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Harry Houdini’s lessons for radio marketers

I just finished a biography of Houdini and there are more than a few lessons for those of us who market radio stations:

– To win over an audience the performance itself must be amplified by other variables like presentation. “Showmanship is the element that provides the context for the audience to understand what they’re seeing. It’s a way of making a performance exceptional.” Lesson: It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it and how big you make it.

– It was the element of danger – the sense of the illusion as real – that added to the overall effect of Houdini’s “magic.” In other words, he created drama. And it kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

– Exploit the “magic” of PR. When Houdini came to town, his first stop was the local Police headquarters where he’d escape from handcuffs with an entourage of newspaper reporters in tow. He did many of his escapes dangling from a rope which was not coincidentally located directly outside the offices of the local newspaper as the streets below were “black with humanity.” Lesson: Think through a media angle on everything you do and make that media angle easy.

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