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What Are the Different Types of Free Radio Advertising?

Gerelyn Terzo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Paying for advertising on any broadcast medium, including radio, might not be in the budget for every organization. There are some techniques for obtaining free radio advertising. Although no upfront financial commitment might be required, there might be other costs, such as a subsequent charge based on audience reception or an investment of time rather than money. Some of the different types of free radio advertising include public service announcements (PSAs), per-inquiry (PI) advertising and the publicity that comes from talk shows or news programs.

An expert in a particular field might be able to obtain free radio advertising for an organization. Radio hosts who provide talk commentary frequently have guests on their programs. It might be possible for an expert to become a guest to offer information on a topic of interest. When the host identifies the guest, the name of the organization might be mentioned, giving it a bit of free radio advertising. Certain experts receive some type of financial compensation for keeping their radio visits exclusive to one program.

This also is a popular way for authors to obtain publicity for a new book. By agreeing to be a guest on a program and talk about the content in the book, an author might receive free radio advertising for the book. This can bring awareness not only to the book but also to a particular topic that might be of importance.

One way to essentially receive free radio advertising is through per-inquiry (PI) advertising. In this method, a client is not charged for an ad until it triggers some type of response from the audience. After those queries begin to come in, the advertiser is charged based on that level of interest. In the event that the ad translates into sales or some other form of business, the commercial could end up paying for itself.

Public service announcements (PSAs) are another form of free radio advertising. These messages might be sponsored by a government entity and might promote beneficial behaviors or offer warnings about disruptive activities. For instance, the dangers of drugs might be heralded in a radio ad followed by information on whom to contact for support. Positive dietary habits might be another message promoted in a PSA as part of free radio advertising. Certain fruits and vegetables might be mentioned as providing proper nutrition, although an individual supermarket or farmer's market is not likely to be publicized.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Gerelyn Terzo
By Gerelyn Terzo
Gerelyn Terzo, a journalist with over 20 years of experience, brings her expertise to her writing. With a background in Mass Communication/Media Studies, she crafts compelling content for multiple publications, showcasing her deep understanding of various industries and her ability to effectively communicate complex topics to target audiences.
Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Aug 27, 2011

I've noticed lately that a lot of internet radios and video streaming sites now have advertisements. I'm not sure of the cost, but it might be cheaper to advertise with them.

I think that college and student radios will also advertise for free if you provide a discount deal, product samples to the students or maybe even sponsor a one-time barbecue for them. It might not be entirely free this way but if they buy from you after, it will be worth it, right?

By SteamLouis — On Aug 26, 2011

My friend who owns her own shop is really good at this. One way she gets free radio advertising is to offer the radio affiliation with her company. Just as affiliates receive a certain percentage profit from each sale, the radio can get a percentage of the sales she makes as a result of that advertising.

Most local radios are actually very interested in this type of thing. It's great for the advertiser because if the ads don't actually increase sales and profit, you won't have to make any payments to the radio, so you have nothing to lose. If sales are made, you are giving the radio a very small percentage of each sale price, so it will still be cheaper.

Nation wide radios might not be too interested in this since they already make so much money from advertising, but local radios like to work with local shops this way.

Gerelyn Terzo
Gerelyn Terzo
Gerelyn Terzo, a journalist with over 20 years of experience, brings her expertise to her writing. With a background in...
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