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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

Programming v Commercial

There’s always the old question in commercial radio of which team is the most important. The ones who “bring in the money” or the ones that make the product what it is – helping to bring in the pounds.

I actually believe that both departments provide vitality to the running of the radio station – and both need each other!

In commercial radio there are two types of radio promotions: one which has a strategic vision from the programming department designed to build hours or audiences and another which has been solely developed by the commercial department to help bring in the revenue.

However it seems in todays ever-increasing world of demand for revenue generation it’s often the latter which stands out for all the wrong reasons.

I hold my hand up that I’ve been pushing an idea through programming to help reach a sales target – without making sure it’s “right” and “relevant” for the radio station and its audience.

Commercial demands can sometime dictate and lose the creativity. (“I know the client would want to give away a selection of floor tiles as a star prize – but I’m sure listeners will rather win £1000 spending money.”)

Get it right, however, and it can become the most powerful form of radio advertising for brands and programming departments alike.

Radio promotions create wonderful opportunities for listeners to get excited, enthused and engaged with the radio station brand, the on air talent and, in turn, the sponsor.

Have a listen to these very excited local radio listeners from Isle of Wight Radio when they realised they were on air as winners:

CHECKLIST Here’s a quick check list of what to ask yourself when putting together that promotion proposal …

1. Does this work for the audience – yep, OK then.. does this work for the advertiser?

2. Does the promotion deliver both the station brand and the advertisers brand with credibility and power

3. Would you enter / go to the website / come in store? Is it engaging?

4. Would you tell a ‘friend’ about the promotion that you’ve heard on the radio – does it have that stickiness and talkability?


So commercial guys and programming teams – c’mon, work together in harmony and put yourselves in each other shoes.

Commercial – come up with something but don’t sell your soul and think about if the audience will enjoy it?

Programmers – I know you are precious about your audience and we understand why – but come on – there’s a target to reach and it’ll be great to get them on board!

As Harry Hill says –

“which is better .. there’s only one way to find out”.