Using radio to advertise your lecture
Branches have found that radio is an excellent way to let their community know about a lecture! One branch discovered that their radio interview and ads were so effective that over 50 newcomers came to the lecture, many of whom said they had heard the lecturer on the radio and had to come.
Radio stations want your business. A radio station earns its income from promoting others and the activities of others. Your branch has a lecturer coming into town that you want to introduce to your community. Radio is built to help you do that. By purchasing radio ads you become a client of the station; it wants to promote your activity.
Working with radio stations
The website for the station will often give information on how to contact the sales department. You can also contact the general station number and ask to talk with the sales department.
When you reach the salesperson, explain that you have a speaker coming into town and you are interested in working with the station to introduce the lecturer to your community. You are interested in purchasing ads and are also looking for the added value of an interview.
You may be asked for information on your lecturer and topic. You can use your media advisory as a resource and offer to send it and a biography of the lecturer.
If you are in the United States, learn what stations are in your area by going to www.radio-locator.com (see below for countries outside the US). Type in your location or zip code and click on GO. A list of all radio stations in your area appears. The FM stations are listed first.
The list provides you with the following information:
- Station call sign (e.g., WJR, WKRP)
- The quality of the signal in your area
- The location of the station
- Format (talk, classic rock, adult contemporary, etc.)
If you click on the call sign, the station’s website will pop up (if available). If you click on the [i] symbol, you will be provided with specific information about that station (owner, station address, coverage map, etc.).
Identify the talk or talk/news stations in your area, check out their websites, and listen to the stations. Often the websites will provide information on advertising (who to call, demographics, etc).
You can find out what stations are available in your area by logging on to radiostationworld.com. Choose your region and then country. Depending on your country, the information provided will vary. Find the listing of radio stations.
This listing should provide you with the following information:
- Station call sign (e.g., CKNW)
- The quality of the signal in your area
- The location of the station
- Format (talk, classic rock, adult contempory, etc.)
In some cases it will provide you with links to other websites that will provide you with the information you need. Identify the talk or talk/news stations available in your area, check out their websites, and listen to the stations. Often the website will provide information on advertising (whom to call, demographics, etc). For help or more information, please contact the Publicity Consultant.
At the same time you are doing research on radio stations in your area, you’ll need to create a media advisory. This is a one-sheet page of information (similar to a press release for newspaper) that will provide the station with the information needed to create ad copy and to talk with the host(s) about interviewing your lecturer. Please send a copy of your final draft to the lecturer for approval. You can also check with your lecturer (or look on his or her Internet bio page) to see if a media advisory is already available for the lecture.
Your branch will need to identify a budget amount for your advertising. The cost of ads varies from station to station and from region to region depending on the market and the station’s share of the local audience. In the US a minimum amount would be approximately $300USD.
Contact your lecturer to confirm he or she is available for the interview. The station should give you a time or a variety of times to choose from. Once you have confirmed the time with the lecturer, get back to the station to confirm. Find out how the lecturer will connect with the host. Will the station call the lecturer (provide a landline number, not a cell phone number) or will the lecturer call the host (find out the studio line for the lecturer to call)?
You will need to provide the lecturer with the following information:
- Date of interview
- Time (program time and the time of the call)
- Length of program/length of interview
- Style (for example, a live, phone-in interview or a host interview)
- Phone information (who calls whom; be sure to get a back-up phone number at the station in case of any mix-up)
- Location of station
- Radio station call letters
- Radio program (Most websites will have a short paragraph describing the show. Please include the URL.)
- Radio host (include information on the host)
- The day of the interview (or the day before if it is an early morning show), confirm all information with your lecturer and with the station.
Everyone gets information in different ways. Some people listen to radio, others read the newspaper, and still others go to the Internet. The most effective publicity plan is one that covers all three media. Please see the Publicity—print section of this packet for more information and resources on press releases for newspapers.
If the station says it doesn’t do interviews, you should consider talking with another station. If you still want to work with the initial station, you can talk with your salesperson about purchasing a block of time (30 minutes). You should look for evenings or Saturday or Sunday after 10 a.m. The station will work with you to produce an interview with one of its hosts (talent) using talking points the lecturer will provide. An interview during a regular program on the station is always better than a purchased one. An interview publicizes your lecture but generally is not a lecture in and of itself.
Make sure your salesperson knows that your ad purchase is dependent on the interview. Be willing to talk with other stations if you aren’t getting an interview.
Prior to talking with any radio station, find out from your lecturer what his or her schedule is before the lecture. When will he or she be available to do an interview either by phone or in person?
You want to purchase a minimum of 10 ads on any station. Repetition is the most effective way to use radio. The best way to advertise is 3–5 ads per day for 5 days prior to the lecture. The salesperson will work with you to put together a package of ads.
In the US and Canada, many stations are owned by broadcast groups. Work with your salesperson to find out if you can air your ads on other stations owned by the same company. Oldies or adult contemporary stations are often effective—AM or FM.
Ask your lecturer if he or she has a 30-second radio ad written for the lecture. Sample radio ad text is available here. Draft ads are also available on the Internet bio pages of many lecturers (scroll down to the bottom of the bio page).
Many radio stations have individuals who will write the ad using your media advisory. Ask the station to email you the ad copy so that you can review it before it is produced. The station will produce the ad using its engineers, talent, etc.
Talk with your salesperson to find out how the radio station should be paid. Some stations prefer a credit card, others a check. Make sure you make your payment as soon as all your details are worked out. No ads will air until your payment has been received.
You can work with any station to purchase ads and ask for an interview. Typically music stations have interviews that are only 1–2 minutes in length. Adult contemporary and oldies stations have been the most effective.
You can also purchase 1-minute ads including a taped clip from the lecturer telling about the event. This introduces your lecturer and event to the radio audience.