Fall 1988 // Volume 26 // Number 3 // Ideas at Work // 3IAW2

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Time Out for Parents


Jan Scholl
4-H Specialist, Home Economics
University of Wyoming-Laramie

Parents sitting in their cars waiting for their children after school gave me an idea for a radio program designed for parents who couldn't attend other educational programs because of work, cost, travel, or confinement to the home.

Weekday radio programs, 10 minutes long, included topics of interest to parents who could listen in their cars outside the school, during a coffee break, or in their homes. Transcripts were available for those who missed the program or wanted additional information.

Programming included parent interviews, tips on health and safety, growth and development, toys, encouraging children, travel, etc. Each program ended with an easy-to-prepare dish for dinner that would allow children to take part in the preparation or afford the parent more time to be with the family.

This program was designed around an extensive marketing plan interwoven with a schedule of traditional program planning activities - a likely reason for its success.

Program Planning and Promotion Plan:

    6 months in advance

  • Meet with Extension advisory group and other parent-oriented groups about the potential of a radio program for parents.
  • Share idea with other community agencies, school board, ministerial association, adult education administrators, home economists, etc.
  • Interview a sample of parents.

    4 months in advance

  • Work with a subcommittee to plan for promotion, content, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Write several sample programs. Record one of them.
  • Review with several Extension and other professionals and improve.

    3 months in advance

  • Obtain radio station approval for programs and find sponsors, if needed.
  • Determine arrangements and initial dates for taping and airing of programs.
  • Visit and inform groups and agencies of progress.
  • Contact agents in counties where radio program will be aired.
  • Develop a logo for promotion and publicity.

    2 months in advance

  • Outline a block plan of radio programs for one month.
  • Develop pre-registration materials for parents.
  • Send information to secretaries and other staff to help answer questions.
  • Order educational materials and contact guest interview speakers.
  • Make appointment to tape first week's programs.

    4 weeks in advance

  • Mail radio spots or produce them at station.
  • Set up displays in laundromats, libraries, colleges, day care centers, Head Start, and supermarkets. Get help from Extension Homemakers groups.
  • Deliver announcements to school district to be included with pre-registration materials. Put flyers in libraries, churches, and local businesses and agencies.
  • Include announcement in newspaper.
  • Continue to assemble ideas and materials.

    3 weeks in advance

  • Include announcement in homemaker and 4-H newsletters, agency newsletters, and at all Extension programs. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Tape first week of radio programs.

    2 weeks to 1 week in advance

  • Release news and radio articles on a continuing basis.
  • Mail in television calendar news release.
  • Keep preparing for programs and news releases.

    1 week in advance

  • Put fliers on cars in designated areas.

    1st and 2nd weeks after initial program

  • Continue with radio, newsletter, and television spots.
  • Write a follow-up story for the newspaper.

    Third week after initial program

  • Phone participants who'd requested information to measure impact.
  • Decide whether to continue program.
  • Send program plans, evaluations, and success stories to supervisor, press, advisory committee, key individuals, legislators, and radio station officials.
  • Send thank you notes.

A marketing plan, combined with program planning techniques, allowed me to use a variety of marketing strategies and continually check my progress. Planning and advertising together hastened community exposure and the best marketing tool, "word-of-mouth," took over from there.