The Pros and Cons of Radio Advertising

Most small businesses don’t have the big advertising budgets that corporations enjoy, so the thought of advertising on the radio seems out of reach. Yet in some areas, particularly smaller communities, it might be more accessible than you think. But before you tune in to your favorite station, take a look at these pros and cons of radio advertising to determine whether it’s a good fit with your overall promotional plan.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before making your decision:


  • Target an Audience – You can select the station and time when your ad will run so your target market will hear it. For example, an auto repair business could run the ad during the morning and evening drive time when people are in their cars.
  • Harness the Power of Sound – Unlike a print ad, radio spots can use sounds, voices and music to create an attention-getting message. Radio jingles or local celebrity voices can create a memorable impression.
  • Speed to Air – Radio ads are relatively easy to produce, so you can place the ad quickly. They can also be modified easily as your needs change. Some radio stations can create the ad for you.


  • Distracted Listeners – Most individuals are not just listening to the radio. They might be driving or preparing a meal at the same time. So you may be reaching your target market, but they may be tuning out your message.
  • Requires Repetition – Listeners need to hear a message multiple times for it to be retained. That means that you may need to run your message over a longer period or more frequently in order to see results.
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All – Radio may not be appropriate if your product needs to be seen or demonstrated to showcase its benefit. For example, if you’re marketing a new wrench for fixing a leaky pipe, you’re likely to create a more compelling message if you can show visually how it works.

Generally you’ll incur two types of costs to produce a radio ad. First is the cost to produce the ad, including script writing, studio time and editing. In addition, there is the cost to purchase the airtime to run your ad. But before you decide, consider the pros and cons of radio advertising to determine if it’s right for you.

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