Video Killed the Radio Star

Cat Rakowski joins FGS this week after a long-running broadcast news career including roles at MSNBC and ABC News. So we asked her for some TV advice. 

Q: Some many big stories are dominating TV – recession, war, the Jan. 6 investigation – how can our clients break through and be heard? 

A: Peg your pitch to those front-page stories, if at all possible. If you’ve tried everything and find yourself stuck, I’d recommend acknowledging that when you pitch. But do it in a way that isn’t apologetic. The news will turn eventually — sometimes in an instant! — and you want to be top of mind when that moment arises. 

Q: Ok, if I have a great angle – any tips for how to land the pitch?

A: Customize your pitch as elegantly as you can. See what the host has been tweeting about and personalize the pitch to them. Consider adding a little joke or a little passion, if appropriate. And then, edit it down to a few confident sentences. I don’t think I ever had a cold pitch that won me over in the fourth paragraph. 

One thing I’d be cautious about is pitching to yesterday’s segment. Unless it’s a hot topic, you may have missed your chance.

Q: Is the Zoom interview here to stay? Or do guests need to be back in studio? 

A: At this point, if you’re going to Zoom, do it right. There’s no excuse not to have a ring light and reliable earbuds with a decent mic. Set your camera to the level of your eye and consider a nice fiddle leaf fig in the background.