Last weekend, rocker and gun rights activist Ted Nugent made a speech to the National Rifle Association, comparing President Obama and Democrats to coyotes. “If the coyote’s in your living room pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault,” he said. “It’s your fault for not shooting him.” He went on to remark, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Nugent’s comments gained the attention of the Secret Service, who scheduled a Thursday appointment to talk to him.
On Wednesday, Hofstra University’s public relations firm successfully pitched Fox News Radio (FNR) on interviewing an “expert” who can talk about how celebrities can repair their images after they’ve gone too far with political comments. Hofstra’s University Relations office asked me if I could be available for interviews on several Fox-affiliated radio stations the following morning. Understanding the PR value for the school (and for me!), I said yes.
On Thursday at 6 a.m., I was emailed a schedule. From 7:08 through 10:10 a.m., I talked with 10 radio morning shows from 10 different cities throughout the U.S. I sat by my phone as a Fox producer in New York called a minute or two before I was to go “live” on each station. The interviews each lasted 5-8 minutes; a Florida host interviewed me for 15. I was asked about Nugent and other celebrities who get themselves into trouble, and I suggested that a sincere apology is always a good way to begin healing damage that’s been done to a public image. I added that Ted Nugent doesn’t seem to care much about his image and is not likely to say “I’m sorry” — except maybe to the Secret Service.
The result of all this: Hofstra got mentioned several times on Fox affiliates throughout the country, and morning show audiences heard some (hopefully) good information and got a favorable impression of the university. Ten radio stations got a few minutes of solid programming on an interesting topic, and the PR agency that pitched it got paid. This, ladies and gentlemen, is an example good PR. Your thoughts?