It wasn’t so long ago that using local radio advertising as a primary promotional platform would yield amazing results. In fact, the ad rates per minute would certainly reflect the station’s listener base at various times of the day and night. The problem nowadays is that local radio has become somewhat of a lost art. Due to a serious drop in ad revenue, many station owners have had to consolidate or discontinue having on-air staff altogether. No longer are there very many local live reads or breaks where the listener can connect with the DJ about local news or events. Many stations have chosen to rather use a repeater format and simply syndicate a radio show that operates from a central headquarter station and becomes the live voice on air in cities across a region or even many states. Add to this the trend of pac-man like takeover consolidation and there ends up being almost no chance a local listener base is familiar with the on-air personalities that used to encourage listeners to visit their local business.

On the other hand, these consolidated stations are not losing the ability to air local ads. After all, it’s just another MP3 format file to stick in a time slot and a simple station engineer can program that right into the feed for the day’s programming.

So the real question is whether your target listener is still listening to FM or AM radio or has the majority of the market gone to streaming or satellite where it is commercial free?

Well, here’s the reality. Many markets are still remote enough to have a local on-air presence and local listeners who use their vehicle drive time or in-office overhead music playing local radio. These are areas where younger listeners like Gen Y are not necessarily your target demographic. Knowing your audience age demographic will largely dictate if radio in your area is a good idea. Knowing if your local radio station lineup is truly local is also very helpful. Strictly speaking, when comparing ROI opportunities on a radio campaign versus other forms of advertising, it is important to understand that the messaging of the commercial should have a call to action in order to measure effectiveness. A simple branding commercial is great, but one that includes a CTA is even better.

A CTA should include some method for the listener to identify they heard your commercial. Whether it’s a contest, discount offer, registration for an event, or some other activity, it will be crucial for your budget to determine if your message is being heard. Most radio stations now maintain a social media presence where they offer to tie in your commercial CTA with their social page as well. It’s sort of a 2 for 1 promotional boost. It also provides the station with a clearinghouse to gain more followers for their own benefit but also a way for them to help you measure listener count and CTA results.

What’s never stopped being important is the quality of the 30 or 60 second spot you have produced. Like anything in advertising, you have to grab the attention of someone who may otherwise be tuning out. Some of our personal favorite Superbowl ads are those which make us smile or laugh or even invoke emotion. Radio commercials are a great way to engage your listener with an emotional connection to your message. Even the car dealers who are screaming for you to come visit and have an annoying voice are some that you just can’t forget because of how annoying it is. Whatever the method, having it well produced and possibly include familiar voiceover people or music or something relatable to the listener can be an effective way to guarantee ROI in radio advertising.

Before you rely on some in-house talent to quickly do a vocal read with smooth jazz music underneath, consider having a creative team like here at Day 6 Agency produce a memorable spot for you.



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With a professional sales and marketing career beginning in 1985, I enjoy sharing the wisdom learned in written form as well as public speaking. I’m always sharing new marketing ideas with clients and helping them improve the ones they already have. I look for ways to mentor and am ever a student of business and life.