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Radio on-air giveaways--who doesn’t love them?

Radio on-air giveaways--who doesn’t love them? . . . The excitement of frantically hitting your phone’s redial button to be that designated caller . . . the thrill of winning merchandise for the cost of a phone call (basically “free”). Radio audiences have enjoyed these giveaways since the inception of the medium; and to the untrained ear, their execution has remained unchanged ever since.

However, behind the scenes these past 10 or so years, there has been a shift in philosophy. No longer are the gift cards and concert tickets considered “free.” They are now counted against a vendor’s advertising budget and must be spent more cautiously and efficiently. The goal of these contests is to increase awareness, to increase traffic, and to increase merchandise sales--not just by the winning caller, but by the audience tuning in.

Radio station formats are tighter now with franchised programming and little “free” time left for listener interaction. So, what to do? There are still ways for advertisers to maximize the value of their giveaways so that they not only benefit the winners but other listeners as well. Even a Caller X giveaway with no listener interaction can be executed with a radio host reciting current specials or other messaging. Instead of announcing the winner’s name and hometown, the host can announce the sponsor’s location where the winner will shop. Online contests are supported by on-air promos which can also include current messaging, however brief. Anything over and above “name only” announcements inform the public and maximize the value of the promo time allotted.

Keeping up with the times can be challenging, but radio on-air giveaways are still a win/win/win situation. They create a forced listening opportunity for stations, enhance the advertiser’s paid schedule, and reward listeners for their loyalty . . . So, to listeners we say--keep dialing in, your active participation supports both local businesses and your favorite radio station in the marketplace!

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