Your Radio and Television Ad Schedules Are Quite Likely to Waste Money and Not Deliver

In my state, your hair is cut by a licensed professional, but no license or proof of competency is required to schedule your radio and television advertising. It is standard industry practice for broadcast outlets to hire people without training or experience and have them proposing advertising schedules in a very short period of time. The likelihood of your advertising money getting wasted is high, and it's intolerable.


Repetition is the soul of advertising. A person must hear your message regularly. If she doesn't, she forgets you, and she will do business with someone who is continually telling her about himself. How often the exposure depends upon what Wizard of Ads author Roy Williams calls an advertisement's Impact Quotient-that is, how well it persuades, and the nature of the product. Boring ads that lose listener attention in their first five seconds must be run many, many more times than an advertisement written by someone who knows what he or she is doing. Further, a great offer on a product with wide appeal need not be run as much as an average offer for a product with more narrow appeal.

How to schedule radio

The best way to use a station is to schedule ads from 6 AM to 7PM Monday-Sunday. You must run no fewer than 20 to 25 a week (more for average offers and general positioning, fewer for fantastic offers, and 50 to 75 for time-limited offers  sales), and get the station to give you what's called guaranteed equal distribution. It is not necessary to go with the station with the largest audience. Number of repetitions is far, far, more important than audience size. Now, if you have the budget to run the above schedule on the station with the biggest audience, fine, but never subtract commercials to be able to afford that large audience. Ten repetitions per person per week in an audience of 4,000 is far better than 2 repetitions to an audience of 100,000. You'll get more business from the smaller audience.

The above schedule will get you into each of the three major dayparts (6-10AM, 10-3PM, 3-7PM) every day. If you find that this schedule costs more than you wish to spend, even on your area's least expensive station, then subtract dayparts, keeping the same number of ads in the remaining dayparts. Each daypart is really a separate audience. Start with 6-10AM and run enough ads so you're in that daypart at least once a day (twice is better); then add dayparts until you run out of budget. It is not necessarily true that drive time has more listeners; many stations have bigger numbers in midday, 10-3 PM, and it's sometimes cheaper.

Next, commit to a schedule of no fewer than 6 months. It takes about 13 weeks before you'll begin to see results. This is called the chickening out period in the world of advertising. You run ads for five weeks and see money going out the door but see no results. Why aren't my ads working Agencies with clients spending millions have done a great deal of research to determine what works and why. They've found that it takes a lot of telling to get people to try new things and to change buying habits.

Look at it this way It takes an aircraft a great deal of power to get off the ground. When it reaches cruising altitude, it throttles back. The first 13 weeks is the takeoff; after that, people's awareness level of your business has been established and will stay the same as long as you keep telling them about yourself.

Always do what the big boys do. One thing they do is to never stop. Advertising on the radio is word-of-mouth raised to its highest level. It is the cheapest way to reach the greatest number of people the most number of times.

Here's why Even with competition from satellite and onboard CD & cassette systems, radio is the most pervasive medium there is. Unlike TV, internet, and print media, radio has a captive audience. Because so many listeners are in cars, they can't get up to go to the bathroom or get something to eat when an ad comes on. They could change stations, but an ad has to be truly grating for that to happen. People are exposed to radio ads whether they want to be or not.

Radio and television are completely unalike and should never be scheduled in the same way. Raise your right hand and repeat I will never, ever, buy any sort of rotator schedule on television. Reps sell them because in exchange for buying soap operas and other non-prime programs, you'll get several ads in good programs for a good deal less than the normal price. You'll think, Wow, I'm getting into the 6 o'clock News for $45 instead of $400.

But that's the same as buying a large radio audience but hitting it only a few times.

You and I are loyal to television programs, not stations, not networks, not time slots. Programs. So buy programs only. Otherwise you will have no way of knowing if the same people are seeing your ad over and over.

Buy programs on cable rather than broadcast TV. Cable rates are so low they are in the radio cost range.

You must do three things if your advertising is to succeed Know your Unique Selling Proposition -- the reason why people should buy from you and not your competition. A USP isn't friendly professional staff, wide hours or free parking, but specific, tangible or emotional reasons. Put this USP into every piece of advertising you ever do. Schedule your ads so that the same people hear them. Finally, never stop. Look at advertising as you do any other ongoing expense. It's what all successful businesses do.