Casting about for topics to pitch an editor? Here’s a source of story ideas you might have overlooked: local news talk radio stations.
News radio stations have to fill airtime 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s a lot of 30- to 45-second stories to tell. In between news headlines on the half hour, traffic and weather “on the eights” (or the fives or the tens), and the commentary, the nooks and crannies are filled with great topics that you can mine for inspiration — seasonal hints, interesting citizens, notable businesses, winning teams, and upcoming events. Just find your own slant, identify some interview prospects, and serve. Just be sure to give credit where it is due, when appropriate; it will show your professionalism and your attention to detail. (“Hey, he really did his research!”)
Pitching to a magazine that serves a regional market that you don’t know much about? Look for nearby news stations that stream their broadcasts live on the web. You can find stream lists in your media player, by visiting stream broadcasters like Live365, or by consulting online station directories such as Streaming Radio Guide. If you want to really fine-tune your search, Radio-Locator lets you search by Zip code, station call letters, and topic.
Like electricity, radio is always there, waiting for you to plug in.