a Smashing Success!
by Richelle Antczak
could have only heard the boys talking about your station tour tonight
as we drove home. From your ‘radio voice,’ to letting them record their
own voices, your tour was a hit! Your tour really shows how much WCBE cares
about the Columbus community. Thank you!”—Listener: Donna Little
can expect comments like these when you open your doors to the public.
Simply, extend the idea of a tour to your listeners and let the essence
of public radio strut its stuff.
with smaller staffs and security restrictions, many commercial stations,
both television and radio, no longer offer tours to the public, and that’s
a shame. For those who have caught the radio bug and don’t work in the
journalism field, stepping into a radio station is reserved only for ticket
winners and high profile citizens. But that’s not the case at 90.5
FM WCBE, a public radio station in Columbus, Ohio.
Tour Program came about after entertaining a listener’s request to bring
in his son’s Boy Scout troop for a visit. It was so exciting, rejuvenating
actually, to see the look on the children’s faces as they stepped foot
into the studio for the first time. The awe and admiration for what we
do 40 hours a week was evident. Soon after, word got out that WCBE encouraged
public tours; and before we knew it, the requests came pouring in. We started
inviting listeners to the station once a week, on Tuesday nights at 6:00.
They’d tour the facilities, maybe meet some of the personalities who were
working late, and get a chance to be on mic and record their own “on-air”
WCBE Tour Program promotion.
may be thinking, who has the time to do all this? Well, not many small
stations. But when you think about what a great learning opportunity for
the public this is and the personal connection the listener then establishes
with your station, you’ll find the time. Our tour program has developed
not only into a fantastic community outreach tool for WCBE, but also a
word-of-mouth marketing campaign. The recording of the promotion does take
some effort on the station’s part, but it’s made a statement in the central
Ohio area that WCBE really does want to educate and entertain its community.
Not only do we do that with our eclectic news and music programming, but
we also do it personally–by caring enough to spend time with our listeners.
this program has been so successful, we’ve increased the opportunity to
tour the station during the evening from once a week to twice a week, by
appointment only. We’ve hosted families, individuals, after-school activity
groups, and many boy/girl scouts—who from touring the station earn their
communicator’s badge. It’s mind-boggling to think it was only in late 2002
that WCBE opened its doors to listeners on a regular basis. In that short
time, over 20 tour groups have come through our studios and, believe it
or not, we’re booked up with two tours a week until the beginning of June