Radio listeners have a special relationship with this medium because there is a loyalty to the radio station. Compare this to television viewers who tend to be loyal for their specific news programming and are then loyal to the particular programs they like to watch, regardless of the network they are aired on. Radio listeners, on the other hand, tend to be loyal to the station and format
Radio is well targeted by station and format. This lends itself to reach as many consumers as you can in your target audience and as many times as is effective to drive them to take the required action.
For your radio advertising campaign, you want to "reach" a large audience and then use supplementary media that can make sure that your market hears the message more than once or twice. This is why radio is called a "frequency" media. So with radio as a frequency medium you want to have enough radio spots running on the stations in your campaign for your target market to hear multiple times per week. For example, if you wanted to target an audience that typically listens to a Pop radio format, you will want to run a radio schedule on that particular station with enough spots each week throughout each day that will reach your audience.
Radio can also be targeted by block of time. Radio does give you the option to reach your audience right before they are going to make a purchase decision. Let's take for instance if your business is closed on the weekend, you will want to advertise only during the weekdays so that your message is front and center before a potential customer come to your store.
Not to dissimilar to TV, you can evaluate radio stations by looking at their ratings. Each block time has a rating that is measured independently by Arbitron. Arbitron is a media research firm supporting media, advertising and ad agencies in the United States. This allows a station to tell you the percentage of your target market that your advertising spot is reaching for any particular time period.
According to Arbitron radio reaches more than 228 million people in the United States. With a population of 300 million, radio advertising will help you reach 94% of the U.S. population. Let's not forget that radio is mobile. Mobile not only meaning in the car, but also at work and many radio stations now stream their programming on the Internet expanding their reach beyond the local market. Imagine your audience being one click away from making a purchase on your website outside of your market!
Radio is an ideal advertising medium for local businesses, but running an effective commercial campaign may require some expertise.
The advertisements (or commercials) are flexible with radio than they are for TV. You can change the creative with short notice and production costs are much less than with TV. Radio ad fees can be discussed quarterly and if you are committed you can negotiate annually. Pricing will be dictated based on supply and demand and negotiating your radio commercials early will prevent you from paying premiums.
The good news about radio is that this is a much more stable medium when it comes to programming and programming consistency compared to TV. For example program schedules cannot be canceled with less than two weeks from the start.
While we have discussed programming schedules relative to running your commercials on radio, there is more to radio advertising than schedules. You will find most stations have events or promotions during the year and allow you to sponsor. Radio stations are also known to create custom promotions just for you.