The sales team at Emmis' in Indy just launched a web site - www.nomoreremotes.com which announces the 'death' of the radio remote. They go on to launch other vehicles for clients to gather more value added and be more 'woven' into the station's programming both on line and on air. While we've all heard the bad remote with long winded sales pitches from the jocks who have lost complete track of time or even worse having the whole sales team from a used car lot come on one by one to proclaim the advantages of zero down.
At the same time in many smaller markets the radio remote is a great vehicle to interact with the community and a pretty big source of revenue. It's also the ultimate gamble. Sitting there with little traffic as the client paces and proclaims that radio doesn't work is no way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
We've all seen remotes that work for both the station and the client, but it takes a lot more than a nice truck, a few banners and a logo display tent with a few bumper stickers and CDs to pass out. You have to have time to plan and the client has to understand that they have to have something that will draw the audience.
I can remember when I just started running board at an AM station on the weekends while in college. Every Sunday afternoon they would haul out the little brown trailer to a local furniture store and do a 4 hour remote. I got to run the board and make some cash and the jock got a remote fee, but the audience and the client got nothing. Most Sunday's there was little traffic for the store and the jock just hung out in the little trailer - once in a while the audience driving by would honk to get on the air during a break.
Imagine if that weekly client had saved his exposure to just 1 remote a month and really had something going on at the remote. Maybe a noteworthy local interior designer or free art work for the walls, or a real 'event' during the remote. Then he would have had something to say and could make it worthwhile for everyone. The client and the sales team needs to understand that you should either be promoting an event (where a remote can help if it's really and event) or building your brand where you will be better off with a normal spot that is done well enough to stick in the audience's head. Speak when you have something to say and you will get results.