Radio can be a powerful advertising vehicle for many kinds of businesses. Radio reaches over 95% of the population in America. And radio is an intimate form of advertising since many people listen alone, i.e. jogging or driving. Because of this, listeners develop strong relationships with their favorite stations, identifying with the music and bonding with on-air personalities. It has flexible ad lengths, ranging from 60 seconds down to 2-3 second adlets. Radio is an “everywhere media”. It is in the home, car, even on your phone. Radio offers “recency”, since it is often the last thing heard by a consumer before they enter a store or place of business. At its best, radio is “theater of the mind” creating images and beliefs of products and services that move consumers.

To get started with radio you need to know your target audience. Where do they live? Are they mostly from a single town? County? Metro? Next, know their age. And with this particular media, it is ok to have an age range. Common ranges are 25-54, 18-49 etc. You can define ages more narrowly if you choose. Other criteria to identify — are they male, female or equally split? Ideally, you will be able to say that your target audience is Adults between 25-54 years of age and they live in county “X”.

Now you will need to find the right radio station. Radio stations will be able to provide you with data to help the selection process. Ask to see their coverage map, which shows where their signal is heard. Look for stations whose coverage most closely outlines your business area.

Look at their rankings in your demo. How many listeners do they have in each daypart? What dayparts make the most sense for you? If you are buying an adult demo, like Adults 35-64, you don’t want to buy evenings. Most adults are home at that time watching TV or reading. Get the cost for each daypart and calculate the CPM or cost per thousand listeners. (Calculate CPM by dividing the listeners in the daypart by 1,000. Divide the cost of the ad by that remainder to get your CPM. If your ad generates 10,000 impressions the remainder is 10. If the ad costs $160 divide it by 10 to get your CPM of $16) Use this number to determine which stations are delivering your target listener most cost-efficiently. With this information you can buy the radio station(s) most likely to help your business.