Effective Radio Advertising Schedules

“I hear you on the radio all the time!” That’s when you know you have a good radio schedule.

There are 3 key components to an effective radio schedule:

  1. Targeted Reach- you want to reach as many of your prospective customers as possible.
  2. Frequency- repetition, repetition, repetition. You want them to hear your message over and over again so they hear it, understand it and take action. Research shows that an average consumer needs to hear your ad at least 3 to 4 times during the course of a week to process the information they hear and respond to it.
  3. Duration- don’t expect miracles to happen overnight, within a week, or even a month. It takes a commitment of three to four months for your advertising to reach maximum impact. When you get it there, you want to sustain it. See the Buyers Awareness Cycle for more information on this.

Assuming you’ve found the right radio station that reaches your target customer, here are some tips on achieving a good frequency.

The Ideal Schedule
If you have the budget for it, ask your AE to provide you with a schedule that distributes spots throughout all of the stations dayparts (morning drive, mid-day, afternoon drive, nights and weekends) throughout the week at a Frequency of 4.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to run 4 spots per week. Most stations use a software program with data provided by Arbitron that measures the average length of time their listeners tune in and out of their station. It calculates the amount of spots needed so their average listener will hear your ad 4 times.

The frequency goal used to be 3, but in this modern age of technology, we are so bombarded with messages that we need a frequency of 4 to cut through the clutter and grab someone’s attention.

When you get a proposal back with the cost of this schedule and you haven’t suffered a heart attack from sticker shock, then great. Run that schedule every other week for the rest of the year. If you have money left in your budget, go through the same process and buy your next radio station the same way. You can alternate weeks, unless you’re running a time sensitive promotion, like a sale.

If you’re experiencing chest pains from sticker shock, read on…

radio advertising schedule

Own A Daypart
If you can’t afford to reach every listener on a station, it’s better to achieve frequency by reaching a sub-group. Select a daypart that’s affordable and buy at least 2-3 spots per day, every day.

This method takes a little longer to work and requires a bit of patience on your part, but it does work. Duration is key here. What is a daypart? View our daypart chart.

Own Part of the Week
Radio stations tend to sell most of their inventory with spots that run towards the latter half of the work week- Wednesday through Friday. Because there’s a high demand for those days, they charge higher rates. That leaves the weekend, Monday and Tuesday more open. Negotiate a great deal by requesting those days of the week for your schedule.

Generally, radio listening tends to drop on the weekend so rates tend to be priced accordingly. But radio listening is about the same on Monday and Tuesday as it is Wednesday through Friday. So, if you’re not advertising a fire sale that’s happening over the weekend, you can typically get 25% off spots that run Monday and Tuesday, especially if you commit to a long term contract, which you ought to do to get results.

At the very minimum, you need to run 8 spots per day to make this schedule effective–2 spots per daypart (morning, mid-day, afternoon, and nights). Running 3 spots per daypart, or 12 spots per day is ideal, if you can afford to run this every week for a long duration.