Email is Still King: What We Learned from Our VIP Visit to HearSay

    It's not often that we get to take a field trip for our monthly meetings. When we do, it's always fun. The folks at WHRO's "HearSay with Cathy Lewis" were extremely gracious in inviting our chapter members and guests to take a behind-the-scenes tour of their show for our February meeting.

    Before we toured the control room, show producer Morgan Chase provided tips for landing precious air time on the four-day-a-week public affairs radio show.

    • Email is king. Though Chase received and sorted through more than 45,000 emails last year, he still says that email is king when it comes to pitching your story. Their team is small and they are often multi-tasking and spending time in and out of the control room. He can't always pick up the phone, so email is best. 
    • Have a great subject line. With all of those emails, you have to stand out from the crowd.
    • If your story is time sensitive, include that in the subject. Maybe you're hosting an event that will take place soon or your potential guest will only be in town for a limited time; be up front with that information. It helps with the email sorting process.
    • Know the show's demographics. No every story is a good fit for the show. Make sure the show's audience is your target audience. The show is a public affairs show, so make sure your story has a community focus. 
    • Don't be afraid to build a rapport. While email is king, Chase notices emails from folks with whom he has a relationship. Don't be afraid to schedule a coffee meeting and get to know him. 
    • Follow up. Just because you emailed and Chase didn't respond, follow up. Send another email. You may have not have made the sorting cut the first time around, but round two might catch his eye.
    • A one-pager is his preference. In your email be sure to include a one-pager with background info. Bullet points with key information are ideal. Include a bio and photo if possible. 


    One thing Chase said to remember is that he always needs a show. He welcomes good pitches. Keep them coming!

    While on the air, Lewis mentioned to her listeners that PRSA was in the studio. Thanks for the shout-out! She also spoke with us after the show and had a few more pitching tips: 

    • Don't be snarky. If you don't hear back immediately after you email your pitch, be patient. They're sorting through a lot. Getting mad won't help you or your client get on the air quicker. 
    • Don't send your news release as an attachment. Stick to bullet points in the body of the email. It's a timesaver. 
    • Don't tell them what questions to ask. Offer helpful background, but let Lewis ask the questions. She's a pro who's been at this a long time. "I'm probably going to ask what I want to ask," she said. 


    Check out these additional resources on media pitching from PRSA. These on-demand webinars are free for members:

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