Unless you are a chef, pet owner, celebrity or fashion show producer, you don't have much of a shot at getting your calls or emails returned from Chicago TV morning producers. The good news is that for some organizations, you may not need to completely rely on these sleep-deprived sentries to get morning TV coverage in Chicago.
Witness the effort of a hearty band of podiatrists in town for the Midwest Podiatry Conference a couple of weeks ago. My client was able to recruit about two dozen colleagues, print out a sign from Kinko's and march up to the Channel 5 and Channel 7 windows that face inward towards the studio. In both cases, staff from each station came out and talked to our group. All we needed to do was hand them the news release that explained that the podiatrists were in town for the meeting and collecting used shoe donations for Haiti earthquake victims for the group Share Your Soles.
Before you undertake this effort and pass up the chance to sleep in, here are a few tips that will help you decide if this is right for your group or client:
1) Are you a non profit group engaged in something altruistic or not blatantly profit seeking?
2) Do you have a group large enough to make a good showing? The podiatrists probably would have canceled had they not recruited a group of two dozen members.
3) Get a colorful sign. Kinko's printed the IPMA banner for $140.
4) Timing is everything. Know when the stations are on and off the air and allow enough time to move from one to the other.
5) Have a news release. Staff from both stations asked for it and Channel 7 read portions of it on the air.