Radio Program/Time Block Sponsorship Considerations by Carey Lewis

February 28, 2019
Nichelle Schulz

Definition:

If a company or organization sponsors a time-block or programme they pay to have their Brand ID positioned at the beginning or end of the feature (sometimes both) and a 30 second spot.

When are sponsorships appropriate?

Most media practitioners will suggest a sponsorship is the right environment after they and the client agree that sponsorships are 1) timely, 2) on strategy, 3) the right fit with the product or service being promoted, 4) relevant to the listener and most importantly 5) within budget.  Media Strategists and planners will use syndicated and proprietary research tools to drill down through the research to help determine which programme types and time-blocks are ideal for their client to consider sponsoring.  It’s important to note Radio sponsorships are more appropriate for established brands whose product or service is purchased frequently or requires longer periods of time to expose the listener to the product or service to help influence their purchase decision.

What duration, relative to weeks and what time is ideal for a sponsorship?

Stations traditionally like selling sponsorships on a 13, 26, or 52-week term and clients and their agency partner will look for the most appropriate time to reach their prospects.  For radio, this generally means in AM and PM drive times or within a feature or event.  For example: a newscast, business report, syndicated programme or a sporting event are typical features and events most sought after.

Why a longer commitment?

Because, these are the most appropriate environments to reach loyal listeners, stations usually will look for a longer-term commitment, to protect their premium inventory (largest audience) and share.  For an advertiser, it will give them a better opportunity to build a relationship with the listener when they are regularly tuned to radio everyday.

Geographically: Where should clients advertise?

For local businesses, obviously in the market where they are located.  For regional and national marketers, they will consider sponsorships, geographically, where they can garner the biggest share of market (sales) for their product or service.  Simply said: Radio can be costly to purchase regionally and nationally, so regional and national advertisers will concentrate advertising in markets with the greatest population.

How do you approach the medium/broadcasters?

A planner and buyer can approach broadcasters to find out what properties are available for their client to consider.  In many cases though, this could be a hit or miss because a sponsorship created a station is generally targeted to reach just the listener and very well could mean trying to fit a square peg (your client’s message) into a round hole (the listener’s mind).  Best practices on this front support sitting down with your client in advance of the briefing to the media seller to determine what touch points the client wants the listener to hear in an environment that will engage the listener.  This will mean briefing a station or stations to create a sponsorship specifically for your client, with their objectives being paramount.  It’s conceivable then, that you could come up with a handful of sponsorships, with each being different (content) but all would be engaging to the listener with relevant content as the psychographic traits and lifestyle habits of listeners tend to vary by station.

This is a different approach to doing radio beyond planning and buying against a reach/frequency objective, however it can be an effective way to engage listeners to promote an established client’s product or service.  As for the execution, placement consideration should be given to moving from the radio station’s content, into the specifically created sponsorship feature, to the closing billboard (ID) and 30 second spot.  When organized in this fashion the stations content will blend in with the feature.  In today’s world, the listener tends to engage more with relevant content and when the content is important to them it’s a win-win for the client, the listener and the station… and agency too!

Carey Lewis is the Director of Strategic Planning at DSA Media clewis@dsamedia.ca  Please reach out if you’d like to discuss the approach to planning and buying Radio at greater length.