The Challenge Of Going Viral In Radio

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This past week has been a great example of what “going viral” can mean for a brand or sports radio station. First, the internet exploded with talk about the new Popeyes chicken sandwich. Here are some sports radio twitter thoughts about it from the past week:

The amazing buzz continued as people from all walks of life and all over the country debated how good the new sandwich was and whether it was better than Chick-Fil-A, Bojangles, Wendy’s, etc. Who knows if the sales or buzz around the sandwich will continue, but Popeyes hit a home run with the Millions of dollars worth of free advertising its new sandwich received. How did they do it? Popeyes introduced a really good, new product while taking aim at Chick-Fil-A whose slogan is literally “We didn’t invent chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” It was a big change, readily available and easy for everyone on social media to relate to. 

Another social media explosion this week happened in the Washington, DC area as Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan was pulled over while talking on the air to afternoon drive host, Chad Dukes. Here’s the full story.

The story was picked up all over the place: Sports Illustrated, Awful Announcing, USA Today, Yahoo! Sports, Arizona Central and others.

This story had great reasons to go viral. It happened live on-the-air so listeners heard it and reacted. Chad Dukes and the rest of the crew at 106.7 The Fan had a ball with it and Russell was a good sport about it. Plus, getting pulled over is so relatable to your listeners. Who hasn’t had that sinking feeling when the flashing lights go on behind you? I thought Chris handled it the best he could with the police and the radio show. 

Going viral is something that can drive radio executives crazy. They’ll look at the Popeye’s situation and wonder why something they’re doing can’t get that much play on social media. Then they’ll look at the Chris Russell situation and wonder why a show, a sponsor, or a station promotion can’t get that hot on social media.

I would say the best plan of attack is to find something that is getting growing attention on social media and tie into it. These things tend to be really organic and sometimes pretty random, but finding a way to quickly tie into it is the key. 





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