How to Place a Radio Ad

Want to know how to place campaign ads over the radio? Radio ads are a great way to do election advertising, but to get the best results, you’ll need to start by doing your research.

Want to know how to place campaign ads over the radio? Radio ads are a great way to do election advertising, but to get the best results, you’ll need to start by doing your research.

You’ll also need to know how much it will cost to create your ad and run it before you can plan a radio advertisement budget. We’ll also cover how to contact radio stations if that’s how you’ll be doing your advertising. If not, we’ll discuss how to use a broker to place ads on the radio. 

Do Your Research for the Biggest Impact

You’ll want to do some research first to make sure that your target market is listening to the radio station you want to hear. Write a personal profile on your customer, including common problems, the language they use (slang and jargon), interests, what they listen to, and what they read. 

Use a general outline of demographics and types of radio stations to help determine where your target market will be listening before you even create your ad. 

Station Type


Top 40 Hits

Under 35, listens during peak hours


Under 35, listens during peak hours


Over 55, listens throughout the day and evening


Between 25-55, listens during peak hours and evenings

News Talk

Over 55, listens during peak hours


Between 25-65, listens throughout the day and evening


Varying age group, listens during games


Over 40, listens during peak hours and evenings

Write a list of radio stations that fit your buyer personas. Review each station’s media kit. You can do this by checking their websites or contacting their advertising office. Ensure that the stations reach the demographics you need. Check what time of day or night your audience tunes in. Ask if they have sponsorship spots so you can play your ad at the same time every day. 

As a general rule, it’s best to advertise between the hours of 6 AM-7 PM. From 12 AM - 6 AM is the worst time to advertise unless you’re running a 24-hour diner or another business that caters to those who work at night. During the evening hours (7 PM-12 AM), most people are less responsive to ads. (From 7 PM-8 PM, however, the audience is a bit higher, and it could be a good time for you if you want bargain rates.) 

What’s the Cost of Radio Advertising?

When you talk about the cost of radio advertising, you could mean one of two things. You can be talking about the cost of creating the original ad, or the cost of running it. We’ll cover both of these in the sections below. 

Creating the Radio Ad

It usually takes between $300 and $1,000 to create a radio ad. There are several options available to you when it comes to how to create a radio ad, and the cost for each option will vary.

You can: 

  • Have the radio station create the ad
  • Pay a professional production company to make the ad
  • Make the ad yourself
  • Hire a freelancer

If the station makes the ad, make sure that you won’t be required to use the ad if it’s not up to your standards. Share all of your ideas with the radio station so everyone has a good idea of what type of ad you’re looking for. Note: You won’t be able to use this ad on other radio stations. 

If a professional production company makes the ad, it’ll likely cost the most but provide the best results. The company will work with you to choose a voice, write a script, pick music and effects, and record the ad. You can ask the company to create a couple of ads for you so you can run an A/B test to see which is the most effective.  

If you create the ad, you’ll be responsible for the project from start to finish. You will need to record your ad yourself. Ensure that your recording doesn’t sound too scripted and that you’re comfortable with your voice being on the radio. 

If your voice doesn’t fit the ad, consider working with a freelancer. If you work with a freelancer, you will still need to create the ad yourself, but the freelance voice actor will record your script for you for a fee. 

Cost to Run the Ad

To continue running the ad, the cost may fall anywhere from $200 to $8,000 a week. These prices vary greatly depending on several factors, including: 

  • Population
  • Exposure
  • Demand
  • Production costs
  • And more

For example, a radio station in De Moines, Iowa, has less than 250,000 people in its market population. Ads there range from $200 to $1,500 a week. In highly populated areas like New York, the market population is between 3 million and 8.5 million. Advertisements there can cost anywhere between $4,000 to $8,000 per week. 

How to Create A Radio Ad

To create a radio ad, follow these steps: 

  • Create a script
  • Cut the script so it fits the correct timing
  • Choose a voice
  • Select the music
  • Select the sound effects
  • Record the audio
  • Track the advertisement

If you’d like to know the benefits of radio advertising, read our article on how to create a radio ad. We’ve also included some tips on how to make a radio ad. 

Create a Budget for Radio Advertisement

After you’ve reviewed every station’s advertising information, come up with an ideal budget. You’ll need to decide: 

  • How much you want to spend on radio advertising
  • How many placements you want to purchase
  • The time slot you want to pay for
  • How frequently you want to run campaign ads
  • Which stations you want to run advertisements on

Once you’ve ensured that you’re not spending too much of your campaign budget and you know exactly how to allocate your funds, contact the radio stations and reserve your spots to submit the ad. 

How to Contact Radio Stations

Use the Radio-Locator tool to find radio stations near you. If you already know what stations you’d like to contact, look up the phone number for their advertising department. If you aren’t sure what it is or can’t find it on their website, just Google it. They may even have an online form you can use to fill in the details on the ad you want like this one from iHeartMedia. 

...Or Use a Broker to Place Ads

If you’d rather be more hands-off, consider finding a radio agency or broker to help contact radio stations about your advertisement. They can help review the process of radio advertising with you and deliver results for you. 

Win Elections with Radio Advertising

Advertising can be a very effective way to get your name out to voters. If you aren’t having a broker or agency place the ads, you’ll be doing quite a bit of work, so make sure you do your research. You’ll want your campaign ads to be as effective as possible, and doing your research will get you there. Don’t forget to ensure that you can afford the advertisement you’ll need to do and that it fits nicely within your campaign budget. From there, you’ll just need to create your radio ad and contact the radio station about running it! Good luck!

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