Broadcast media panel offers tips on getting your story aired

Feb 17

@PPRA Broadcast Media Tips w/@DelgadoT62 @jodi_harris @kurtzpaul @EugeneSonn @6abcFYIPhilly Stephen McKenzie cbs3 @pyramidclubphlView from 52nd floor Pyramid Club, site of PPRA Meeting of Broadcast Media Tips

With technology continually changing the way we access news and how news organizations gather it, learning pitching tips for public relations pros never gets old. More than 80 Philadelphia Public Relations Association members agreed, and attended Broadcast Media Panel Offers Tips for Getting Your Stories on the Air on Feb 17 from the Pyramid Club’s 52nd floor perch overlooking the city. (Considering PPRA unveiled its new logo with the Philadelphia skyline in the back, the view was apropos.).

The panelists included four from TV: Iris Delgado, Anchor/Reporter for Telemundo62; Jodi Harris, Planning Manager/Producer Fox29; Stephen McKenzie, Managing Editor of CBS3 Eyewitness News, and Tim Walton, Producer Programming Department  FYIPhilly WPVI6, and two from radio: Paul Kurtz, Reporter at KYW Newsradio 1060, and Eugene Sonn, Audio News Director WHYY-FM. Susan Buehler of Buehler Media and Chief Communications Officer for PJM Interconnection, which coordinates electricity supply to 13 states, brought some of that energy to moderating the discussion. She did an excellent job of balancing the questions the audience would have for the media members and what they needed to tell us, and injecting humor along the way. Sometimes, these sessions can devolve into “pet peeves journalists have about PR people” and we feel like we’re being scolded. That wasn’t the case here.

Based on my and other tweets, here’s a summary of what the panel shared. McKenzie emphasized that a story must fit multiple platforms. “I have to decide what I think our viewers care about, and it has to fit on the air, on the Web, and on social, three platforms. It must have compelling video.”

The best times to pitch varied depending on when the station’s editorial planning meetings were scheduled during the day, and in the case of Delgado, who anchors a 5 p.m. newscast, “please don’t call me 15 minutes before I go on the air.” Good times to talk to her are between 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. before the 3 p.m. meeting. She will follow-up around 10 p.m. as she plans the stories for the next day.

MacKenize said between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., while Harris said, “pretty much anytime. I always have my phone. For bigger stories on lighter topics, contact me a few weeks in advance.”

Sonn echoed reporters’ complaints for generations: “It’s annoying when someone is pitching and has never seen the show, and the story doesn’t fit.” He added, “Around 2 p.m. is a good time to call. Think about times of the week that might be slow and you might have better luck with your pitch.  The story has to fit into 45 seconds.”

Kurtz said he prefers to be contacted by e-mail first, followed by a tweet through direct messaging, but the successful pitch can come down to luck and opportunity. ” It’s all about timing,” he said. “If you have an expert, who can speak on a current topic that’s helpful. Try to get ideas to us.”

For TV, Harris says, “The person has to be good on TV. Sometimes, we’ll look for an expert who we haven’t talked to before.”

Delgado said there’s a misconception about Spanish media. “Telemundo 62 covers what is in the English media in Spanish,” she said. “A Hispanic angle is important.

“Whatever the emotional, human angle may be, your pitch might be the best backup plan when another story falls through,” she added.

Walton, who works at FYIPhilly, says their demands are different. “We’re not a news show so there’s more open times to pitch,” he said. At the same time, he is currently accepting summer pitches.

They all chorused when Buehler said, “Keep it simple and brief: Headline, one paragraph. You need to have thick skin and keep trying if your first e-mail doesn’t get a response.”

The use of the Internet – should we be pitching web editors, too — and social media drew some interesting responses.

“Web Editors are not doing copy, they’re posting info,” said Harris.

Kurtz said the web has enabled them to do more with their stories. “While you may get a short amount of time on the radio, we put more copy on the Web and create podcasts, which are archived.  I covered the protests at the Democratic National Convention on Facebook live, the first time I used it.”

“Social media has broadened our audience beyond Greater Philadelphia,” said Sonn. “If you have a pitch with an expert who has a good social media following, mention it.”

Global Philly™ 2015 to Highlight Cultural Diversity of the City

At the Global PhillyTM 2015 reception opening of a two-month multi-cultural expo in the Philadelphia area, guests could choose a hat representing a country and have their picture taken with a cutout of the Pope. I'm not even Catholic. : )
Pope Francis (the guy on the right) scared the Global PhillyTM 2015 Reception crowd, sneaking into the city two weeks early and avoiding security checkpoints. 🙂 Everyone was relieved It was just a cut out figure of the Pope. Guests could choose a hat representing a country and have their picture taken with the Pontiff. I’m not even Catholic. : ) Photos by Al B. For.


I attended the reception heralding the opening of the two-month – September 15-November 15—Global Philly™ 2015 Exposition. During this time, there will be over 150 events celebrating the multi-cultural diversity and “global impact of Philadelphia and the region.” The biennial event is being presented by Global Philadelphia Association and its members. Events are associated with 12 categories – Advocacy, Arts, Commerce, Cuisine, Education, Family Friendly, Global Events, Heritage, Nation Days, Science & Technology, Sports and Project World Heritage City.

I was happy to represent the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia, but found myself proud of my city. While I have an affinity for Norway as a non-Norwegian, I was born and bred in Philadelphia. I have endured many losing sports seasons and disappointing ends to winning seasons, with a couple of championships thrown in there. I’ve heard the jokes about Philadelphia and criticisms of Philadelphia sports fans, many of which the statute of limitations should have run out long ago. I’ve also felt Philadelphia is underrated.

Philadelphia is on the move in the international stage. Pope Francis will visit in a few weeks, and next summer the Democratic National Convention will come to town, two major coups. The expo is a lead-in to a Nov. 6 vote in Peru on whether to designate Philadelphia a World Heritage City. If successful, Philadelphia will be the first
American city to receive the honor.

At the Global PhillyTM 2015 reception opening of a two-month multi-cultural expo in the Philadelphia area, guests could choose a hat representing a country and have their picture taken with a cutout of the Pope. I'm not even Catholic. : ) In his remarks, Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce, said Mayor Nutter has been traveling extensively in his second term, attempting to set up sister relationships with foreign cities and expanding the visibility and awareness of Philadelphia. During the Mayor’s first term, Greenberger made many of these trips. Erik Evjen, Director of Research at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (and a native of Norway), told the crowd more than $500 million in tourist dollars were spent here last year, a steady increase.

A light and fun atmosphere pervaded the reception held at WHYY, one of the media partners. I met an official from the Netherlands
and a graphic designer from the same country. Hats representing different countries were on a table and guests were encouraged to try one and have their picture taken next to a cut out figure of the Pope. “I’m not Catholic,” I told the photographer, Alfred B. For. “Neither am I,” he replied. A wall allowed attendees to post “I am Offering…” and “I Am Seeking…” services.

Tahija Vikalo Intnl Montessori Schools_Me_Ute Kraidy, graphic design Netherlands
You didn’t know who you would meet and what country they might be from. Left, Tahija Vikalo, Assistant Head, International Montessori Schools, Me, holding the Passport, the schedule of events for Global Philly TM 2015, and Ute Kraidy, a graphic designer from the Netherlands. Photo by Al B. For.

The city is a lot more multi-cultural than we thought. Global Philadelphia members include Honorary Consul Generals from Sweden, Panama, Lithuania, Korea, Sierra Leone, Italy, El Salvador, Portugal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Mexico, Ghana, Belgium, Brazil, Pakistan, Denmark, Chile, Uruguay, Poland, Finland, Latvia, Haiti, Austria, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Malta, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Guatemala, France, Romania, Israel, Norway and Germany. German American Chamber of Commerce, Middle Atlantic Eurasian Business Council, Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce, Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, Alliance Francaise de Philadelphie, Asia Society of New York, Brazil Cultural Center of Greater Philadelphia, China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, Citizen Diplomacy International, Flemish in the World, Global Education Motivators, Global Interdependence Center, Lithuanian Music Hall Association, Main Line Chinese Cultural Center, Mexican Cultural Center, Multicultural Art Exchange, National Hispanic Institute, Pan American Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia are among the business and cultural association members. The Chambers want to attract business interests from their countries to Philadelphia. They feel Philadelphia has much to offer.

Global Philadelphia has broad-based membership and support, including the City, colleges, historical sites, hospitals,individual members and more. Sponsors of the expo include PCVB, Lockheed Martin, Progressive Business Publications, Connelly Foundation, gphomestay, and Team Pennsylvania Foundation, while media partners include Center City Film & Video, Al Dia News Media, The Inquirer/Daily News/, WHYY, WPHL 17, 95.7 BEN FM, I Heart Media and EveryBlock.

The brochure of events is called Passport. For more information about the expo, click here.