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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

5 creative marketing ideas from Student Radio

Last week as the weather started to make its attempt at spring, radio’s youngest and brightest stars from around the country headed to a very windy Leicester for The National Student Radio Conference.

To get a glimpse of what went on, the team from Demon FM have put together some nice little videos:

From going to the sessions, and talking to the guys there, you hear a lot of cool ideas. So I thought I would share some of the cool marketing and promotion ideas that I heard at this year’s conference. And, as Davina says, these are in no particular order.

1. Targeted pain relief for those hard to reach library sessions.

So the first piece of cool marketing is from URN in Nottingham. They created a viral website for students to self-diagnose their stress levels from spending too many hours in the library.


The website is very simple, but well designed and the colour scheme is adapted from URN’s own brand colours. After answering a few simple and funny questions, the user is given a rating of how bad their stress level is and offered a strong dose of listening to URN.

A really creative idea, that was executed simply and effectively, along side fitting the brand well and targeting the audience perfectly – nice one guys!

You can check out the website at

2. We’re going to party like it’s 1996

Everyone loves a good birthday party, but we all know that they were better when we were kids. So what happened when Fly FM wanted to celebrate their 15th Birthday? Hold a 90’s themed party of course!


This proves that events don’t have to be big or cost a lot of money to be effective, just the time to book out a room and a trip down Asda to get some Chipsticks and Party Rings is all you need! Also there is hardly going to be a lack of DJ’s at party organised by the student radio station.

This is another promotional idea that fits the target market beautifully. The element of nostalgia works to tie in with celebrating Fly FM’s heritage.

I wonder if you had to ‘Bring Your Own Tamagotchi’?

3. Take That 103, Glee FM and Arrivals FM

We all love a good temporary rebrand; they are a great way of gaining some press exposure and help promote the station to new audiences.


For the past couple of years, Nerve Radio has dedicated its September Restricted Service Licence (RSL) to the new students arriving at Bournemouth Uni. So forget Nerve Radio, it’s all about Arrivals FM! Posters are put up all over campus, leaflets are given out at the Fresher’s Fayre and there is a full page advert in the magazine given out to all students, encouraging them to get involved.

And if you’re very lucky you get a hug from the pervy station mascot – The Nerve Panda!

This gives a real boost to the station, with OB’s from around campus, lots of competitions and a guy dressed in panda costume, it is a great way to start the year and always brings in an overwhelming amount of interest for the station.

4. The Marathon Shows

If it’s good enough for Pure FM then it’s good enough for Chris Moyles eh?


Many student stations each year do marathon shows as they help focus the spotlight on key talent, and raise a bit of cash for worthwhile charity. Also marathon shows in student radio are great as there are zero compliance forms to fill out and practically no health and safety involved!

At the end of last year Pure FM managed to raise over £700 for World Aids Day. And Spark FM got a special mention at the conference for raising £3000 over three days for a local charity in Sunderland.

5. The Viral Video

Videos are a brilliant way of demonstrating what a station is all about, which can sometimes be a bit hard in student radio with so many different shows ranging in content and style.


At Bailrigg FM in Lancaster they produced a viral advert that demonstrates the ethos of the station being a fun, upbeat listen with a slightly eclectic playlist. And at Fly FM in Nottingham they have produced a series of fifteen-second count down videos to the start of the new term.

Once again, very simple and easy to do ideas, that gain stations extra exposure to the target market.

These are just some of the ideas I came across at the conference, that demonstrate creative solutions that have been executed well despite the budget constraints that stations often face.

This is a guest post from Stephen Dew. Stephen is a radio presenter and self-confessed imaging geek, and has recently gradated from Bournemouth University where he spent most of his time as the Head of Poorly Thought Out Features at Nerve Radio.