Welcome to the COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros

Given the enormous economic uncertainty and the need for brands and non-profits to continue to communicate with the public, we’ve started this guide as a way for you to keep track of what the broadcast media is open to covering.
There are two-parts to this equation. First, what are local news outlets open to covering. We’ll be surveying them on a weekly basis and reporting the results back to you. The second aspect needs to be judged on a case by case basis. Simply, is the message you are trying to convey appropriate during this pandemic and will it benefit your organization and the public in general. Clearly, hard sell messages don’t make a lot of sense right now and you need to be educational in tone or communicating how you are making things easier for customers and importantly, your own employees.
We welcome your feedback as well as what you are hearing during your media communication.

PR Industry Survey: Is the Satellite Media Tour Comeback Real?

After finding out that there was a 21 percent increase in use of satellite media tours and a 38 percent increase in using in-house spokespeople by both brands and the agencies, we conducted a survey to find out if these trends were unique to D S Simon Media or industry wide.


Here is what 70 PR professionals (brand and agency communicators) had to say:


Nearly 1/3 are increasing or considering increasing their use of SMTs. Close to 90 percent are either increasing their consideration of SMTs or staying the same. Those findings align with the growth that we have been seeing. In terms of featuring in-house spokespeople in satellite media tours, the industry is evenly split. Whether they are increasing or decreasing featuring in-house spokespeople in their satellite media tours, both of those numbers are 23 percent.


The most important finding is that the satellite media tour comeback seems to be real and sustainable.



PR Prepares to Tackle Coronavirus: Olympics Spotlight

This year’s Olympics have 13 worldwide partners and hundreds of other brands engaged in sponsorships at multiple levels. Brands who have invested time and money in these partnerships have to be thinking the same thing:
What will be the effect of the coronavirus on the games and on their brand sponsorship?
The number one thing they need to be communicating is their continued support of and commitment to the athletes. Whether the games move forward or not or reschedule they should use the period of training leading up to the Olympic trials to promote their participation and their commitment to the athletes. They need to be thinking about moving up their Olympics promotions calendar to deal with the uncertainty caused by the virus.



Kate Huyett, CMO at Bombas on the Rapid Rise of the DTC Sock Brand

Kate Huyett tells D S Simon Media CEO, Doug Simon, the story of Bombas, the brand that boasts in making “the most comfortable socks in the history of feet.” She touches on the charity mission of the DTC brand, and its importance to the company’s appeal. Kate also discusses the rising importance of television in building your brand’s message authentically.


Follow Bombas:

Stephen Kuhl, Co-founder and CEO at Burrow on Launching a Successful DTC Brand

Stephen Kuhl tells D S Simon Media CEO, Doug Simon, what inspired him and his co-founder, Kabeer Chopra, to start Burrow, a DTC furniture company. He also expands on the marketing and communications techniques that are key to the brand’s success, including the importance of using storytelling to enhance the company’s message and make it more personal.


Follow Burrow:

Using AI To Predict & Deliver On Consumer Demand for the Big Game

1.3 billion wings, 12 million slices of pizza, 14 billion hamburgers, and 51.7 million cases of beer— how do the right products get delivered to the right places, in the right amounts, in time for all the Big Game parties? AI-powered supply chain technology is playing a leading role says industry leader LLamasoft. LLamasoft works with many of the country’s largest food and beverage manufacturers to predict this year’s hottest snacks and tackle the logistical challenges of making sure the right amount of snacks are in stores before game day.

LLamasoft’s CEO, Razat Gaurav, conducted more than 25 television and radio interviews across the country to discuss how companies are using AI to sense or predict consumer demand for their most beloved snacks and beverages during one of the biggest food consumption days of the year.

Learn more about satellite media tours here.

Satellite Media Tours Are Making a Comeback

Satellite media tours are making a comeback with a 21% increase on SMT spending in 2019. The reasons? While it’s harder than ever to get your story on cable or network news, our brand visibility report showed that there’s a greater opportunity to get your experts and spokespeople on local news. The average local TV news station will spend less than 25% of its newscasts on politics in 2020. A second reason, a 38% increase in use of internal spokespeople in satellite media tours as brands and non-profits look to get their leaders on television

Learn more about satellite media tours here.


Happy Holidays from D S Simon Media 2019

We wanted to show our appreciation to our clients, partners and friends during the holiday season. It’s been our tradition that we express this thanks by contributing to causes our employees are actively engaged in.

We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!


This year, our donations include these charities:

The D.R.A.W
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Crossroads Community Services
Lift Our Voices
Sierra Club
The Nature Conservancy
Albanian Roots
Lustgarten Foundation
POAC Autism Services
A Walk on Water
Doctors Without Borders
A Call to Men


Deadline is December 15th to get health insurance at Healthcare.gov

You probably didn’t know that 2 out of 3 Americans who use Healthcare.gov pay $10 or less for their insurance coverage. Many of the nearly 28 million Americans who are uninsured might not even know about this. That’s why, it was so gratifying to work with Get America Covered on a satellite media tour campaign featuring their CEO, Joshua Peck, and Former US Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. In this video, she shared information about the program and what you need to know to sign up at healthcare.gov. You can find state specific information here.


Learn How to Choose the Right Spokesperson For Your Brand

Communication executives from leading brands, like Macy’s and Danone North America, discussed how to effectively use your brand spokespeople and shared tips on how to train internal experts and prepare for interviews.

Learn how to get your story on the news here.

Watch the full discussion here.



Doug Simon, CEO, D S Simon Media


Orlando Veras, Director of National Media Relations, Macy’s, Inc.

Michael Neuwirth, Senior Director, External Communications, Danone North America

Jeanne M. Salvatore, President, JMS Consulting and Former Chief Communications Officer of the Insurance Information Institute



Doug Simon: How do you work with in-house spokespeople in past sometimes when they’re yourself?

Michael Neuwirth: One of the character traits that I look for in a good internal spokesperson is their ego. How important do they express themselves to be.

Doug Simon: So, is a big ego better or worse?

Michael Neuwirth: Big ego is a bad thing because you’re putting the cart before the horse. Yeah and we’ve got it we’ve got to drive home an understanding of why we’re doing this for the broader for the better for the bigger good if you will whether it’s to promote a brand or a company or program. It’s not about the person delivering the message. And so, avoiding that painful pitfall is really a character assessment that’s then. Then I’ll get to a skills assessment. So, I look for humility and someone who’s fundamentally in service to the brand the project the company overall.

Orlando Veras: First of all, we always try to find an internal spokesperson for any area of business that we cover. I think it’s really more important to have that authenticity of someone who does the workday to day but in sometimes with a scale of some of the elements and products that we have. You know that person still has to do their day to day job and so in some cases we have to step in and serve as that spokesperson as well. So, for us we just need to be kind of jack of all trades to be able to know as much as we can about different areas of business so that we’re able to speak intelligently about those problems.

Jeanne Salvatore: I just want to add that frequently subject matter experts build relationships with journalists and those journalists just feel more comfortable interviewing that person they know they’ve worked with them they know what they’re going to get especially with broadcast. So, and we would encourage that those relationships were very important.

Michael Neuwirth: One area I would add is that look in the dark corners for your internals experts the people who are not running to the front of the line raising their hands saying I want to be on camera I want my mom to see this. And you know that’s important because they will likely have the expertise, they are likely coachable as we all are, and their humility can become a huge strength for harnessing in the business.

Doug Simon: With that let’s move on to the preparation section. So, we’re talking about working with our in-house experts. How do you pick the right talent?

Orlando Veras: Yeah it starts, you know you do some interviews you do some internal interviews obviously you find out the kind of the area of business Who owns it and who may be in that realm. And then you just do some quick interviews to kind of get gauge their personality the you know how familiar are with the content. And then once you’ve decided that you know you may have one or two of these folks, we generally do an extensive media training to really go through every scenario possible. You know whether that person is never ever going to be on television because of the area of business that they have is just doesn’t lend itself to broadcast but we. That’s how we train them because like that’s the hardest thing to do.

Michael Neuwirth: It’s a practice it’s simulation simulation simulation and at different levels of difficult at different difficulty levels and we escalate until we realize that that person is a green and they’re ready to go. But before then we’re not going to let him out of the gate.

Jeanne Salvatore: You know somebody who does interviews a lot becomes oh this is easy. And that’s when problems start that’s when you say things that are off key. You become too comfortable with the journalist. So, you know I would always recommend that you have. It’s like you start fresh almost that you prepare for each interview as if you’ve never done one before.