Radio Advertising

Sponsoring a Public Radio Station

Learn how public radio underwriting sponsorship can enhance your company's brand awareness and make potential customers aware of your offerings.

Sponsoring a public radio station can be an incredibly effective marketing tactic.

Indeed, by many accounts, it's more cost-effective than advertising on a commercial radio station.

When you advertise on a public radio station, it's not called advertising. That's because the FCC explicitly prohibits public radio stations from running traditional commercial ads. Instead of calling it advertising, the terms underwriting and sponsorship are used. In simple terms, public radio underwriting sponsorships consist of on-air announcements about corporations, retail businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other station sponsors.

Five Key Benefits of Public Radio Station Sponsorships

Why sponsor a public radio station? Well, it turns out there are many benefits to sponsoring a public radio station:

  • Access a Difficult-to-Reach Audience.Public radio listeners are a concentrated audience comprising consumers and business decision-makers. Other marketing tactics often won't reach them or can only do so at significant expense.
  • Create a Strong Emotional Bond with Listeners. 75% of public radio listeners state that when price and quality are equal, they prefer to buy from companies and organizations that support public radio. In addition, 88% of public radio listeners have a more positive opinion of a company when it supports public radio. Long story short, with an on-air underwriting sponsorship, you can build a strong positive emotional bond between you and the station's listeners.
  • Deploy Competition-Free Promotional Messaging. Because of the non-commercial nature of public station broadcasting, sponsorship messages tend to stand out and be heard. Compare sponsorship announcements, to, say, advertising in a newspaper or magazine, where dozens of ads vie for a reader's attention, including ads from direct competitors. In contrast, sponsorship ads are delivered in a clutter-free -- and usually competitor-free -- environment.
  • Combine Philanthropy with Marketing. Public radio sponsorship blends philanthropy and effective marketing . Your sponsorship announcements convey that you are a community leader that supports a good cause. At the same time,
  • Enjoy a Cost-Effective Advertising Investment. Your local public radio station undoubtedly has a number of cost-effective underwriting packages to meet your budget requirements. As a rule, public radio sponsorship is considerably less expensive than commercial radio advertising. As an added bonus, your announcement is read by the on-air talent, thus saving you the cost of producing a radio commercial.

Tips for Public Radio Advertising Sponsorships

Remember that underwriting announcements are typically short, around 20 seconds in length. As such, you need to quickly focus on the essentials: your brand name, a brief description or corporate slogan, and pertinent details such as the location of your business, how long you have been in business, and your website address and/or telephone number.

Avoid overtly selling your services in your public radio sponsorship announcement. The station won't allow it, and it would tend to rub public radio station listeners the wrong way.

Finally, leverage the cost of public radio sponsorship by getting the most bang for your sponsorship buck. For example, ask if you can be listed on the radio station website in a prominent fashion. Ask to be featured in an on-air announcement that talks about why companies sponsor public radio stations. On your own website, put a message that says "We proudly sponsor our local public radio station" with a few details. With these simple marketing tactics, you can get a second promotional bump from your underwriting sponsorships.

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