Kentucky Air Guard using new tools for recruiting

By Master Sgt. Philip Speck 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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This magazine advertisement, which appears in the centerfold of the 2012-2013 ESPN 680 College Basketball Guide, promotes the Kentucky Air National Guard’s college tuition assistance benefits. The ad is part of a new targeted-recruiting initiative. (Courtesy photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Air National Guard is now using local radio and magazine ads to capture the attention of potential recruits.

The new targeted campaign, which began in November, includes radio advertisements aimed at prior service members and magazine ads designed to appeal to students who want help paying for college tuition, according to Master Sgt. Tommy Caruso, 123rd Airlift Wing Recruiting Office supervisor.

The radio ads are being broadcast on ESPN 680, a local AM sports station, while the magazine ads appear in the centerfold of the ESPN 680 College Basketball Guide, a full-color compendium of statistics, profiles, schedules and tournament brackets. The guide is being distributed at local businesses and during games for the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Indiana University.

Caruso said the new effort is a more effective use of recruiting dollars than handing out promotional items at job fairs and local schools.

“If you buy a backpack or a pencil, you’re only reaching one person, but by buying a 30-second radio ad you can exponentially increase exposure to your target audience,” he noted.

With local college basketball teams starting the season at the top of the rankings, the partnership with ESPN radio was an easy choice to get the Air Guard message to the masses, he added.

Master Sgt. Brett Dew, recruiting and retention superintendent for the Kentucky Air National Guard, said the campaign also is an excellent fit for the unit’s goal of recruiting a diverse and robust group of Airmen that reflects the local population.

“With college sports not knowing a color or creed, it’s a perfect tool for diversity recruiting,” he said.

Caruso said the radio ads are already getting some attention.

“Since the radio ads have started to run, we’ve seen a slight bump in prior-service applicants.”

Future ads are planned to help fill job vacancies in advanced computer fields and to find individuals interested in technology.  Others openings in the health profession are being advertised in national medical journals, Caruso said.

 “We are trying to get the right message to the right people at the right time,” he said.

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