Key to Successful Radio Advertising

Radio advertising presents an opportunity for you to send out a clear and straightforward yet influential message to an intended group of audiences who might be interested in your offerings.

You can plan and create the ad on your own with minimum efforts and then determine the radio station that serves your target market the best. If you are in luck, you may even come across a radio jockey (RJ) with a huge fan following to be personally interested in your product/service and broadcast your message on-air during their show. This will give your radio spot a bonus endorsement push. In essence, radio advertising, when done right, can boost your business dramatically.

Cost of Radio Advertising

Your radio advertisement cost will depend on the length of your radio spot (15, 30, 40, 60 seconds, etc.), its frequency, and time slots during which your ad runs. Typically, the radio audience is at peak during the commuting hours, meaning that morning and evening rush hours generally cost more as compared to the afternoon/midday and late-night ad spots.

Apart from the spots expenses, you also need to consider the ad production cost. Again, this will depend upon your requirements for background music, sound effects, and hiring of professional or amateur actors (like yourself) to read your ad.

Choosing Your Radio Station

The type of radio station you pick to run your advertisement should depend upon your target market. For example, suppose your target audience includes men between the age of 18-30. In that case, you might want to run your commercial on a sports or rock radio station because, ideally, that’s where your intended group of audiences should be spending their time.

Now you know your product/service better than anybody else; therefore, it would be best to write your ad copy yourself. However, just be sure to convey your product/service’s benefits clearly in a way that your audience quickly relates to it.

You Are Buying An Audience, Not An Ad

A radio station actually sells time and also access to different markets. Every radio station’s main feature is its set up – the kind of programs it features and the style of its RJs. A station’s unique format determines the type of audience it appeals to, and the group of audience it provides access to the advertisers. Here are some most common radio station formats:

  • Classical
  • Top 40
  • Urban/Rhythmic
  • All News
  • All Talk
  • Country
  • Adult Contemporary
  • Golden Oldies
  • Easy Listening
  • Progressive Rock

A few local radio stations are partners with national broadcast networks. Stations like these have more reliability as a source of news; therefore, they can cost you more money.

Choose Your Day-Parts: Buying Radio Time

Radio stations plan their schedule to attract specific audiences and then sell those audiences to advertisers in tiny supplements. On average, radio stations have a commercial air time inventory of approx 10-15 minutes an hour, and they sell this time in small supplements of 15, 30, 40, 50, and 60 seconds. However, not every time slot is equally valuable. The number of listeners changes dramatically during the whole day, and the radio advertising rates fluctuate to reflect this shift in the approximated size of the audience your commercial is reaching.

The day is divided into day-parts instead of hours:

The morning drive time 6-10 am enjoys the majority of the listeners. They are the most responsive and approachable during this time, too – all prepared to know the news of the day and also about your offerings.

The midday time, 10 am-3 pm, sees relatively fewer listeners, but these people are often very loyal to a specific radio station. They listen to the radio while they’re working and follow quite a predictable listening routine. If you do the same by running your ad every day at the same time with the same message, you can quickly generate awareness with these audiences.

Afternoon drive time 3-7 pm enjoys almost as many listeners as the morning drive time. But this group of audiences might be in more of a purchasing mood as compared to those rushing to their offices in the morning.

However, the radio listenership sags briskly as soon as people reach home and get out of their cars. The evening typically belongs to the TV. But if you are buying radio spots in a town where the factories run 24/7 uninterrupted, then you might want to focus more on your local radio station’s ratings instead of these interpretations. Radios in the offices can have a persuasive impact.

The evening and late-night day-parts last from 7 pm-12 am and 12-6 am, respectively. During these hours, you will find fewer but extremely staunch radio listeners. These are groups of people who have willingly chosen to listen to the radio instead of watching television. Have the right approach and station format according to your product or service, and the evening hours can reap you great rewards. If you are able to access the right market during these day-parts, it might be the best time slot to purchase.

Radio rates depend upon your chosen day-part, length of your ad spot, and your ad frequency (the number of times your ad will run during a specific time period). Comparing radio advertising with newspaper ads, you can say that the day-part is similar to the particular section of the newspaper where you want your ad to be printed, radio spot length is comparable to the size of your ad, and the ad frequency is identical to the number of days your ad is shown on the newspaper.

Preparing Your Radio Ad Copy

You can choose to create the radio ad copy yourself or hire an agency to do it, or you can even have the radio station prepare it for you. All you need to do is ensure a couple of things:

  • Your ad copy should be able to draw your audience’s attention.
  • Your copy should convey one or two effective, simple, and easily passed on messages that will influence the listeners to purchase what you are offering.
  • The copy must include a clear call-to-action, like a limited-period offer.
  • It should clearly mention what you want the people to do after listening to your ad, for example, your store’s location where they can visit, or your website, or your calling number.
  • Your ad copy should also include plenty of repetition, ideally.

Pro Tip: Even if you choose to create the ad copy yourself and it is just a simple message you want to convey, you shouldn’t read it yourself for your ad no matter how tempting it sounds. You can hire a professional or ask the radio station to get you a good voice that will work best for your ad.


In the world of advertising, a few people like to refer to the radio as the ‘Cinderella medium.’ If everything falls into place – the offer, ad copy, message, radio stations all are right, it can be incredibly successful. Or your radio commercials might meet deaf ears.

For radio advertising to work, repetition is required. It is recommended to run an ad for at least 15 times on the same radio station within a week. Moreover, if you plan to run your ad commercial on a specific radio station for less than 60 times in a month, it would be best if you keep your ads running within a particular time slot only. In this way, you can make sure you are able to reach the same listeners frequently enough to build awareness and perhaps a desire to purchase or at least know more about whatever you are offering them. On the other hand, if you run your ads on an unstable wandering schedule, you might be able to get your ad across the entire audience of a specific radio station. Still, you won’t be able to reach any particular group often enough to influence them to take the desired action.

An excellent way to focus on a particular group of listeners and have an over-and-above influence is to purchase a sponsorship of any daily feature, for example, a sports or news broadcast. A sponsorship will assure that your ad runs at the same time every day and usually affords you a concise ‘sponsored by’ message besides your radio ad spot.

Faults and Frauds

Advertisers, especially the new ones, are often uncertain about whether their ads are running correctly or even running at all. While the sales team would typically address your concern by saying that they have recorded your ad in their operational log as required by the official guidelines and not running them would mean violating the law.

You should never trust a word that these salespeople say. A few significant scandals have been exposed in the past where the radio station was accused of regularly skipping their customers’ ads and still charging them as if they had run all their ad spots according to their contract.

Though skipped ads are quite uncommon, there are chances of them happening, and they might happen to you as well. However, what’s more common is the unsatisfactory presentation of radio ads. This tends to happen even more if a professional reads the whole or even a portion of your ad live. As such, instances were observed a couple of years ago, where most radio shows were making major mistakes in reading the taglines or ad copies. While a few of them ran the wrong ad on a wrong day, some skipped the whole tagline, and some even cut off the ad copy midway.

In a nutshell, you need to track and monitor your radio ads regularly to ensure that you are getting the appropriate exposure worth all the money you are paying and that your ads are satisfactorily being presented.


If your target audience is quite broad and you have tested and run your radio ad on one station, you might want to consider running it on multiple radio stations simultaneously. This practice of broadcasting your TV or radio commercials on different stations at the same time is known as a roadblock. Employing this strategy will help you gain numerous exposures, reach listeners who switch between stations often, and you will tend to benefit more from word-of-mouth or people talking you up after they have come across your ads.

This is a tried and tested strategy that works very well for businesses. However, radio advertising and roadblocks are more likely to work best for companies that can focus a lot of money in one place with ample broadcasting over a long time period.

Negotiating Rates Plays An Important Part In Your Radio Ads

Negotiating rates in radio advertising is where the fun part begins. If you can, then you should wait until an off-season and then reach out to every radio station that serves your target audience. Explain to them clearly the amount of money you are willing to spend on their station or the number of radio slots you want to place. In addition to this, also tell them politely but firmly that you will only be running your ads on stations that offer you the best deal on radio rates. You can also ask for their ratings book or check it out online and then compare it with the size of the audience you will be able to reach through them.

Get bids from all the radio stations and then call them up and tell them that you have not made any decision yet. Ask them if they can do any better than this. If you are determined but polite with them, you will be able to negotiate the rates that are even lower than what giant national advertisers are paying them for large radio spots.

Stay firm with your demand, and you will be amused to see that you can buy radio time for rates that are so much lower than what they have printed in their rate cards. However, keep in mind that not every radio station will have an equal willingness for negotiation.


This was all about radio advertising and how you can run a successful radio ad yourself. All you need to do is keep this simple guide in mind, and you will be all set to rock the stations. Remember, radio advertising is a powerful means to deliver your message to your target audience effectively, but the key lies in the process. The way you do it will determine if it will be successful or not. Do your research well and take time to find the ideal time slot, ad copy, message, station, and rates.

Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for E Global Soft Solutions. E Global Soft Solutions is a digital marketing, seosmoppc and web development company that comes with massive experiences. We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.

SOURCE : Key to Successful Radio Advertising

Comments are closed