Why Isn’t Radio Breaking Bad?


It’s in the air, part of the zeitgeist – it’s Breaking Bad.

And like all phenomena which own the Twitterized water cooler for one brief, shining moment, it’s what folks want to talk about – a lot – right up until it’s over.

Look at how this moment is being captured and capitalized on in unconventional ways:

So is your radio station talking about this show?

I’ll bet you are (I hope you are). But how many stations are transforming their dialogue about this hit show into contagious social currency – a.k.a. word-of-mouth for your brands?

It should not be lost on you that every single one of the items I listed above is in some way related to stoking attention, interest, connection, and consumption between fans of the show and brands that are also fans of the show.

Path is stoking usage in Path and monetizing that usage. The contest is aiming for contest players (and supporting a charity). Podcast-makers are gunning for listeners. Jimmy Fallon wants to hijack Breaking Bad to goose his own ratings. The LA Times wants to stay relevant to consumers who are entertainment fans. And AMC is leveraging its hits the way TV networks leverage live sports broadcasts: By supplementing those broadcasts with pre-game and post-game shows.

It should also not be lost on you that many of the items above are audio-based or – in the case of Talking Bad – might as well be audio-based. The show is called Talking Bad, after all. And when I think of audio-based, I think of…radio!

So here’s my question for you, Mr. Broadcaster:

Are you creating content on the hottest topic of the day that can spin-off from the confines of your airwaves and live on digital and other platforms – the places where the fans who don’t already listen to you live?

Are you leveraging the pop cultural interests of your audience into promotional “idea bubbles” that magnify attention to your brand and interest in your content, wherever that content lives?

Or are you just talking about Breaking Bad between breaks?

Time for another song.

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  • Robert Andrews

    The biggest issue for this is legal matters. Theirs a fine line between talking about it on the air, and identifying with it in a way that might anger copyright holders. So far, anything AMC has put out has had TON’s of slack (particularly with “The Walking Dead”) with third party promotion. Probably because after a few years, their still not over the DISH network issue, and rather keep good light in the public. Who knows? About 5-7 years ago, some internet radio station got sued because of their “caller 9 wins” parody of the game show “Who wants to be a millionaire” Since then, I have steered clear of any “fad tv” content. I dont even talk about them on the air period. Cripples a lot of my dialog, but it is what it is.

  • I wouldn’t call the show on everybody’s lips a “fad,” but I get your point.

    Here’s what I think, Robert: I think the world has changed. Remember that George Lucas once sued people who created Star Wars fan sites. Today the studios actively encourage and stoke fan participation in every way they can.

    Further, I wish I could say legal concerns were the primary reason why most broadcasters don’t do this. In my mind, it’s primarily laziness.

  • Robin S

    YES! Science!

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