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PR Lessons from the Real West Wing

We recently had the privilege of getting a behind-the-scenes tour of The White House in Washington DC from a friend with the Department of Homeland Security.
We were pleased to find several valuable lessons for radio there, including:

• The President’s Secret Service detail. We were surprised at how young, great looking and very personable they were. They were also very knowledgeable and answered our questions in a friendly, thorough manner. Can you say the same about your street team and promotions people? They’re the face that most often interacts with your listeners.

• The Secret Service agent who was standing guard over the Oval Office told us that the president is never, ever late for anything; he sticks to a very strict, planned agenda everyday so that he doesn’t keep others waiting. And, he tries to take as many meetings in his office as possible, so as not to eat up his time with travel. How are your Presidential time management skills?

• Inside the “Situation Room,” where major issues of national security are hammered out, any miscommunication could cause horrible consequences. So, every person attending has a microphone above their chair, and all meetings are recorded and videotaped to insure there are no errors in plan execution.

• When President Clinton was in office, he created a special area inside the gates of the White House lawn to make it easier for the press to file their reports. Do you make it easy for the local media to cover your station’s big events?

• Generally speaking, the White House was quite a bit less hectic and much more orderly on the day we visited than one would see on a typical “West Wing” episode. While everyone was no doubt very busy, they were very much on task, working from an agenda and wasted little time.

No matter which party is in office, the White House itself tends to run like a relatively well-oiled machine. When your radio station does the same, you’ll be amazed at how much more time you’ll have to concentrate on creating unique, compelling entertainment for your listeners.