Industry Views

Monday Memo: Embrace “Car Radio”

By Holland Cooke

imAs this week’s first Republican presidential debate looms, my FOX News Radio-affiliated client stations are irked. Thanks to their network, they’re carrying it live, and locally sponsored, and promo-ing it aplenty. A couple of my clients will travel to Milwaukee to wrap pre- and post-game color around the play-by-play. So, yuh, they’re irked.

Listen somewhere else

 FOX News Radio newscasts invite listeners to hear the debate live, at Hello?

I talked one client down-off-the-ledge, by reminding him that anyone who wants to watch the debate, and can, will. And that anyone who’s driving cannot and won’t likely drive distractedly-enough to somehow stream it from a website in-car.

For decades, I’ve scripted promos for events like this, and the Super Bowl and World Series, by offering that “if you’ll be in the car tonight,” and/or “if you can’t be near TV,” and/or “if you’ll be at work,” we’ve got it on radio.

Hey, if I was FOX News Radio, I’d do the same thing. But when one client called to complain and asked “could you at least add ‘…and many of these FOX News Radio stations?’” he was told they’d run-it-up-the-flagpole.


It could be worse. You’re not a TV station.

THEY should be livid, as NBC uses affiliates’ air to say watch Peacock. Channel-surf, and you will be lured to Paramount+ or Discovery+ or Disney+.

And this didn’t happen overnight, as I demonstrated several years ago in a TV report about the TV switch-pitch (

So, embrace radio’s preeminence in-car, and not just when plugging special coverage. Program and promote everything as though you’re talking to busy people behind the wheel. Nobody sitting stiller will feel rushed.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke