Jay Leno’s New TV Slot? Promote It With Radio!

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lenoJay Leno, the silver aired wag who assumed Johnny Carson’s TV spot years ago and walked away with an Emmy in 1995, is moving to a new time slot.  The NBC television star will be assuming his place in the 10:00 PM position in mid-September. That means advance advertising. Why should I cover that here, you might ask? Because this might just be the largest radio advertising campaign in NBC’s history.

Collaborating with Katz Marketing solutions and Horizon Media, NBC is turning up the volume as they pave the way for Leno’s new show to debut. Katy Bachman at AdWeek gives us a quick synopsis of the campaign:

The first radio flight airs in 12 top markets, including the 10 markets where NBC has owned-and-operated stations. In a nod to Leno’s new 10 p.m. time slot, the spot airs adjacent to morning traffic reports on the :10s, with 15 seconds of Leno comedy bits followed by a tag reminding viewers to tune in to Jay at 10 p.m.

Beginning Sept. 14, the first day of Leno’s new show, phase two broadens the reach of the campaign into the top 25 markets. Once again timed to air 10 minutes after the hour in morning and afternoon drive, Leno comedy bits are introduced by local personalities as “Comedy from Jay at 10 after the hour” (or 9 after the hour in the Central time zone.)

Horizon and NBC have joined forces before to fantastic effect. Last year, their campaign advertising the NBC comedy Chuck won Media Plan of the Year for the Best Use of Radio. Mediaweek described that campaign as follows:

Taking product placement via radio to new heights, Horizon arranged to buy all the commercial time on stations the day of the premiere. What’s more, five Contemporary Hit Radio stations in five top markets were rebranded as Chuck FM.

It speaks volumes that radio is the media of choice for these campaigns. NBC is quite aware of the incredible reach of the medium or they would not sink so much capital into promoting their TV programs there.  People need to sit down and devote all their attention to TV, whereas radio can be seamlessly integrated into the day’s activities without consuming all of the listener’s attention. Whether driving, working, or doing dishes, radio compliments rather than distracts from the job at hand.

Traditional media and the blogosphere may tout the unverified death of radio, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and NBC has a huge bowl of pudding for Mr. Leno.

Image: Alan Light / CC BY 2.0
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