Yes, Radio Advertising is King!

Yes, Radio Advertising is King!

Radio advertising is a booming industry. A May 2022 Marshal Marketing survey reveals 71% of the Madison market listens to local radio. SP Global predicts radio ads will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels and even surpass those levels, stating that the medium will "be up 4.8% in 2022 to $12.32 billion, excluding network and off-air revenue." Companies across the consumer and commercial markets can take heart from these predictions—radio wouldn't be growing if it wasn't a healthy, high-performing marketing channel that dominates “share of ear.” 

With all the focus on digital marketing channels, traditional media can fall to the back burner. If your company wants to scale up its radio advertising campaigns, now's an excellent time. Let's take a closer look at the continuing popularity of radio advertising, why so many businesses see value in radio advertising, and what your next steps should be. 

The Popularity of Radio Advertising 

People may love their custom playlists and podcast feeds, but radio listenership is still higher. According to recent research on radio advertising statistics, nearly all Americans – 92% over age 12 listen to the radio each week. While some groups listen to the radio more than others, you can rest assured everyone from Baby Boomers to Gen Z listen to the radio. 

Some key listener habits about radio advertising effectiveness to know are: 

  • Most listeners tune into the radio in their cars, especially during work commutes. 
  • Radio includes increasingly diverse streams for diverse audiences: streaming radio advertising on apps and websites is grabbing audiences' attention across all age groups. 
  • Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” reports “AM/FM Radio dominates the total Share of Ear with 40% of time spent by adults 18+. For comparison, all other forms of streaming audio come in at 6% or less. 

While the popularity of radio ads is rising, it's important to identify a core purpose for any radio advertising campaign you start. There are generally two core objectives: are you trying to increase sales, or are you trying to raise brand awareness? Because of the broad reach of ads, they are an excellent tool for reaching new shoppers, reminding customers about your brand, and establishing trust in your brand.  

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So, Is Radio Advertising Worth It? 

Before investing in your next advertising campaign, ensure the medium and message align with your business needs. What's your budget? What results do you need to see, and how will you measure them? Here are some critical factors that can help your team determine if radio advertising is right for you: 


Ad Results Media gives the budget for radio advertising a wide range: "The average cost of radio advertisement ranges from $200 to $5,000." Everything from the specific station to the time of day can impact the final cost. For example, playing a 15-second ad during prime-time commute hours will cost more than a 30-second ad late at night. As a general rule of thumb, expect to pay more as the size of the audience grows. However, broadcast radio ads are affordable, and we can work with nearly any budget. 

Broad Audience Reach 

Traditional broadcast radio reaches a wide population, and each of our stations reaches different demographics. It is the ideal format for brand awareness campaigns: sending longer messages to less-specific audiences so you can familiarize them with your brand. Marketron describes traditional radio as "the top channel for audio listeners, outperforming subscriptions, podcasts, and streaming." 

Brand Awareness 

Brand awareness campaigns keep your brand top of mind, so interested audiences are more receptive to your more targeted sales-focused messages. New companies can start forming relationships with audiences in this channel, especially with uplifting messages that establish who they are and what they do. 

The ROI of Radio 

So, how successful is radio advertising? The return on investment for broadcast radio is twice that of broadcast television. According to Nielsen research, "Those only exposed to AM/FM radio ads generated a significant $28.82 return on advertising spend, double that of TV ($13.51)." Your numbers will vary from campaign to campaign based on your industry, but such a strong showing means radio advertising should have a place in your overall marketing strategy. 

Mid-West Family Is Here to Help with Your Radio Advertising Strategies 

At Mid-West Family Madison, we specialize in supporting small and growing businesses as you develop marketing strategies for reaching your audiences and winning more sales. Contact us today to learn more about creating a custom marketing strategy combining radio and digital advertising together.

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Pat Heffling

About the Author : Pat Heffling

Pat Heffling is a University of Wisconsin Graduate and has called Madison home since 1978. He knows the landscape here better than anyone! His extensive background in sales and marketing is eclipsed only by his natural ability to find the right solutions that work for his clients.