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Understanding Radio Speak

by BIG Mike McDaniel

Every industry has its own jargon. Radio is no different. To communicate with the radio salesperson and get what you want, you should know and understand the radio terms.

Radio is divided into "dayparts" so you can pick the time of day where you want your commercials.

Radio's big strength is in the morning, "AM Drive" or AMD. Traditionally AMD is 6 to 10am (beware some stations hedge the time by starting at 5am). AMD is the most expensive of "placed" advertising because the audience is larger.

The next level of radio listening is the drive home "Afternoon Drive" or PMD. 3 to 7p.

Then comes "Midday Listening", DAY, 10a-3p.

"Evening Listening" is EVE, and covers 7p to midnight.

"Overnight", the smallest audience, OVN,is midnight to 6am.

For the best radio coverage, you should have some commercials in all dayparts and a "Run Of Schedule" frequency. ROS is the term meaning a few in each daypart. The frequency is the total number of commercials in any week.

For most advertisers, 24 commercials (24x), ROS, a week is sufficient. However, if you are pushing a high traffic sale or a big grand opening, you can push the limit with one commercial every hour (Saturation).

A donut is a commercial with the same beginning and end and a "hole" in the middle for changing copy. Using a donut can give you brand awareness by keeping the same theme, while changing the message.

The majority of radio commercials are thirty seconds long (30s). If you can't say your message in thirty seconds, change the message. Always use 30s.

DJ's are rare at radio stations anymore. But you can buy a personality. Beware that the personality's personality might reflect on your business. Many people will NOT buy commercials in Rush Limbaugh (well-known outspoken conservative) for fear or alienating democrats. There are some morning talk show hosts that have cost their stations huge FCC indecency fines. Not the best place for your commercial.

Pick your dayparts carefully, or buy an ROS package, always use 30s and consider the donut.

Always plan ahead and make your radio message the same as your newspaper and billboard. Don't buy a tricked up radio ad presented on a boom box by the radio sales guru (Account Executive) unless it tries directly with your other advertising.

For more about adverting, get my article "Should you Advertise on TV? by sending a blank eMail to [email protected]

©2005 BIG Mike McDaniel, All Rights Reserved BIG Mike is a Business Consultant and Professional Speaker. His BIG Ideas Group helps business grow with promotions, special reports, mastermind groups, seminars and consulting. www.BIGIdeasGroup.com


















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