Ahead of its release in theaters Friday, highly anticipated Elton John biopic “Rocketman” is getting a full-court press from iHeartMedia. Working with Paramount Pictures, iHeart will stage an hour-long nationwide radio roadblock across 120 stations at 5pm ET/PT today (May 30) and there’s a podcast element to the blitz.
The partnership pays dividends for both parties. On the eve of its Friday opening, Paramount gets an hour in afternoon drive on big stations like AC “Lite 106.7” WLTW and classic rock “Q-104” WAXQ New York; ACs KOST Los Angeles, “93.9 Lite FM: WLIT Chicago and WASH Washington DC; 80s Hits KOSF San Francisco, classic hits “Kool 108” KQQL Minneapolis and many others. The stations get a major score with Sir Elton John himself personally introducing timeless classics like “Your Song,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man,” while sharing inside stories and providing a sneak-peak into the film about his life and music.
Podcasting plays a factor too. Leading up to the afternoon drive roadblock iHeart dropped the new podcast Icons in which Disgraceland’s Jake Brennan conducts a 42-minute interview with Elton John himself. In addition iHeart stations are doing a countdown to Friday’s release of the biopic, which stars Taron Egerton as the flamboyant showman.
With music biopics the hot genre in Hollywood, the creative campaign is the latest example of how film studios are seizing on the obvious synergy of radio and music, using iHeart’s singular scale to build instant awareness. For the Oscar-winning box-office smash “Bohemian Rhapsody,” 650 iHeart stations simultaneously played the title track in a November 2018 partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises. The alliance also included an all-day digital takeover across the iHeartRadio network.
“Music saved me and that’s why there’s music all the way through the film,” Elton John says in the radio special. “It’s been a constant in my life since I was a little boy. It saved me because I still kept working when I was misbehaving and doing drugs…I’m still alive because of that…”