I recently uncovered my father’s antique shortwave radio from the back of a dusty closet. Before satellite radio and podcasts, shortwave radio was used for long distance communication across oceans as the “short waves” could travel around the curve of the Earth, allowing a kid in Queens (me) to magically tune in to a transmission from Istanbul.
Today, shortwave radios are mostly used by hobbyists and governments. While some PR professionals ignore radio as a tactic, steering clients towards social media, the truth is—traditional radio stations – AM, FM and public radio – are alive and well. According to a report by Arbitron in 2012, 242.1 million persons aged 12 and older tune to radio each week. And a 2012 study by the Pew Institute revealed the vast majority of Americans use or own an AM/FM radio, and at a level that has remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years.
We always suggest consideration of radio as a proactive PR and advertising tactic when crafting an integrated communications campaign. Depending on who you are trying to reach (Moms, urban men, teens etc.) you can target your ads and news pitches to a specific audience. Here are our quick tips:
If you want to get your story heard on radio, the first step is to research stations and shows that are interested in your story. Promoting a pet product company or animal welfare nonprofit? Good news – there are many nationally syndicated and local radio shows focused solely on animals. We work with these shows and hosts all the time and because they have large blocks of time to fill each week, they are always looking for interesting guests and story ideas.
There are many pluses to radio ads: a 30-second radio ad is considerably less expensive than a TV ad and can be produced very quickly, unlike a TV ad. This is a plus when you need to promote a last minute upcoming event. And don’t forget – if you’re a registered 501c3 not for profit, radio stations will offer you a significant discount on airtime. We’ve successfully negotiated prices down for our clients by more than 50%. Nonprofits can also qualify for free Public Service Announcement (PSA) time.
In short, we love radio! It’s a medium that has helped us score many ad and PR successes for our clients. Want to learn more? Drop us a line.