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Is Radio Advertising Still Worth It?

Posted by Rieva Lesonsky

Mar 19, 2013 8:00:00 AM

radioBy Rieva Lesonsky

If you haven’t considered that radio advertising is worth your hard-earned working capital, or think you need to take out a small business loan to afford it, think again. Even though the iTunes-Pandora-podcast-downloading trend is gaining steam, a recent Arbitron report shows radio’s audience increased year over year, adding more than 1.6 million weekly listeners.  Radio now reaches 242.8 million listeners on an average weekly basis.

Radio advertising may not get as much media attention as social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Radio listening took off among teens ages 12 to 17 and remained steady among adults ages 18 to 34. Those are numbers too good to be ignored. Reach is the key for small businesses that rely on a local customer base, such as service businesses or retailers, because radio can give you access to a local and highly targeted audience. If you live in a location where long commutes are the norm, customers may hear your ad over and over. To find out about your locality, Arbitron keeps track of average commute times in many metro areas.

The local radio station in your community can help you target your audience by giving you specific breakdowns of the average listener demographics during specific times of the day. If you can afford it, repeat your commercial often so it sticks in customers’ minds.

Try to create a short, memorable script that includes a call to action. If you have a limited-time offer that creates a sense of urgency, listeners will be moved to act quickly and make sure your phone number and website URL are easy to remember.

If you haven’t a clue on how much radio advertising costs, according to Radio Lounge USA the average rate for a 60 second commercial running in Los Angeles is about $966, but radio rates fluctuate based on the season. It’s worth it to call radio stations and ask for their rates to capture your local market.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Follow Rieva at and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

*Image by Flickr user Leo-setä (Creative Commons)

Topics: small business loan, working capital, small business owners, small business

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