execution of the event. They’re smart, talented and know the audience.
- Entertain: Showcase the great radio talent of the past or celebrate a current talent as “hall of famer” or create your own version of the Hollywood star and walk of fame. OR – special audio / video, or on-stage feature of whomever you are honoring.
- Entertain: Live performances whether spoken word or music based are essential. You could do anything from a host debate, an “Inside the Actor’s Studio” behind-the-scenes interview, a radio station band, or a concert of a band that has a history with your city or station. Personalities can also share the stage, tell stories, honor or interview others. Whatever you choose be sure it reflects your brand.
- Element of Surprise: Figure out your version of French kissing Betty White on stage.
- Make it Big: The SNL40 event was impressive for the star power alone, but a ½ network red carpet special was one additional detail that kicked it up a notch.
- Details: Details. Details. Details. Imagine the chaos involved in herding all those comedians, musicians, politicians, and actors. Make sure your event has a Lorne Michaels.
It doesn’t matter the size of the market. I’ve seen ratings, revenue, brand reinforcing success for events like these in markets #1 and #2 to #33, #139 and unranked. Think big, be bold, take chances and don’t listen to the critics. The P1s will love it and so will your staff.
more lessons from #SNL40 on Radio Stuff Episode 90 “Interviewing Do’s & Don’ts from NBC’s Red Carpet Show”***
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