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Radio Tags, Donuts & Pretzels

Certain structures for radio spots can provide inexpensive ways of getting more mileage out of a campaign - making them more immediate. They allow an advertiser such as a retailer to update spots almost on the spur of the moment, breathing fresh life into a campaign and yet keeping it consistent. But there may be more creative ways to this than we’re used to.

If you have a spot that is to be tagged with specials, then write the tags so they sound like they’re a part of the spot and not something that was simply slapped on. If it’s a humorous spot, give the tag a flavor of the spot’s humor. If the spot is dramatic then create the tag with some of the drama. At least create the tag so it responds to what has preceded it. Your soft image spot will not be enhanced with a hard sell tag. Write your co-op spot so it satisfies the requirements of the manufacturer, but sounds like it was done for the retailer. Don’t just tag on a retailer’s contact information.

It’s definitely worth the effort because it will get results for the local advertiser even if the listener doesn’t respond to a pitch for that particular product.

Another non-conventional approach to doing a tagged commercial is to spend the portion of the commercial that precedes the tag or insert introducing it. Build the audience’s anticipation for the important information that is about to be delivered. Tell a story with the tag as the punchline. Ask questions that will be answered in the tag. Tell an intriguing story about the person who will be delivering the tag. Create a scenario illustrating the value of the tag information in the life of the listener. In other words, turn the whole premise around. Make the tag the entire focus of the spot not just an add-on.

Everything I said about tags applies to those mid-commercial inserts called donuts. Make your transitions in and out of ‘em as seamless as possible.

In a pretzel spot (one containing many inserts) try designing the inserts so they interact with what is on either side of them. Maybe they’re read by someone who comments on the other characters in the spot. Make the entire commercial a conversation so the insert information becomes part of the dialogue.

Jeffrey Hedquist Productions, email

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