Radio Advertising

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Radio advertising would be impossible without the radio. Radio waves were discovered and studied by Heinrich Hertz in 1867 (Schoenherr, 2001). Guglielmo Marconi invented a transmitter in 1894 and formed the first wireless telegraph and signal company in 1897 (Schoenherr, 2001). Reginald Fessenden of Canada invented the continuous-wave voice transmitter and sold it to Westinghouse in 1910. Several amateurs began to broadcast information from music to news over the airwaves as soon as crystal radio receivers became available from 1912 to 1921 (Schoenherr, 2001). Because of the Titanic disaster, all ships were required to have radios and radio operators on board. RCA started in 1919 to mass produce radios (Schoenherr, 2001). NBC was founded in 1926 and produced a 47 station network by 1928.

Today, television has the broadest audience, radio is more regional and newspapers are the most local. Radio advertising offers businesses advantages over other media. It reaches a large audience, with high target ability and low cost. Radio advertising is significantly lower in cost than television advertising. A television ad can cost $50,000 to produce. A similar radio ad will cost closer to $1,500 (“Direct Response Radio,” n.d.). A typical radio 60 second radio spot can cost $100. A 60 second television Commercial will likely cost $100,000. 13,000 radio stations in the United States reach 94% of the population over 12 years of age each week (“Direct Response Radio,” n.d.). Radio has greater target ability depending on the programs. Some types of music are more popular with teens and others more popular with people over 60. There are programs that target women, Hispanic listeners or adults 35 to 44 years of age. Radio advertising has the ability to drive online traffic to support sales. Finally, statistically speaking, radio listeners spend more per purchase than TV infomercial buyers ($148 vs. $98) on average (“Direct Response Radio,” n.d.).

Two different economic systems have been tried in the world during the twentieth century. The command economy and the market economy have both been tried by different nations in the world. A command economy is basically socialism where the government owns everything, producing and distributing goods and services by central planning (Perreault, Cannon, McCarthy, p.12). Market economies consistently outperformed command economies. Distribution and production are determined by millions of people buying goods and services desired. The market tries to satisfy the customer in exchange for a profit. Market economies are now recognized as the most desirable.

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Market economies have certain characteristics in common. First is private ownership with protected property rights. The market exchange has flexible prices that attempt to reflect the fundamentals of supply and demand. Market incentives include both rewards and penalties where the value of goods and services are worth the price or not. There is a monetary system that functions to make voluntary exchange possible. Finally there is trust in the market where goods and services can be assumed to be of value as advertised.

Market economies are natural developments that evolve wherever people exchange goods and services (Perreault et. al., p.12). Socialist economies are formed by government institutions. The first market economies used barter as a means of exchange where one person made a pair of shoes and exchanged those shoes for a spear made by someone else. Barter has limitations. It is impossible to trade 1,000 pairs of shoes to a car maker for a car because the carmaker does not want or need 1,000 pairs of shoes. A middle man can buy large lots of shoes and resell them to many stores for a profit. The shoe maker and the middleman can then afford to buy a car when there is money involved in the exchange. Companies can manufacture goods in hopes of selling those products but most companies hire salespeople. It is the job of salespersons to advertise the goods and services so that consumers know the product is available. The consumer then can decide to buy a product. Those products that sell get made. Products that do not sell will not be produced. Now companies will do a feasibility study to determine if a new product will be profitable. Many companies also look into the environmental and social effects that might be associated with a new product. Companies take environmental and social responsibility for the goods and services they provide in the market place.

Advertising has taken on many forms as more technology becomes available. Telemarketers call people on the phone. The phone numbers on a list are often target groups such as elderly people or young couples with children depending on the product for sale. Young couples with children might be interested in life insurance but older couples with an empty nest might be more inclined to buy nursing home insurance. Banner ads and pop-up ads have become part of everyday computer life. Different websites can target advertise to certain groups by age, sex, nationality, income or hobbies. Computers have provided an opportunity for even small companies to market their products around the world. Computers make statistical analysis more efficient. Companies can target certain customers. If mathematicians like classical music then a company that sells music can advertise classical music to lists of mathematicians around the world with the help of computer information to form the list and develop a delivery plan.

It is now possible to buy or sell any product using websites. Product information can be listed with pictures. Salesmen refer to product information as features and benefits. Advertising can even compare one product with another similar product available from a competing company. Not only can products be advertised using media technology, but products can now be purchased on – line using a computer on the World Wide Web.

Radio advertising has changed in many ways. It was once a situation where someone would go to the radio station with a script that was read live on the air by a radio announcer. Popular announcers would get paid more money because their voice was recognized on more radio stations. Advertising agencies developed where people with pleasing voices were hired to read scripts that were recorded and then played over and over again. Local radio stations still used live announcers to advertise local products. Two different price scales developed. Local advertising will cost a fraction of the price paid by national advertisers. National advertisers pay the same amount to advertise on a New York City station as they pay to advertise from a station in Kennett Missouri if those stations have the same number of listeners. Local advertising varies by location.

Radio advertising changed with the development of recording devices like recording tape. Even local radio stations could record advertisements once and replay them many times. These advertisements had to be practiced and many times recorded several times until one of the recordings had few or no mistakes. Computers have programs that edit recordings such that words or phrases can be cutout or added as needed (Nabors, 2008, para.8). Music can be put into the background behind the voice of the announcer. Radio advertisements can be produced by companies that specialize in public relations. These firms often work with a few or even one company that produces a product or service. A public relations firm will set up advertising at a convention of people in the target audience or produce advertisements for television, news print and radio that a company may need. These companies buy time or space from radio stations, television stations and print media. Advertisements produced with technology and human writing or recording are distributed through the media for release at appropriate times and places. Radio stations receive their advertisements from distant locations on a computer.

One obvious target audience for many rural radio stations is advertising to farmers and ranchers. Most farmers listen to radios in their trucks, tractors and harvest equipment. Most farm shops also have a radio turned on in order to catch the national and local news. Even more important is the broadcast of prices paid for agricultural products like corn or cattle. Many people listen to the radio while working. If McDonalds runs a special where the Big Mac is sold for a dollar, everyone wants to know about it. Radio is more fast and efficient than ever with new computer technology. A radio ad can be developed and ready for delivery within a few days or less.

If we look at agriculture as a target audience, some products use a different strategy than others. If we consider those products a farmer must buy every year to operate, one of those is seeds to plant. This product is marketed from a micro view of marketing. There are many different types of farms. Climate varies greatly from one place to another but so does soil type vary. One variety of soybeans will not grow in Montana and Missouri equally well. There are hundreds of different varieties of soybeans that match various soil types in various climates. Radio stations advertise those varieties that do well in their region. Each seed variety is tested in numerous locations and targeted not only to farmers but farmers within a particular growing area. The chemical fertilizers and pest control products are more macro marketed. The audience is still farmers but it is not economical to produce an herbicide that kills only one type of weed. Therefore, pesticides are more generally adaptable and marketed to all farmers in any areas where that herbicide is needed.

The radio advertisements must have a script written just as they did years ago. The script can be read by anyone. Some companies use the same familiar person like Orion Samuelson advertising for John Deere. Most local companies use a local announcer but some salesmen prefer to be on the air themselves. With the advent of world market accessibility, advertising is also possible for any market anywhere. Computer technology coupled with media has made exchange more democratic than ever before.

References
Nabors, Ray PhD. Personal Interview. 27 Sep. 2008
Perreault, Jr., W.D., Cannon, J.P., & McCarthy, E.J. (2008). Essentials of Marketing: A Marketing Strategy Planning Approach (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Schoenherr, S. E. (2001). History of Radio. Retrieved September 27, 2008, from Recording Technology History Notes Web site: http://web.archive.org/web/20060427024057/http://history.acusd.edu/gen/recordi ng/radio.html
Direct Response Radio. n.d). Retrieved September 27, 2008, from http://www.strategicmediainc.com/radio-advertising.php


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