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Radio Still Has Power in the Age of the Internet
 
Savvy Talks with Radio Expert Bryan Fikes

Radio was one of the original targeted media. By keying in to a station’s music, ideology and cast of characters, you could reach your target audience with laser-like precision. And you could do this before there was search marketing or Google.

Still, radio gets a bad rep with some small business owners, who have tried it, without understanding its true magic. More than any other media, it demands frequency for success. Your jingle or commercial has the ability to germinate in your listener’s mind while they are trapped in their cars for that dreaded daily commute, better known in the radio as “drive time.”

Spotlight on Bryan Fikes

Radio Expert Bryant FikesRadio and Bryan Fikes were made for each other. He was given a radio at age 8 which he carried around for years.

I also inherited a radio that I believed my grandfather used in World War II, Fikes says. It had multiple weather channels and sub bands. I think from that day I figured out that I was meant to be in radio.

Fikes has done everything in radio from DJ to Account Executive. Today he runs a company that is blending his love for radio marketing with the Internet. His biggest challenge is improving his web page rank, something he also does for his clients.

He offers solutions for Radio, TV, print, direct mail, billboards, advertising, marketing, PR, Public Relations, Sales Model Improvement and other areas like business planning and business structure. You can visit Bryan Fikes’ websites at Bay Area Radio Advertising and Baby Peek Media.


With radio advertising, you can reach a targeted group of consumers with a simple, but powerful message about your product or service. The key feature of a radio station is its format - the type of programming it features and the style of the announcers in between, he explains.

In his profile on the Jump Up forum on Intuit.com - the tax and financial software people - Fikes explains that you are buying access to an audience. Radio stations sell time and access to their well-honed audience of listeners.

Fikes says that you could write and produce your own ad, but you will probably get the best results by working with a professional. To get started with radio, he says you should choose only one radio station, after interviewing every station in your marketplace.

Here are the questions, Fikes says you should ask:


  • What demographic does your station target?
  • What is the audience size or “cume” of your station?
  • What has your “Account Executive” experience been with the small businesses using your station?
  • What is the reach of your signal?
  • What is the smallest budget you work with?
  • Keep in mind, what you are doing by interviewing all the stations in the market, is getting the average rate per commercial that the radio stations are charging, Fikes explains.

There are a lot of variables when negotiating with rate, but in general, the account executive you work with should give you a good rate depending on the size of your schedule. Schedule is the term used for the amount of ads and where they are placed.

Here are some factors Fikes says you should keep in mind when buying ads:

  • Determine how far someone will travel to use your product or service.
  • Find out how much is one new customer worth.
  • Does the customer buy once, or is there the possibility of keeping them longer?

Must Do's in Radio

  • Be patient.
  • Invest long term
  • Have a unique fresh commercial that describes what you are trying to sell clearly.

Must Not's                 

  • Buy the wrong station (Happens when owners try to buy a station they “like,” vs. what their customers tune into)
  • Buy too few commercials.


 “This is the key,” Fikes says. “If you can not afford to have frequency in your schedule, meaning that you reach the listeners several times, you should NOT invest in radio.”

Marcia Ming

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