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Best of the Best: Riding The Radio Waves

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[dropcap cap=B]renda Reichel has owned and operated Carats & Karats on the Hawaiian island of Oahu for more than 20 years. Located three miles from Waikiki Beach, on the mountain side of Diamond Head, Carats & Karats has expanded from 800 to over 1,400 square feet of prime Oahu retail space.[/dropcap]

[componentheading]The Idea[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Connecting with customers[/contentheading]

Best of the Best: Riding the Radio Waves

Create a one-hour, weekly radio show to communicate directly with customers and potential customers about every facet of jewelry.  

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Originally terrified of being on the radio, Reichel joined another jeweler with radio experience to co-host her first one-hour radio show in Honolulu 17 years ago. As time went on, Reichel discovered her talent for conversing freely about all things jewelry, either by herself, or with the many listeners who called in with questions and topics. When her radio partner left, Brenda purchased an hour every week from KWAI-AM, 1080 in Honolulu, where her show, Gem News, has become a radio tradition every Saturday night from 6 to 7. “It’s not a hard sell. I’m really there to inform and give them good information that will lead to more questions,” Reichel says. “It’s not a show that revolves around me. I always tell people if they feel comfortable with their jeweler, that’s fantastic, and I encourage them to stay with them. It’s really about creating trust and a bond with the listeners.”

[componentheading]Execution[/componentheading]

[contentheading]$200 Per Hour[/contentheading]

After studying the market, Reichel decided KWAI was the best home for Gem News. “It doesn’t have the most listeners, but it has the right listeners and its overall tone fits perfectly with the type of show I do,” she says, acknowledging that her weekly fee for the one-hour slot is “a bit lower” than $200 (including three commercial breaks that she can use for her store, or offer to other businesses). Reichel cross-promotes her weekly show with a newsletter and various newspaper columns she writes over the course of the year. Past shows can also be heard on her website, www.caratsandkarats.com.

[componentheading]Rewards[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Trust and Growth[/contentheading]

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“I have gotten a major return of thousands of dollars from my investment,” Reichel says, pointing out an expansion that almost doubled her overall square footage. But she is quick to note her radio experience cannot just be quantified in dollars. “I have become someone people know and trust. They come into the store and say, ‘I love your show.’ Or maybe someone from another island (KWAI’s signal reaches all the Hawaiian islands) will come in to buy something because they heard me. People know I will not mislead them. You can’t put a dollar value on that.”

[componentheading]Try It Yourself[/componentheading]

Best of the Best: Riding the Radio Waves

1. Be willing to commit. It takes longer than 12 weeks to establish a group of loyal listeners.  
2. Know your station’s demographics. Is its core audience your target?  
3. Be comfortable with other programs on the station. Are they in line with your type of show?  
4. Compare station buy rates. They will vary within a market.

[span class=note]This story is from the March 2008 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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