ABOUT LA RADIO SPECIALIST
Drive sales, leads, awareness, acquisition and search with the power of sound.
First let's agree, radio has many different forms these days; terrestrial (traditional AM/FM), High Definition (HD), streamed over the internet, satellite and podcasts – like Meet the Personalities and iDriveSoCal, both our creations. In the end, it's all audio content - programming and advertising, marketing, promotion (some type of monetization component). We look at the medium of audio differently and make all forms of it work.
Story SellingStories sell - period.
The Power of SoundThe most powerful tool in storytelling is sound. Sound minus visual images creates the ‘theater of the soul.’ Watch a horror movie with the sound turned off and what you’re left with is humorous rather than scary. Crank up the volume on that same horror movie and listen to it without watching the screen. You’re guaranteed a rush of anxiety. This holds true with any emotion – try the same exercise with your favorite Seinfeld episode.
Sound drives emotion and emotion sells - radio epitomizes both. Moreover, when emotional sounds are delivered by your invisible best friend (radio personality) riding shot-gun in your car or talking with you through your earbuds in the gym – bingo! Radio ads work like crazy.
The Power of PeopleWhen the on-air talent reads an advertiser’s commercial - that is referred to as an endorsement. And endorsement advertising is always the most effective radio advertising you can execute. Here's why; the on-air personality that the listener has a relationship with 'vouches for' your businesses. The personality transfers their credibility (their relationship) with their listeners to your business. And when those listeners are even somewhat in-market for what you are offering they buy from you because they trust the on-air personality with which, in their souls, they share a relationship.
And this is where we come in. We work closely with business leaders as well as on-air talent and celebrities to craft stories and execute campaigns that drive sales.
Who we work with?We work with entrepreneurial, B2C and B2B, leaders who want to exponentially grow their business - market-by-market and or nationwide. They are typically new to radio and have maximized their online and mobile advertising. They're ready for next-level growth. If your business isn't growing already then we're probably not the best fit to work together.
Why work with us?Accountability. Experience. Expertise. Painful honesty. Exclusivity. We obsess over our clients return on investment. We educate ourselves in your industry and business and we educate you in ours. We have a wealth of resources. We know the success formulas and how to apply them for maximum ROI. We never stop measuring, innovating and improving your ROI. We under-promise, over-deliver, delight our clients and have references to prove it. We tell it like it is - bad and good. And if we decide to work together we guarantee to work with no other business in your category.
Market & Competitive Analysis
Insight delivery of the marketplace and your company’s potential.
Media Planning & Buying
All top and emerging markets, networks, formats, podcasts, and more...
Gold is woven here - true alchemy.
The right messaging is critical - it's our (healthy) obession.
We have all the toys and produce everything including podcasts!
Thousands of hours created many, awards received - TV, video, radio, podcasts.
RADIO ADVERTISING 101
So, you want to grow your business with radio… I bet you have at least a few of the below questions on your mind.
When properly planned, created and executed, radio advertising works phenomenally well. However, radio advertising can also fail to live up to expectations. But what are the differing factors and how do you assure success with your radio campaign?
To the right (or below - depending on your screen size) are some of the most common questions we hear from prospective new advertisers. Each of them has a different answer depending on your specific business, market condition and a myriad of surrounding factors. They are all smart questions, targeted toward determining if radio advertising will work for your business.
This site was originally written in 2007 to address the fundamentals of radio advertising in laymen's terms. Many technological advances have impacted the way audible content and ads are distributed but the fundamentals of making radio ads work remain the very same and always will.
Radio is a medium of reach and frequency. The basic budgetary question to ask when considering radio is “how many people can I afford to reach, frequently enough for my message to take hold with an audience?”
Many new radio advertisers contact me and ask “what are the rates or what does it cost?” The honest answer is “as low as $5 per spot and as high as $2,500 and more!” Mild variance, wouldn’t you agree? And oh yeah, you need a bunch of spots over a long period of time for your radio advertising to work. Starting to get confused? Sorry, that’s not by design… while the business may seem simplistic from a listeners point of view the inner-workings can be surprisingly complex in comparison.
The bigger the station’s audience, the more people you reach and the more people you reach the more you can expect to pay, regardless of the station the largest audiences are listening during radio’s primetime hours – Monday through Friday 5AM to 8PM.
The most popular stations have the largest listenership and cost the most to advertise on. The less popular stations with smaller audiences cost less to run commercials.
See below to take some of the mystery out of typical costs of advertising in the Los Angeles Radio market - the largest market in the United States by way of radio revenue. (New York city has more people but generates less revenue - think subway commuting.) Tier 1 stations reach the most listeners while Tier 3 stations reach the least. Please note – these figures are approximate examples and will vary.
Approximate minimum weekly on-air radio campaign expenditure in Los Angeles:
Primetime / Monday – Friday 5A-8P
Tier 1 stations start @ approximately $12,500 + weekly
Tier 2 stations start @ approximately $8,750 + weekly
Tier 3 stations start @ approximately $3,500 + weekly
How many spots does my business get for the above mentioned weekly prices?
That depends. Rates fluctuate from station to station, week to week. It’s a supply and demand business… there’s only 24-hours in a day and only so many of those hours can be used for commercials. When many different advertisers pressure a station’s inventory rates will rise.
The investment levels listed above are general in terms of a station's audience size and reaching that audience with your message frequently enough for a frequency of three on a week with average demand for airtime in the Los Angeles market.
What’s a frequency of three? A general rule of thumb in radio, a three frequency is the minimum number of times the average radio listener needs to be exposed to your businesses message before they can be expected to take action.
Non-primetime hours can offer great opportunity to gain entry to the audience of a Tier 1 radio station’s audience without diving into the expense of a primetime investment.
Off-prime or non-prime includes nights, weekends and overnights. Depending on the station these time periods may be more or less opportune for your business to capitalize.
Some stations price their weekends nearly the same as their primetime. Some have evening programs that advertisers fill up faster than that same station’s primetime schedule. Each radio station is going to have its unique set of non-prime programming and advertising circumstances.
Tier 1 stations start @ approximately $5,500 + weekly
Tier 2 stations start @ approximately $3,750 + weekly
Tier 3 stations – You probably don’t want to run commercials here.
The cost of advertising during non-prime hours on a Tier 3 station is… basically losing your advertising investment dollars.
Because 95% of the time there’s not a large enough audience to successfully advertise solely during non-prime hours on a Tier 3 station.
Many Tier 3 stations reserve their non-prime hours for block programming – a specialty vehicle for radio programming / infomercials. Also known as sponsored programming, block programming can provide great ROI for advertisers. See Block Programming below.
Also known as sponsored or paid programming; block programming simply refers to an entire show that has been paid for by a sponsor.
Block programming can be used in many different ways. It might be used as a branding tool for consistent flow of information from a source that wants to be considered a credible expert and thought leader in a space. Under the right circumstances, it can also be used as an effective direct response vehicle.
Block programming can be surprisingly inexpensive. However it can also be easily bungled. It’s not right for many businesses but there are definitely applications where this type of radio advertising can deliver great return on investment.
Each radio station, whether AM or FM (or HD, streamed online or podcast) has a demographic profile of primary listeners that an advertiser ought to direct their attention. It’s not so much the type of music being played or the topics being discussed but the listeners who are attracted to that programming.
How many people are listening? Are they male or female? How old are they? What’s their average income? How are they employed? Etc.
However, audiences listen to music and talk stations differently. And since Talk Radio is generally found on the AM dial and Music Radio is generally found on the FM dial, we’ll divide and conquer those two topics below.
Talk radio is more intimate and demands an active foreground listenership. When taking Aunt Gertrude to the grocery store it’s hard to hold a conversation with her about her dentures while also listening to talk radio. There are too many voices talking and not enough attention span to go around. This makes talk radio a one-on-one proposition.
Talk radio’s programming… well, talks! Talk radio’s commercials… well, they talk too! Therefore, the audience often times doesn’t differentiate between programming and commercial content.
So, when talk radio the programming talks and the commercials talk too… the audience listens and is more likely to respond immediately to a commercial.
This makes talk radio outstanding for direct response advertising. Also known as DR advertising; it gets listeners to pick up the phone or go to this website and buy take action / buy stuff now! See Direct Response Advertising below.
Music stations are less intimate and more often have a passive background listenership. It’s easy to talk dentures with Aunt Gertrude with music playing in the background… you just tune out Auntie Gertrude… kidding, of course! You tune out the music and hang on every word about Aunt Gertie’s false teeth! You get the picture – right?
When listening to music radio without Aunt Gertrude it is a one-on-one proposition as well. But often times when the music stops and commercials begin listeners jump to the next music station for more tunes. After all, no one listens to radio for the commercials they listen for programming content.
However, savvy programming directors are paid big bucks to stay ahead of that curve and work diligently to get listeners to stay tuned.
Nevertheless, music stations are typically better at branding than they are at making phones ring. That’s not to say music stations cannot make phones ring. There are caveats to much in radio – but you’re beginning to get that, aren’t you?
An endorsement is when a station’s personality or someone of notoriety, like Michael Jordan, vocalizes their support of your product or service. Endorsements are the mother of all advertising regardless of the medium. (No one EVER spent $100+ on gym shoes until Michael Jordan became a basketball god).
There’s nothing like a Bill Handel, John Kobylt or Ken Chiampou endorsement on KFI-AM 640, or a Ryan Seacrest endorsement on KIIS-FM 102.7.
Station personality endorsements, budget providing, are the way to go in radio advertising. Why? Because it’s the personality audiences have tuned in to listen to lending their good name and credibility to your business. When a station’s personality reads (usually live) your businesses commercial that announcement becomes part of the stations programming – thus implying that the station endorses your products and services too.
Endorsements come at a higher price per spot, generally carry a long-term commitment, plus a talent fee and require station as well as the talent approval… but their oh, so worth it!
Can’t afford a station personality endorsement but want something other than a voice-over actor in your spot? Voice it yourself. Other than a station personality you, the business owner, are the next best person to sell your products and services. This works providing you sound good on-air. And “good” doesn’t mean polished, it means believable and credible.
Getting a radio campaign going can be compared to getting an idle battleship, in the middle of ocean and with a sleeping crew, ready for combat.
The officers first must wake the crew, get them to their stations, fire up the engines and put the ship in forward motion. When the propellers first start rotating the ship doesn’t immediately take off. It takes time for momentum to build.
Once the ship is cruising along it can be maneuvered much more easily and with greater accuracy.
So, how long does it take to get a campaign up and running? That depends greatly on the message, business, market, economy and lots of other elements…
If we’re targeting a relational customer or one who will patronize your business because of reputation and regardless of price… then 3-months is a fair amount of time to expect to begin seeing a return on investment.
If we’re targeting a transactional customer, or one who is out for the lowest price and best deal… then a week or two… heck, maybe just a couple days with super high-frequency.
Be careful when deciding which type of customer to pursue! The near-term sales volume and immediate gratification of the transactional customer can be appealing. But sales volume and better margins come from the relational customer who you’ve pursued for the long-haul, have invested in and own an area of their mind.
Direct Response advertising is measurable from day-one and offers the by-product of building a brand – it’s awesome!
Pretty much any advertisement you hear that instructs you to pick-up the phone and make a call or go to a website and type in a promo-code is direct response advertising.
Radio is beyond the perfect medium for direct response advertising because of the power of people and sound – endorsements. Endorsements allow on-air personalities to transfer their very credible relationship from the business they are promoting to the listeners who love them. No other medium comes close to the effectiveness of direct response advertising on radio.
Direct response advertising is story-selling at its finest. It’s track-able, measurable and lightning in a jar when done right. We love it! And if you’re business is right for it you will too.