Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Difference Between TNR's and NAFB's NFBS

What’s the Difference Between TNR’s and NAFB’s NFBS?

This is one of the questions we are asked most often by ag related agencies and companies, right after “can we track who uses our releases?” I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while as a way to help answer the question.

TNR’s are our Talking News Releases, which are basically news releases with audio. NFBS is the National Association of Farm Broadcasters’ National Farm Broadcast Service.

The short answer is - the differences are significant.

First let me point out that both Cindy and I are current members of NAFB and have been so since the early 1980’s in one capacity or another. Currently, Cindy is an emeritus member of NAFB and I am an associate member. Both of us have been voting members in the past and we highly support the organization and believe NFBS is a valuable service to members.

Having said that, here are the primary differences between our service and NFBS:

NFBS is a member service and a passive system. It’s only available to NAFB Broadcast Council members by password. Members have to log into the website where they’re presented with a menu of story/news release options. Members can choose to download audio and story information. It was originally intended as a system for members to share story ideas and audio. Some of the information is contributed by members but most is regularly posted information from major information partners like NCBA, ASA and others. There are approximately 140 NAFB members who can choose to log on to NFBS to peruse the offerings and download audio they might want.

Talking News Releases is a push through production/distribution service of ZimmComm, a privately owned company. We work with our clients to produce an electronic news release that contains hyperlinks to audio files. We then email that document to reporters in whatever area is selected. Reporters get it delivered to them where they can easily use it immediately or archive for future use. ZimmComm has over 2,800 radio news reporter email addresses, which includes all NAFB members. It can be sorted by a number of parameters including state. In addition, we’ve created commodity area groups to make sending commodity-specific material easier.

We’ve received very positive feedback from NAFB members who really like the information we send them and the quality of the audio. They also like it that we often are able to make sure the releases we send are written in broadcast style, which makes using the release much easier for them.

Additionally, non-NAFB radio reporters provide us with the same feedback! As you know, there are a lot of local radio stations. Radio news reporters in a rural area where agribusiness is vital to their local economy are likely to use an ag oriented release if it pertains to their area.

We believe it is important to include non-NAFB members in the distribution of ag-related news releases for two reasons.

First of all, NAFB members simply do not cover all areas of the country where agribusiness is important. That’s just a fact of the radio world today.

Second, it is vital to keep the non-farm public informed about agriculture and its importance to the U.S. economy and livelihood of our country. I find it interesting that some of our larger commodity groups seem to think that their information should ONLY go to farm broadcasters, that non-farm broadcasters would not be interested. Fact is, it all depends on how it is packaged. Granted, a station in downtown Miami might not care about a new fungicide to control soybean rust, but they might very well be interested in how a new trade agreement would affect the farm economy and ultimately the economy of the South Florida area! That is why we strongly urge the use of TNRs to make the non-farm audience part of your overall public relations strategy.

I also encourage NAFB to conduct more outreach to these radio stations and their news directors to encourage more regularly-scheduled farm programming and more regular attention to farm stories (okay, so maybe not the stations in downtown Miami!) But, the fact is, there are many reporters scattered around the countryside who regularly report agricultural news who aren’t or can’t be NAFB members due to the organizations’ current membership requirements.

I’ve been in literally hundreds of radio stations in my career all over the country and I can tell you that if they have a news department, a good story is a good story even if it’s about agriculture.

I hope this answers the question and I’d welcome comments and feedback.

Posted by: Chuck at 7:07 PM | |     | Permalink

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