WGN-AM: A Bride’s Best Friend

Posted on November 18, 2010


Photo by Antonio Perez/Tribune

It is deeply embedded in the DNA of radio stations to rise to the occasion in the face of tragedy. Not only is our medium the primary conduit for transmitting information during an emergency we have also proven repeatedly that we can quickly motivate our audiences to help people displaced by tragedies in our own market or half-way around the world.

Radio’s automatic help reflex was triggered today when the morning show on WGN-AM in Chicago found out about a fire that destroyed Eva’s Bridal, a suburban-Chicago area bridal shop.

No, it wasn’t a flood, tsunami or an earthquake. No one was hurt. But that doesn’t mean more than a few bride’s dreams of the perfect day might have gone up in flames with the shop. That’s when WGN jumped in launching a campaign to unite brides who lost their dress with women who are willing to lend theirs out to those in need.

The dress-swap idea serves to remind us all of several basic tenets of radio and marketing.

First, use all your resources. As you might expect the station sent out a press release about the dress swap plan and posted it on their Web site. But they also went a step further posting the idea on their Facebook page . Go take a look. It’s pretty cool to see how many women are willing to help out. Facebook is crucial because it both creates an easy forum to bring people together and enables the effort to easily expand beyond the station’s typical, significantly older, audience. What great no-cost marketing.

Second, as I’ve written about before, it’s important to stay on target. There’s been no shortage of turmoil inside the Tribune building lately including the highly publicized departure of CEO Randy Michaels and the recent exit of PD Kevin Metheny. The WGN team didn’t let that distract them. They stayed focused and jumped on an opportunity to act as a valuable resource for their listeners.