Old School FM Radio Promotions Tactics

Published Thursday, April 9, 2009

I spent ages looking for the best ways to promote my radio stations in a way that would work for the brand, entertain the TG and possibly could get sold to a sponsor… Below are a few Old School FM Radio Promotions Tactics that have worked before. I have done some of them and others have been done by friends from other radio stations. These are all tactics and I have tried to mention what benefit each one has, CUME or TSL. You can and must come up with brand new ideas also. Some of these ideas are protected by copyright in some places so do them or modifications of them at your own risk.

Red Box – Get a huge box, maybe a ship/truck container. Paint it red or another station colour. Also plaster the station branding on the box. Put it at strategic places in the city for a month. Ask listeners and passersby to guess what’s in the box. On air you keep announcing where the box is on each day so people get a chance to see it. On the grand day we along with press and celebs etc open the box and look inside. The person who guessed the closest to what’s in the box wins everything! Could be a car or a diamond or a Harley or a whole bunch of stuff etc… could be anything…  This promotion works well for a new station in the market as it develops CUME. You can’t generate fresh CUME with a strictly on air promotion as the non listeners won’t hear you. You need off air promotion! The Red Box gets the station out on to the streets and exposes the station to non listeners. It’s a hype generator pure and simple, it gets the market talking and that’s invaluable.

The Phrase That Pays – You simply tell listeners to register through ams or another interactive method if you want to drive that. Then call them back “live” (read recorded) on air and if they answer with the line “I Love ooxoxox FM” then they win a small gift. Excellent for CUME. The line can be replaced with a sponsor tag and product line easily in fact it almost always is a sponsor tag. Not very good fun but works very well in promoting the station name, frequency and positioning none the less.

Fugitive – This one is hard core CUME building. It gets the market talking about you! Announce that there is a “fugitive” (run away or escapee or  actor on the run etc… we make up our own name for it based on your brand) on the loose in the city. You can say he has run away from the radio station. Create your own story about him. Say on air that they have been spotted wearing a red jacket in a part of your coverage area for example. Listeners of the station have to simply go up to and ask a person they think is the fugitive if they are the “fugitive” but they have to say it in the right way “are you the oxoxoxo FM fugitive?”. Its wild and you take people on air who have made asses of themselves etc…  don’t tease or promote this,  just one day announce it with some drama on air that’s repeated 4 times an hour for a few days. Could run it for 3 weeks till the fugitive is found. We need to keep it simple, don’t make it complex.

Beat the bomb – Play this game by creating a sound that increases in intensity like a drone and along with this are numbers that always go up. The numbers can jump but always go up ie. 1,2,3,6,8,9,10 etc… The listener can say stop whenever they want to and at whatever number they stop at they win that amount in cash. Obviously they would wait for a long time to say stop, as long as possible but at any time a bomb sound goes off and they win nothing. It’s a game of greed, dirty bred and tension. The more we stand to win the more we stand to lose. It’s very good radio. You can convert this to other things ie. I have heard this done called beat the pump when we are playing for litres of gas and there is a pump sound with numbers. It’s easy to sponsor too!

We Pay Your Bills – It’s the simplest one of all but it works. You simply tell listeners to send in copies of their bills, could be school bills, phone bills, gas bills, shopping bills etc… You select one listener participant every hour at random and announce the name and amount. Now the thing is the winner has to call back the station in say 5 mins or you won’t pay the bill! Everybody has a bill they want you to pay so they send it to you and become dedicated listeners for fear they may miss out on the cash. They get friends and family to tune in on rotation so as not to miss if their bill and name is announced. Huge for CUME. The fun comes from giving cash out on air, with a good jock you’ll get people crying with happiness etc… all good radio.

Hidden Words – This is especially useful for generating Facebook and website likes and hits if thats important to you. It works very well. You put a few words, a phrase on the FB page and the station website. Could be as simple as “We are oxoxoxo FM”. You tell listeners to call in as soon as they hear these words on air in a promo or link on air. You make sure you say the ninth caller will win not the first. This is exceptionally good at raising TSL as listeners need to stay tuned in. The words can also be a sponsor product and or tag line thus sales will like it also. Simplicity is the key.