TCI Hits a PR High for Client

Listen to Bill Heenan’s interview with Metro Radio Networks

By Debra Zimmerman Murphey

Through its Radio Media Tour services, the work Tobin Communications, Inc. does is part of the foundation of some of the most diverse, interesting and effective public relations efforts in the industry today.

TCI knows that building brand loyalty for our clients, increasing public awareness of critical issues, educating consumers and adding to the marketplace of ideas are among our daily achievements.

Because of our media contacts and know-how, our clients have collectively been able to inform millions of Americans about a myriad of life-effecting topics. We help publicize projects headed by trade associations, non-profits and Fortune 500s. Campaigns encompass news about technology advancements, drugs that improve lives and studies that shed light on issues in the media.

But don’t just take our word for it. Just ask Bill Heenan, president of The Steel Alliance.

For the past two years, Heenan has relied on TCI to help the six-year-old organization get the word out about its “Nerves of Steel” campaign, increase traffic on the alliance’s Web site and educate consumers about the advantages of steel.

The Steel Alliance’s mission includes highlighting the importance steel plays in consumers’ lives by using messages that resonate with the public. For instance, in reminding drivers that steel is the last line of defense against injury in a car accident, the trade association has devised some creative ways of keeping steel and the alliance’s causes top-of-mind.

Among those efforts has been its “Nerves of Steel Safety Grade” and complementary “Rudeness Ranking.” With a continued focus on the issue of aggressive driving – a subject covered extensively in the media – the alliance grades the safest and most polite places in the country to drive as well as those cities where speeding, horn blowing and obscene gestures are more the norm.

As the alliance’s Radio Media Tour company of choice, TCI has gotten Heenan countless hours of radio time to talk about this report card.

Media hits included Metro Radio Networks (with approximately a thousand affiliates nationwide); WTOP-AM (Washington, D.C.); WIOD-AM (Miami, Fla.): WGN-AM and WBBM-AM/FM (Chicago, Ill.); KRLD-AM (Dallas, Texas); and WOMC-FM (Detroit, Mich.)

Part of the goal of the campaign is to draw people to the alliance’s Web site, During interviews with radio station journalists, Heenan asks their listeners to go online and sign the alliance’s safe-driving pledge. The plus for visitors is that they are entered into a contest for a roadside kit when they sign the pledge.

Heenan is emphatic that the radio interviews are vital to the alliance’s public relations strategies and integrated communications plans. How does he know this?

He measures the campaign’s outcomes against the alliance’s PR goals. Case in point: After interviews on two radio stations in Missouri, for example, the alliance’s Web site saw a subsequent 300 percent spike in hits.

“We had the story, but Maury had the vehicle to get the information out there. To put it another way, we had the gas, but Maury had the car,” Heenan says of TCI’s president Maury Tobin.

Overall, from combined radio, TV and print earned media, the campaign has generated more than 100 million impressions, according to Heenan.

Debra Zimmerman Murphey is a VP with Tobin Communications, Inc. and a former senior editor of PRNEWS.