How Get the Best Value from Radio Advertising

Radio gets about 8 percent of all advertising bucks--because radio works. With over 12,000 radio stations in the US alone, radio is everywhere.

Radio is the mobile medium. Few cars have TVs up front, and few drivers can safely read the New York Times while driving. The advertising on radio targets you passively. You don't have to be looking at it or reading it to get the message.

Radio's strength is "drive time", when most people are in their cars driving to and from work. You can sound like a pro when you call them AMD and PMD.

AMD is morning (AM) drive time, typically 6 to 10 am. AMD is traditionally the most expensive radio time because that's when more people listen.

PMD, afternoon (PM) drive, is 4 to 7 pm.

Other radio slots are DAY, 10 am to 4 pm, and EVE, 7 to midnight.

Most radio stations offer two ways to buy ads. Specific placement (I want to be in the Roscoe Billy Bob Show) and ROS (Run of Station) a formula that spreads your announcments into all dayparts, including late night and overnight. Of course there are specials and sponsorships, too.

Here are my tips for buying radio ads

+ Never go over 30 seconds. If you can say the whole Lord's Prayer in 20 seconds, 30 is enough for your business (no matter what the media person says)

+ Buy advertising on the stations that reach your target customers, not the ones you like. Just because you listen doesn't mean everyone does (especially if you like classical music)

+ Buy ads on two or more stations if possible. Few markets have one radio station so dominant that it reaches all the listeners.

+ Buy one week on one station, the next week on the other, and go back and forth. Limit your buy to 4 weeks in any month--two on each station. 48 weeks per year gets the same impact of 52 at less cost.

+ Buy at least 12 ads a week (18 on each if you can afford it) and advertise every other month.

+ Refuse overnight or evening ads. Ask for a package that puts you in AMD and PMD at a discount, since you're placing 400 ads per year per station.

Remember the media salesperson is interested in selling ads, not improving your business. It is up to you to be the expert and make the informed decisions. For more about radio, get my article "Do Your Radio Ads Work?" Send a blank eMail to

2004 BIG Mike McDaniel, Professional Speaker,spent 40 years in radio sales, management and ownership. His BIG Ideas Group helps small business grow with consulting, seminars, resource guides and sales training. Visit
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