Radio Advertising Costs – What to Budget

Realistic information about radio advertising costs to help you budget your radio advertising campaign.

Radio Advertising Costs : How Much Should I Spend?

“How much should I spend on radio advertising?” “How do I know I am getting the best radio advertising rates?” “What radio stations should I advertise on?” “What are good and bad radio advertising prices?” “How many spots should I air on a radio station?”

Every day at Radio Lounge,Radio Advertising Costs – What to Budget Articles we hear radio advertising questions such as these.

Honestly, there is so much confusion about radio advertising floating around – we can’t blame you for asking these questions. Why is advertising on the radio so mysterious? The answer is – radio advertising is not mysterious. It just helps to know how it works.

Effective radio advertising relies on two major components – the message (the radio commercial itself), and the media (that the radio spot airs on).

The Message

Let’s look first at the radio commercial itself. Before even thinking about which radio stations to air on, or how much to spend on radio advertising rates, you must think about what you are going to say in your radio ad. For this article, we are assuming that all call centers, fulfillments, websites, etc. lead generation, and sales closing processes have been put in place by you, the advertiser. Creating a radio commercial that helps drive traffic is extremely important to the advertising process.

The advertising industry is full of voice talents, radio personalities, DJ’s and others, all claiming to create radio commercials. Be careful here. When entering the arena of radio commercial production, look for a radio advertising agency that has experience and a track record of successful ad campaigns. Anyone can create a radio ad, but not everyone can create a radio ad that pulls traffic. Some radio stations provide free radio commercials if you advertise on their station. Most of these free commercials are never based on strategy and are just one of several dozen commercials that have to be created by an overworked radio production person in a five to fifteen minute window of time. Remember, you usually get what you pay for.

The most effective radio commercials are built on a solid, proven strategy. The copy is written using time tested formulas that maximize potential response. The talent is handpicked to best connect with the end user and the production is based upon clear, quality, and easy to absorb audio.

So…what does the radio commercial production process cost? The majority of radio commercials that work best usually fall into the $500 to $1000 price range. There are always exceptions to the rule (lots of revisions to copy or audio, additional voice talents, celebrity endorsements, etc.) but this figure generally covers development of a solid strategy, copy from experienced copywriters, performance by high caliber voice talents, and the highest quality production services.

The Media

For many with questions about radio advertising rates, and radio station prices, here is where the mystery begins. We will try to simplify the mystery of radio media buying as much as we can in this small amount of space.

A good radio advertising buy focuses on a few different things:

* Finding the best radio stations in a market that match your customer’s demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.) and psychographics (interests, beliefs, hobbies, personality traits, etc.).
* Finding the dayparts that best reach your target customer. Mornings? Middays? Afternoons?
* Selecting the top radio stations that most efficiently reach the highest potential customers, the right number of times (defined as frequency), for the least amount of money

Usually, when researching radio advertising costs, many potential radio advertisers have a pretty good idea of the first two points. However, when it comes down to finding the best station (or stations) at the best price, the radio advertising process becomes a little more challenging.

Here is how we tackle the process at Radio Lounge and determine how much to spend on radio advertising costs. Within the market you want to advertise in, we find the radio stations that have the best potential to reach your target customer. This is based on the formats of the radio stations. Urban Hip-hop stations will target different demographics than a News/Talk, or Soft Rock station. After we select a group of radio stations, we contact those stations to let them know we are thinking about advertising on their radio station. We ask for specific data from the radio stations called “rankers”. This is ratings data that most radio stations can provide based on specific requirements we have requested. From this point, we have a good idea which stations perform the best in our target demographics.

Once we have narrowed down the radio stations to just a few that will effectively reach our target customer, we then request a proposal based on certain criteria – dayparts, frequency goals, etc. From these proposals, we can see who reaches the target audience most efficiently – using tools like Cost Per Point (ratio of spot rate to ratings percentage), Cost Per Thousand (ratio of spot rate to audience category totals), etc. If a radio station is not competitive, we will often ask the station to resubmit a more competitive proposal. But, how will we know if all of the station’s radio advertising rates are too high. Radio Lounge has access to data that allows us to compare proposals against historical figures to determine if radio station prices are in line with market averages. We negotiate, and help execute the purchase.

Great…but what does this cost? It depends on the size of the market you wish to advertise in as determined by Arbitron (the radio ratings services). Radio advertising rates can be as high as $800 per 60 spots in a top market like New York City, or as low as $3 per 60 spots in Kerrville, TX. How will you know what to spend?

Here’s a valuable system we have used from our history of working with radio advertising rates. The system is based on a solid branding schedule that may run one spot per day in the morning drive, one per day at midday, and one per day in the afternoon drive – Monday through to Friday, and two spots on Saturday and Sunday. That’s nineteen spots a week at sticker price. This type of schedule is good for achieving a desired frequency level of three (meaning the average listener to a station will hear the radio commercial at least three times). Under these broad assumptions, you can use the following chart as a rough guide to budgeting your radio advertising campaign.*

*Note, these are gross rates and do not include production costs or agency discounts. These are market averages for the standard radio schedule mentioned above, actual costs may vary. Different combinations of dayparts on different stations may cost much less.

* Markets 1 -5 (ex: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.)
Expect to pay from $4000 to $8000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 6 – 20 (ex: Dallas/Ft.Worth, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, etc.)
Expect to pay from $2000 to $5000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 21 – 50 (ex: Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, etc.)
Expect to pay from $1000 to $3000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 51- 150 (ex: Akron, Syracuse, Baton Rouge, etc.)
Expect to pay from $800 to $2000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 150+ (ex: Myrtle Beach SC, Green Bay, Topeka, etc.)
Expect to pay from $500 to $1500 per week/per station for a top performing station.

You may be saying, “Wow! That can be expensive”. Relax, these are standards and radio advertising schedules come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, schedules are smaller depending on advertising goals and objectives. However, we do recommend that you are able to commit to the range of minimums.


Notice we have not mentioned remnant radio advertising here at all. Remnant advertising is the practice of buying unused inventory at deep discounts. Remnant advertising success exists more in theory than in practice. However, this is not to say that there are not advertisers who are having success with remnant advertising. If, and when, remnant advertising falls into your lap, we suggest you look into it. However, basing your entire radio ad campaign on remnant advertising may be shooting yourself in the foot. With the exception of a few times a year, most top performing radio stations do not have that much unsold inventory. Often, the largest advertisers have contracts that guarantee so many low cost/no cost spots that have to run. The reality is that if large advertisers (with the big dollar schedule) need their spots to run, or if another advertiser pays just one penny more than you did for your remnant spots – bump! You just got bumped off the air that day. You may pay for twenty spots and only get two that air. The stations will make it up to you, but what if you were counting on that advertising to drive sales. Or better yet, in the age of consolidated radio groups your remnant advertising might run on the third to the last rated station in the market. The result is NO RESULT and you have just wasted money for nothing. We really do believe that when it comes to radio advertising YOU TRULY DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

Now that radio advertising rates have been explained, you may ask the question, how long should I advertise? The type of radio advertising helps define the length of a campaign. Advertising for an event? We recommend shorter, more compact schedules to create buzz leading up to the event or launch. Branding a product? Often, long term schedules with a bit of breathing room work best. Maybe even flighting could work (on two weeks, off two weeks). Most of the time, the two things that will determine how long to run a radio advertising campaign will be advertiser goals (traffic numbers), and external factors such as sales cycles. Oh yeah, and usually budget affects the length of the campaign. It is not desired, but that’s reality.

The Total Cost

You may be thinking, “So if I want to run a spot on three top Houston radio stations, I should expect to pay $1000 for a commercial, plus $3000 per week per station…that’s $10,000 for one week’s worth of advertising!” That’s true, and may be just what it takes to reach over half a million potential well targeted customers. The real question is, “How much money can you make off half a million potential targeted customers?” Is it more than $10,000 a week? $40,000 a month? These are questions to ask yourself, because in the world of advertising, that is pretty good traffic.

It works even better when you let Radio Lounge reduce that cost even further. What if Radio Lounge was able to get you a great radio advertising schedule by providing an instant discount ABOVE the negotiated lowest radio station price?

Launch Your Radio Advertising Campaign

You may still have many questions about radio advertising. That’s why we are here. We want to help you get the biggest bang for the radio advertising buck. Radio Lounge has worked with thousands of radio advertising campaigns. We know what works and what does not. Let Radio Lounge help you with all facets of strategic development, creative development, copywriting, production, media planning, media negotiation, and monitoring of your radio advertising campaign.

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Top 7 Advertising Agencies in Dubai

Looking for Top Advertising Agencies in Dubai, UAE? Here is the list and info of top 7 advertising agencies located in Dubai.

Advertising is a crucial aspect of making a business successful. Businesses have several types of advertising needs depending upon their requirements that could range from digital advertising through publishing materials online or print advertising that uses billboards and posters used at public places to promote the company services. For all your advertising and promotion needs,Top 7 Advertising Agencies in Dubai Articles advertising agencies can help you in delivering the best quality solutions at the best rated packages that help your business get highlighted in the market, which in turn makes it possible for it to reach at its potential and be successful through the approach of value driven promotional strategy. Finding a leading Dubai advertising agency will help you to receive highly innovative solutions required for advertising your business and its services. DCCIInfo and ATNInfo are the 2 top business directories who have 155+ verified business listing of the top advertising agencies located in Dubai, UAE.

Below are some of the top 7 advertising agencies in Dubai that can help you reach your advertising goals:

Adfirst Advertising LLC

Adfirst Advertising is one of the topmost advertising agencies in Dubai that offer state of the art solutions in printing and production. They offer cost effective services that are unique and ensure delivering creative artwork through innovative branding ideas. They specialize in visual merchandising, indoor and outdoor advertising prints, graphics and printing for exhibition stand displays, signage displays, vehicle wraps, materials for point of purchase (POP), bulk design collaterals, acrylic fabrication and others. They are fully equipped with modern printing facilities including high speed printing machines used for installing the graphics for indoor and outdoor advertising.

Action Advertising & Marketing

Being one of the leading creative agencies in Dubai, Action Advertising & Marketing acts as the true communication partner offering the best advertising solutions for various business challenges. They assist companies in developing the best marketing strategy to be used for promoting their services in the marketplace. They have a well-defined approach that works well to reach out to the maximum target audience. They can help the businesses in running fully integrated campaigns of designing and producing highly creative promotional materials. Among the topmost advertising services offered by them include running media campaigns, media buying at competitive rates, online advertising, advertising through radio and television, and direct marketing using flyers and leaflets.

Al Madar Adv & Pub LLC

Founded in 1994, Al Madar is one of the best advertising agencies in the United Arab Emirates. They have a team of highly qualified and skilled advertising professionals that offer advertising solutions catering to the emerging needs of the modern industry in printing and packaging. The company has been operating in large scale and have handled a wide range of projects with some of the reputed clients in the market and have successfully delivered printing solutions as per their growing industry demands. To deliver the best results, the company has been regularly updating its technology to the latest market standards that not only speeds up the process but also improves the quality of services delivered.

Al Shuala Media Fz LLC

Any business looking for a one stop shop solution for all its advertising and marketing needs should contact Al Shuala Media, the leading company in Dubai that delivers highly creative branding solutions for promoting the firms in the UAE market. Through its creative communication and promotional strategy, it ensures that the audience connects to the business consistently which is good for its brand building and reputation, and thereby to boost up the business revenue. The advantage of using their services is that it offers a complete comprehensive advertising solution opting for which does not require signing up for any other advertising services.

Ambiance Advertising (LLC)

Among the best advertising agencies in the Emirates, Ambiance Advertising helps your businesses in showcasing their brands among their prestigious clients and customers not only in the UAE but across the globe. The agency has good track record of delivering reliable and consistent solutions in advertising such as producing promotional films and corporate films and offering advertising solutions of high industry standards. It can help you in creating viral online videos in short formats which is an effective and highly popular method of online advertising. Their team of highly creative professionals can assist your business in successfully completing the advertising projects within the deadline and budget while they can also help in case your need any projects be downsized or upscaled irrespective of the project size.

Aquiline Advertising LLC

A well-known name in the printing industry, Aquiline Advertising offers the best solutions in digital printing through its specialized knowledge in the retail sector. The agency helps businesses in creating and running the visual marketing campaigns successfully through a wide range of media services delivered to the highest standards. It incorporates cut-throat creative solutions and impeccable printing technology with great results driven by the team of skilled and artistic professionals with years of expertise in the printing and advertising industry. Some of the advertising services offered by the company includes integrated marketing, hoardings, brochures and leaflets, retail and point of purchase graphics and others.

Ascot Advertising

Specialized in media placement, Ascot Advertising is an innovate agency dealing with a wide range of advertising services delivered to clients all over the United Arab Emirates. To successfully run advertising campaigns, the company firstly evaluates the business advertising needs such as understanding its brand attributes, campaign goals, target audience and other factors. This helps them to use these insights and highly valuable information for evaluating the media opportunities through custom approach. Once launched, the company continuously tracks effectiveness of the advertising campaigns through measurable results. It uses both types of advertising viz. traditional advertising and digital advertising to cover the scope of all the advertising needs of a business.

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