Not long after I launched KEF Media in 1986, I began thinking about a television program dedicated to airing my clients’ video news releases. We kicked around a lot of ideas, from “Blue Chip News” to a show-and-tell type show. None of these ever got any traction because they lacked the requisite entertainment value TV programs need to hold the audience’s attention. So we put the idea on hold, deciding if we did such a show, it had to be the right show.
Meanwhile, we watched various programs airing nothing but paid publicity content come and go. Variations on the idea evolved, too, from in-flight programs that carried sponsored news to radio programming that presented paid content. But, again, the problem with many of these seemed to be a lack of anything that might engage viewers. What was the point of producing a program full of client messaging that nobody watched or heard?
Thus, we focused our energies on earned media results for our public relations agency clients, primarily on network and local market television newscasts. To do this, we had to think each project through and ask ourselves, why will a news decision-maker air this? That meant melding the client’s message with a legitimate news story that combined strong visuals and brevity. When clients took our counsel, they were frequently rewarded with great results.
To be honest, not all PR folks got this approach. They would hand us a press release and tell us to produce a VNR that looked and sounded like it; basically a TV commercial. We’d push back, but occasionally we would end up doing as directed. When the results fell short of client expectations, everybody was unhappy.
Things changed as digital communications overtook television news. That was good for us because we produce video and video is king when it comes to digital messaging. We continued to reach out to TV news media but, increasingly, we also provided branded content to web sites and bloggers targeting audiences our clients wished to reach.
The Daily Buzz
We also discovered The Daily Buzz some years ago, a syndicated television show that aired on CW television stations across the country. Along with many other publicists, we frequently placed our clients’ content on the show because it was something other such programs weren’t: entertaining, fun, and engaging. The producers creatively integrated our content into the show’s format in a way that kept viewers watching. Then, in 2015, The Daily Buzz abruptly ceased production.
I found out later that the program’s owners had a financial squabble that led to The Daily Buzz’s untimely demise. That’s when I began thinking about acquiring the show and relaunching it provided I could retain the producers and talent, that is, the folks who made The Daily Buzz the big success it originally was.
As luck would have it, we hired the program’s executive producer to work as a producer for our clients. This led to a meeting with one of The Daily Buzz’s former principles who was excited at the prospect of resurrecting The Daily Buzz and assured me it would be as good or better than the original. That’s all I had to hear.
After acquiring The Daily Buzz trademark, we re-launched the show in June, 2017 as a weekly on Pop TV, the former TV Guide Channel, which is carried nationally by every major cable and dish system in the U.S. CBS, the most watched network, together with Lionsgate, a major film and television program producer, co-own Pop and have dedicated the resources to make the network a success.
In addition to The Daily Buzz’s original creative team, the show is anchored by its original hosts, Lance Smith and Kia Malone, and features West Coast reporter Scott Carty, New York correspondent Josh McBride, and Atlanta-based Summer Jackson.
Initially, the show aired in less than desirable time slot, however, Pop liked The Daily Buzz enough to move it to Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. Eastern as the lead-in to its morning program lineup.
It’s a weekly program, so where does “daily” come in? In addition to re-launching the show, we reactivated The Daily Buzz’s substantial online presence. Every day, we update the web site, Facebook page and other platforms with celebrity and entertainment news, gossip, and of course our clients’ content. Every week, our on-air talent directs viewers to those Daily Buzz platforms and invite engagement. The result? We already have more than 100,000 active fans and growing in the highly-desirable 18-34 demographic. Thus, we know viewers are watching.
We have competition, of course. There are several programs that present sponsored content, however, like past programs these lack the quality production values and the following The Daily Buzz enjoys. While some of these shows air in major markets, they often appear in the early morning hours on weekends or on low power TV stations. Who watches? Who knows?
The Daily Buzz has allowed us to revolutionize the way co-op media tours are done, too. For what agencies spend on a typical co-op tour, we are delivering a far better value and a stronger client message that includes not only an appearance on the Buzz, but also local market affiliate placement. All client content is, of course, repurposed for digital placement on the Buzz and many other platforms.
It took me 31 years, but I finally found the show I was looking for, one that airs in every major and secondary U.S. market, one that viewers actually watch, and one that delivers the audience our clients are looking for.
It was worth the wait.
*This article was originally published on page 22 in O'Dwyer's April 2018 Magazine.