Which is Better … A Radio Show or Radio Commercials?

By Joe Bayliss

May 26, 2016

I get this question a lot. What's better ... a radio show, or radio commercials?

I've been doing this for many years now, and my answers may surprise you ...​

Radio Show - Advantages

With a radio show, your listeners really get to know you. They know who you are, and how you think, because you're on the air for an hour each week. In fact, they're quietly building a personal relationship with you. And you don't even know it. 

So when a call to action motivates them to pick up the phone and call you, they're ready to go. Many of these potential clients even come in with statements in hand. Unlike most other forms of "advertising," they already know you, and therefore it eliminates the "who are you?" step.​

A secondary benefit of having a show is that it helps build trust and credibility for your business. (But if this is the primary reason you have a show, then you have a whole other problem).

Radio Show - Disadvantages

Putting on a show takes work. You have to prepare. And then you have to actually record the show. Very few of our clients do a live show because they don't want to work weekends. Regardless, it requires some work. That said, I could give you 100 reasons why doing your own radio show is worth every minute of effort.

The other disadvantage is that weekend block programming on radio is getting to be a competitive space. Some markets have become totally saturated. (Shame on those stations who have prostituted their entire weekend line-up). But believe it or not, we still uncover some hidden opportunities on radio today.

Radio Commercials - Advantages

The primary advantage of having a radio commercial campaign is that you’re speaking to a much larger audience. The weekday audience in morning drive, mid-days and afternoon drive could be 5 to 10X larger than the highest rated hour on the weekend. So instead of duking it out on the weekend (and potentially sandwiched between other advisors), reaching a smaller audience, you’re now speaking to the masses. 

That’s obviously a big plus.

Secondly, there’s no preparation like a radio show requires. So it’s much less of a time commitment. But do know it still requires your attention and effort. The campaign needs to be monitored, and the creative should be updated frequently. There’s no getting around that.

Radio Commercials - Disadvantages

A radio commercial campaign is advertising, as opposed to a (good) show, which is content. Don't underestimate that significant difference. You're trying to establish trust and credibility and have a call to action (CTA) all within 60 seconds. Trust me, that's difficult. You've also added another step in the conversion process...who are you? A listener doesn't get to know you like they would if you had a show. 

Finally, it could take longer to get some traction (depending upon your CTA). 


I know what you want. You want 10-20 high net worth leads every week. And you don't want to work that hard to get it. But generating leads takes work. And if you try to take one of the many shortcuts available to you... youll pay the price. There is no magic pill. 

So which is better ... a radio show, or radio commercial campaign? Given the right strategy, you can have success with one or the other. But they really work best in combination as a 1-2 punch.

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