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Radio – A Great Way to Reach a Loyal Audience at the Right Time

December 19, 2013

Few advertising options have the advantage that radio offers – great reach to a loyal audience with close proximity to their shopping occasions. With radio, an advertiser can reach 92% of the U.S. population(1). Just as important is the fact that these consumers are typically loyal to a specific station. The goodwill that radio has with target consumers is invaluable. Audience loyalty increases frequency, which is very important to advertisers. Loyalty greatly increases the chance that their message will be heard by this continually tuned-in audience.

Radio’s Reach

Just about every consumer tunes to the radio every week. Few advertising options can offer nearly everyone. This massive reach is across genders, all demographic/ethnic groups, and all geographies. In other words, radio reaches almost everyone every week (see below).

Even the best ad campaign is completely ineffective if it does not reach potential consumers. Because radio reaches 92% of all Americans, advertisers can be assured that their message is being heard.






















Source: Arbitron Inc., Radio Today by the Numbers Fall 2013
RADAR 118 September 2013

Radio’s Frequency

It’s difficult to find a reach medium to which consumers have a strong emotional link. However, radio does just that. Every listener has a favorite radio station to which they have this important emotional bond. A message on their favorite station can bring unmatched goodwill.

While this emotional relationship is critical for any ad message to be effective, many believe it is difficult to quantify this vague benchmark. However there are two estimates that can help gear an advertiser to stations that can deliver this. They are:

  • First Preference Listening. Technically, first preference listeners are those that spend more time with a given station than any other. Many believe that it is your favorite station. These are the people that are brand loyal to your radio station. According to an Arbitron national PPM study, 20% of a station’s cume results in 63% of a station’s AQH. In other words, one in five listeners is driving nearly two-thirds of a station’s listening. First preference listeners are those that a typical radio schedule will deliver. So, while advertisers need to pay attention to a station’s reach (cume), they need to be equally concerned about reaching loyal first preference listeners.
  • Time Spent Listening. The amount of time a listener spends with a given station is another sign of how loyal they are to that station. Radio stations that attract higher time spent listening make it easier for advertisers to build an effective frequency. According the latest Nielsen Audio Study, the average P12+ listener spends more than 2.5 hours per day with radio(1). Stations with higher TSL can boast a more loyal listener than those with lower TSL.

Reach Consumers Just Before They Shop

Radio consistently delivers large audiences. This is especially true during the day when most shopping occurs. In fact, on an average weekday, AM/FM radio reaches more people than every other medium before 4:30PM. On the weekends, AM/FM radio reaches more people than any other medium except television. Most importantly, 19% of the AM/FM radio P25-54 audience is exposed to advertisers’ messages within the half-hour that shopping occurs, by far the highest of any other medium(2).


While buying radio is fairly simple, it is important to determine which stations both reach and deliver the right listeners for your product or service.

If you want to reach just about everybody in an ideal advertising setting close to the time of purchase –


-Marc Greenspan, Partner

(1) Nielsen Audio – Radio Today 2013
(2) MBI Touchpoints