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Producing affordable radio spots

Often overlooked by small businesses, radio can be a very affordable way to market your business’ products, services and promotions. There are three basic avenues you can take: live reads, recorded spots and live remote broadcasts.

Choosing a station or stations. When buying radio time, think about who your target audience is. Ask the station’s sales representative for their demographics to ensure that you’re not wasting your money advertising on a station with high teen listenership when you’re trying to reach 35-50 year-olds.

In planning your media buy consider purchasing time on two or three smaller stations rather than one of the larger ones. Again, look at the numbers to gauge total listenership in your desired market. Buying time on smaller stations will save you some money and broaden your advertising bandwidth.

The prime advantage of radio is the ability to zero in on your target audience, whether it’s seniors, kids, men, women, office workers, or busy executives. Another advantage: The average household has five radios, plus another in their car.

When buying time, remember that repetition is more important than prime time. Drive time shows by popular DJs or talk show hosts are prime commercial space. Opt instead for a mix. Perhaps one spot on a drive time show and six others spread throughout the day in less costly space.

Cost. Live reads are by far the cheapest to do, followed by produced spots and remotes. Live remotes are usually reserved for larger media buys and are thrown in as a perk. For instance, if you’re having a big car sale or a grand opening and you advertise it extensively on the station, you may be able to get a live remote thrown into the bargain. As a home based business, however, live remotes are not an option. Instead, concentrate on live reads and produced spots.

All prices quoted by station sales representatives are negotiable. Don’t necessarily take the first price structure handed to you. Bargain, trade off and negotiate the media buy. Often, if you’re willing to buy just a few more spots than you originally planned, you can save money and get more airtime.