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The evolution of broadcast PR

Broadcast media has evolved over the years and the way marketing and PR campaigns are carried out has also evolved to exploit the wider opportunities it presents. Here is a quick look at how broadcasting has changed over the last century.

Early 20th century

Before PR, digital media, video, television, radio, magazines and newspapers, a town crier would ring his bell to announce that particular day’s latest news. Media has evolved – and has provided opportunities for businesses, charities, organisations and individuals to tell their stories to the world.

Public relations began to emerge as a recognised way to promote brands and organisations early in the 20th century. As PR evolved as an industry, broadcast technology was also developing, with the rise in prominence of radio, but initially, radio broadcasts were operated on a national governmental level

1940s to 1960s

PR was now transitioning to the private sector. As well as radio being commonplace, television started to become a much more common addition in people’s homes. The first ever television advert had already aired as early as 1941, but the 1950s and 1960s were considered as the golden age for advertising.

Daniel Edelman created the first ‘media tour’ in the USA when he travelled the country with The Toni Twins and demonstrated the quality of the hair products he was promoting. He recognised the power of broadcast promotion before others did and his campaign involved travelling around the US to appear on various TV shows. Edelman went on to start his own PR company and the Edelman name remains a PR powerhouse to this day.

During this period it became recognised that the story behind a PR campaign and the representation of the client were critical in building powerful relationships with brands and their customers.


In 1980, CNN was launched. It was the first 24 hour news channel and meant that news could be reported as it happened, not just in scheduled broadcast slots. This also meant that there was a greater need for more stories, as there were more hours to fill, and created a big opportunity for broadcast PR to provide content.


The emergence of online platforms and the prominence of satellite television were major milestones for broadcast PR. There was a wide choice of radio and television options and PR campaigns could be targeted at very specific individual segments, based on the platforms they would appear on and their audiences.

2000s to the present day

The emergence of social media and streaming services has changed the media landscape and had a major impact on the way PR campaigns are conducted, although securing good content for radio and television audiences is still a key component of countless successful PR and marketing campaigns.

Broadcast media will continue to evolve and the experience and expertise of a broadcast PR agency remains the best route to securing good content on radio and television, that delivers a brand’s key messaging to its target audience.

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