Blog Post

How to secure PR coverage on LBC’s Nick Ferrari radio show

Our latest Small Talk shone the spotlight on LBC’s Nick Ferrari show.   Our speaker was the programme’s producer Johnny Jenkins.   His main job is setting up the show, normally the day before it goes on air, pitching stories and booking in guests.  Yep, he’s the key to the door if you have a client wanting a Nick Ferrari grilling!   As heard by Shout! Communications co-Managing Director, Keren Haynes.

 

 

Johnny Jenkins and lbc sign

I personally don’t know anyone in broadcast who started their career as young as Johnny.   He was just 14 when he did work experience from school at the commercial radio station, Gateway 97.8 in Essex.

When the work experience stint came to an end he continued working there as a volunteer and at the tender age of 15, presented his first live show.  Politics is clearly in his blood because, and whilst he said this with a laugh, one of his first interviews was with UKIP.   By the time he was in sixth form he had a job, one day a week, at Gateway.

University took him to Warwick to study for a degree in politics, but he contributed to BBC Essex, BBC Coventry and Radio 5 Live whilst a student.   Post uni he secured some work at BBC Radio London – a one-hour slot reviewing the papers.

This man is dedicated to his cause because he had to get up at 0200 to make it into Broadcasting House on time.   A newspaper slot on BBC Radio 5 Live followed and this turned into a weekly 15-minute slot.

At LBC, Johnny has worked across a number of shows, including producing Eddie Mare’s Drivetime and Andrew Marr’s show.  This coming weekend he’s working with Matt Frei and Vanessa Feltz.  But it’s his admiration for Nick Ferrari and his love of politics that’s kept him rooted to the breakfast show.

 

As if he hasn’t got enough to do, Johnny also does a weekly newspaper review on sister station LBC News and writes a column for LBC’s website.   I didn’t mention, despite all this experience,  he’s still probably only in his mid 20s!!

Working for Nick Ferrari

Nick Ferrari and LBC logo

 

Nick, Johnny says, is a great boss.  And he is the boss because he approves everything.  Johnny will pitch stories and guest ideas to Nick Ferrari, but it’s only when he’s got the thumbs up will he book spokespeople in.

But stories come and stories go….The Nick Ferrari show is about stories and issues in the news agenda, so stories do get dropped if better ones come along.   Johnny says he doesn’t like messing people around, but the programme’s priorities come first.   As PR professionals we just have to accept that’s the nature of the beast.    Where possible though Johnny will try to find a dropped story another home – perhaps running it the following day or offering it to another show on the station.

It must mess Johnny around too.  He said he was just packing up to go home a few weeks ago when the Trump verdict came in.   The programme he’d planned in detail for the next day basically got ripped up and he started again.  It can, he says, be fun!

Johnny reads every email he receives. But as stories are only really planned the day before they air, then he doesn’t need to get an email days earlier.  In fact, an email the day before could be just the nudge he needs to book your client in.

What Stories Work Best?

The best chance you’ve got though, of getting a spokesperson on air, is if your story is in the news agenda or could be linked to it.  For example, you might be a charity who could talk about the cost of the living crisis.   The bar, however, is high.  Can you see the story on the Six O’clock news, Johnny asks….if not, it’s probably not for him.

The prospect of VAT being payable on private school fees has apparently got the phones ringing off their hooks.   Animal stories also provoke a good response, such as the cow on the rampage that was run down by a police car recently.   In fact, the programme chose the cow story over the England Euros game!

As Johnny points out, LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari has been presenting the same show for 20 years.   That means every August he covers A Level results.  So if you can offer a story that’s a bit different that’s all to the good.  Shocking and/or surprising stories are good – something, Johnny says, “that will make you drop your toast.”

Nick Ferrari on air

What Sort Of Guests Does Nick Ferrari Like?

Well, they certainly can’t be boring!   Will Mrs Jones in Clapham find it interesting?   That’s the other benchmark for the LBC Nick Ferrari programme.    Mrs Jones in Clapham and the Six O’clock news are the test of a good story – but the success of that story boils down to  how many listeners call in to discuss it.

In truth guests are most likely to be big serious names, in particular politicians, but not celebrities.  Or they might be case studies – punters who can bring a story to life.   Experts are useful too on a whole range of subjects.   Whatever story ends up at the top of a news bulletin and Johnny is likely to want an expert on the topic.   The other night he was looking for a vet!

Once a guest is within Johnny’s vision they may be vetted out.  He might find an old clip of them on another station, or call them to run through what they might say.  Johnny calls this a “We’ll say”, meaning a summary of what a person will say/.   If a guest sounds dull though…..well we know, that won’t cut it, LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari doesn’t do boring.   The Head of Cancer Research or similar may get away without a test – Johnny may presume they’re good to have got to that position.

They’re conscious of achieving a gender balance too.   In practise this means if Johnny has to choose between two guests, one a man the other a woman, he will go for the latter.  Other broadcasters are the same – so it’s always worth remembering this when you’re planning a campaign.

Who Listens To LBC's Nick Ferrari Show?

That will be Mrs Jones in Clapham then.  In fact, the audience is very diverse, a reflection of the fact the core listeners are in London.   Whilst LBC is talk radio, therefore competes with the likes of BBC Radio 4, they enjoy a younger audience.   As a breakfast show they’re aware that listeners are often just dipping into the show for a short time – perhaps families in their cars dropping kids off at school for example.

 

Johnny clearly loves the ups and downs of live radio.   He says every show there’s something you don’t expect.   Nigel Farage was in as a guest recently and nothing worked – the phones were down, and the interview clips just didn’t run.   Another time the minister for broadband was on the show and his line cut out.   Anything, Johnny says, from the presenter’s mood to technology, can have an effect on the show.

Logistics of the Nick Ferrari Show

Don’t phone LBC’s Johnny Jenkins – you don’t know how long he’s been up or when he finished work!   An email is better and keep it short.

The show will take a guest on the phone, but the content won’t go beyond LBC in the Global group if you do. It’s much better for sound quality if a guest is on Zoom.   You don’t have to be in vision either, but again it’s best practise if you  are because there’s a digital team who will take clips for social and other shows.

Top Tips For Getting A Spokesperson On The Nick Ferrari Programme

  • Think what stories are dominating the news agenda, and think how your brand could be linked to them
  • Have strong, opinionated spokespeople – this is a programme that pits opposing views against each other.  There’s no room to sit on the fence!
  • When approaching the programme email, don’t call – and keep your communication short and sweet

 

Interested In Coming To Our Next Event?

Make sure you’re on our mailing list so you hear all about our upcoming events.  We hold Small Talks, which are mainly online, about once a month.  Then once, sometimes even twice a year, we host an in person Big Talk featuring a panel of speakers.

Our speakers are always senior journalists from the world of broadcast, who hold influential positions in radio, TV, podcasting or online.   Our events are intended for PR professionals and are always free.

 

To sign up to our mailing list please email Keren@shoutcommunications.co.uk.

We’re a specialist broadcast media relations agency. Securing high profile, quality, on-air interviews on regional, national and international channels, is at the heart of what we do.

Our strategy is to make life easy for the radio, television and digital journalists we’re selling-in to. The media relations team have all worked in broadcast in a previous life, so we think, write and speak like the journalists we once were.

Understanding the sorts of stories, angles and spokespeople that appeal to broadcasters is the foundation for all our campaigns, enabling us to deliver your editorial content to the target audience you want to reach.

We believe that happiness for clients lies in understanding what they want from the very start of a campaign. We ask you choose which two of five elements are most important to you:

  • The number of interviews secured
  • The quality of the station
  • The number of brand mentions
  • The number of key messages communicated
  • The audience reach

We’ll also want to know what your top 3 key messages are and whether you have a wish list for where you’d most like your spokesperson to appear.

This information helps us craft a story that will best get you there. Often, we will write several versions of a story, each one aimed at a different broadcaster and in their own particular style.

Get in touch today to find out more about our broadcast media relations services and take the first step to securing high quality TV, radio and online coverage.

Get in Touch

Television media relations is often considered to be the icing on the cake.
Clients love TV because of its massive audiences and influence.
As former broadcast journalists, securing opportunities for clients
on television is one of our greatest strengths.

As journalists we planned, produced and reported on TV stories ourselves, therefore have extensive knowledge of what it takes to get a story on-air.

Our experience means we understand what makes an outstanding visual story. It’s also given us excellent contacts in all the UK’s national and regional television stations, as well as many abroad.

We generate stories we know will appeal to broadcasters and place them editorially on television. We can also offer a reactive approach, creating opportunities for your spokespeople by hi-jacking other stories in the news agenda.

We will tell you what ingredients you need to successfully place a story on TV. This includes which channels and programmes are most suited to your target audience along with suggestions for spokespeople, filming opportunities and locations.

PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES

Television is all about the visuals and this is where good TV PR support can be the difference between a story making air – or not. The first question a TV news planner or journalist will ask is: what can we film? If filming is difficult or time consuming a follow up question might be: Is there any B-roll? B-roll is around 6-8 minutes worth of roughly edited footage that is produced by television PR agencies like Shout! Communications on behalf of a client; it’s distributed to broadcasters free of charge and any copyright issues for them to re-edit in their own style. Read more about B-roll here.

Television is all about the visuals and this is where good TV PR support can really help, with the production of B-roll.

B-roll has become invaluable since the start of the pandemic, which has made it more difficult for broadcasters to go out and film their own material. As restrictions ease however some crews are going out on location – and that’s where our television PR expertise can help you provide them with the best pictures.

CASE STUDIES

Case studies are a great aid in the quest to secure television coverage. They can make a TV PR  campaign feel relevant to the audience and they’re often very useful “wallpaper” pictures. A research story, for example, may be difficult to illustrate but if you have a case study you can say: “This woman is one of the X thousand people diagnosed with this condition each year….”

TARGETED AUDIENCES

TV can also be a great way to reach a relatively targeted audience; for example, if you want to reach women, securing a slot on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, This Morning or Lorraine is the holy grail. Alternatively, if you want to reach industry professionals and board directors, perhaps business slots on BBC Breakfast, Newsnight or News Channel are the way to go.

CORPORATE PODCAST PRODUCTION - THE LIKELY TIMELINE

PREPARATION

This, in our view, is the most crucial part of the corporate podcast production process.  That’s because this is when we work out what you are trying to achieve by producing a company podcast series.

Who is it aimed at?  What sort of effect do you want your corporate podcasts to have on them?   Is there a call to action?     Any production, audio or video, creates an impression and the most important part of our role is ensuring your podcasts truly represent you, in the way you want to be seen and heard.     

Presenters, interview guests, music styles, even the image and font on the podcast thumbnail all play a part in this.    At the same time, a podcast series needs to engage so that listeners keep listening.    There’s no point ticking all your corporate boxes if the content is as dull as ditch water!

 

Corporate podcast production - Shows Spotify software

 

PRE-PRODUCTION  

Arguably this takes the longest – deciding on, contacting and liasing with possible interview guests.  

It depends on the content of your podcast, but it is possible to record several episodes in one go.   This is a cost-effective way of producing a lot of content in one go, but it can be a challenge, getting everyone to agree to the same date!    

If your podcast is based on current affairs for example, this won’t work.   But we do offer studio recording sessions in half day bites and do work flexibly.  So, for instance, one or two interviews could take place on Zoom.    

Going in with a planned schedule is a good way of making sure the session runs to time.  This keeps studio and editing costs down.   You may want us to script some of the introductions and make a note of key points that should be included in particular interviews.   Really the running order is a framework on which to build, once you’re in the studio.

 

Shows a typewriter - Podcast pre-production

 

RECORDING  

Let the fun begin!   Having climbed over all the logistical hurdles you should have access to all your guests.   We always record more than you need, just in case , and our producer is there to oversee the session.  That means ensuring there is enough suitable content to achieve what you set out to do.    

Our recording sessions are structured, so that no one starts to flag.   You want contributors to sound energised and enthused – not weary from being in a studio for too long.

FAQs

Q Podcasts sound expensive, are they?

For what they can achieve and how long they stick around, really no.   The biggest cost is time – for the pre-production, the recording and then the editing.   Having a plan, developed in the preparation and pre-production stage, should help you stick to budget.    

You don’t want one podcast, you want a series of podcasts and the most cost effective way of producing a series is to do it in bulk.   As mentioned above, this takes some organisation, getting lots of people to a studio on a given day, but all is possible.

Outcome

Content should reflect a business’ core values and is likely to relate to the company’s products or services, but it should not be an advert. Every listener thinks their time is precious and in order to give up any of that time to listen to your podcast they need to be entertained.

The skill in podcast production is to combine key messages with engaging content. The commercial element of a podcast needs to be subtle; even the most loyal customer will stop listening if the podcast is one long sales pitch.

Experts in your field, case studies and celebrities if your budget stretches that far, can all make effective interviewees.

Filming in New York

Outcome

Succinct soundbites along with cinematic, scene-setting montages of the event and location make for some beautiful videos. Founders Forum used the videos to promote future events and create brand awareness.

Filming in New York

AVOID OVERLY COMMERCIAL CONTENT

Content should reflect a business’ core values and is likely to relate to the company’s products or services, but it should not be an advert. Every listener thinks their time is precious and in order to give up any of that time to listen to your podcast they need to be entertained.

The skill in podcast production is to combine key messages with engaging content. The commercial element of a podcast needs to be subtle; even the most loyal customer will stop listening if the podcast is one long sales pitch.

Experts in your field, case studies and celebrities if your budget stretches that far, can all make effective interviewees.

Corporate podcasts for companies - Shows a microphone

Outcome

Succinct soundbites along with cinematic, scene-setting montages of the event and location make for some beautiful videos. Founders Forum used the videos to promote future events and create brand awareness.

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