Why Radio Endorsement Campaigns WORK

Why Radio Endorsement Campaigns WORK

I worked in sales & as a Local Sales Manager for legendary Cleveland rock station, 100.7 WMMS – The Home of the Buzzard – for eight years.  The station had been top-ranked for much of my youth & had even been on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.  But, when I sold for ‘MMS, the station was ratings-challenged with a revolving door in Morning Drive.  So, we worked hard to uncover the key marketing challenges of our local customers, in order to customize big ideas that would deliver results – and if not, would at least create some buzz.  It was a challenging sale & not for just any radio salesperson.



Next, I worked at the former CBS Radio (now Entercom), as a Local Sales Manager & General Sales Manager of the two rock properties at the time, 98.5 WNCX & 92.3 K-Rock (no 92.3 The Fan).  These stations also presented a challenge to sell, as neither were top-ranked in popular buying demos & both skewed heavily male.  Our strategy was also to sell big ideas, promotions & campaigns that hoped to achieve goals like awareness, increased store traffic, sales growth, etc.

After four years, I left this company with a non-compete.  After the non-compete expired, I decided to stay in radio.  I had the opportunity to interview for a few positions, but was really only interested in one station – 1100AM WTAM – The Big One – Cleveland’s only News/Talk station.  The reason – I had been banging my head against the wall for too many years trying to sell low-rated rock stations & I wanted an easier sell, to a more desirable clientele.

Upon accepting the job at WTAM, like any good kid, I told my parents that I was going to work at 1100.  My mom was ecstatic.  She told me that she was so excited that I’d be working with her friend, Bill Wills (Bill Wills is the long-time host of the Morning Show on WTAM).

I said to my mom, “When I worked at WMMS, we were in the same building as WTAM for years – I’d been in meetings with Bill Wills, had lunch with Bill Wills, ridden the elevator with Bill Wills . . . I knew Bill Wills – so how did I not know that you & Bill Wills are friends?”

My mom, who I consider to be an upscale, not-affected-by-advertising consumer, told me that they weren’t really friends, but that she listened to him every morning & felt like they were friends – and that was why she bought her Lexus from a Lexus dealer that Bill used to endorse.

So, if my mom was impacted by an endorsement because she thought she was friends with an on-air personality who she had never met, then I was only going to sell endorsements when I got to ‘TAM.

Years later, I started Mean Joe Advertising, and endorsements have been a powerful strategy for many of our partners.

It’s not the only strategy that works on radio, but we believe that if you have a product or service that needs explaining; or that requires trust; or that has a great story that needs to be told, then an endorsement is the way to go.

The bottom line is that radio listeners are influenced by authentic, sincere, trustworthy, credible on-air personalities, who do enough talking to develop that kind of relationship with their fans/listeners.

If they share the same opinions, passions, morals, ethics, perspectives with the host they listen to five days a week, then they would probably like the auto dealer or jewelry store or home improvement company their favorite talker tells them about every week.

Plus, a true professional on-air host is able to create deep emotional engagement, leading to their consumer – the listener – responding to the message.

Even more importantly for the advertiser, is that the consumer will have a better chance of remembering where they heard about the business, which will help track results and return-on-investment.

Here are stats that some third-party provided to a media company, who included it in some PowerPoint deck they sent us:

  • 73% Perceive a deep connection with a favorite radio personality
  • 79% Value their opinion and perspectives
  • 66% Considered or purchased a product recommended by their favorite personality

There’s more to a successful radio campaign than this.  So, if you’re using radio & it’s not working or not working well enough, you might need some help from someone or some company with a proven track record & expertise.  It’ll save you time & let you work more on your business than in your business