With event radio ads, you are literally fighting against your listener’s sleep cycle.

Whether its a product launch, a concert, or an important business milestone, the goal is to advertise as much as possible before the occasion. However, be careful not to schedule your event radio ads too early or too late.

So when do you start advertising?  A week? A month before the event?

Well, it all depends on your budget.

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1. Come Up With A Budget For your Event Radio Ad

You need to have a ballpark figure in mind.

This may seem standard or even obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often business owners fail to account for the cost of event radio ads. Knowing what you need to pay before creating and running your ad will allow you to focus on what’s important.

Having a budget simply saves you the stress of worrying about the financial aspect of your radio ad. So how do you get to this ‘ballpark figure’ that will make scheduling events radio ads much easier for you?

Start by asking yourself:

What Type of Event are you Marketing?

The beauty of radio advertising is that it can be used for both short-term and long-term engagements. When marketing events with a deadline, you can use radio to drive traffic, but you need to be aggressive. This means scheduling as many as 24 spots per day across all the relevant radio stations.

i. Sales and Special Events

Maybe you want to run an ad for a special event that falls outside of your daily business activities, like a reception or a concert. Or maybe your business is having a major sale and you need a lot of people to show up.

Plan everything backward from the start of your event, so that the first ad to be scheduled will be the last to run.

Here are three helpful tips for special and sales events radio ads:

  • The optimal time to schedule your radio spots is between 6 am and 7 pm, but you should schedule off-peak radio spots as well.

Late-night event radio ads can increase listener retention.

  • At most, allow one-hour intervals between each spot.

This entirely depends on your budget. There’s no such thing as ‘too many ad slots to fill’ when it comes to event ads. After all, you are aiming for a high retention rate, so take up as many spots as your budget allows.

  • Start advertising a week before the event.

Start running the ads at least 5 days to the event. If you start too early, listeners won’t not prioritize the information and will likely forget it.

event radio ads must knows

If you start too late, they might have already committed to something else. So you’re not just working against their sleep cycles here; you are also chasing their schedules.

As an example…

Let’s say your event is on a Saturday at 10 am. Schedule the last ad to run on Saturday at 9 am, and then schedule one more ad every hour going backward until your budget runs out.


Even a tight budget should last at least 5 days for the best results.

Keep reminding your listeners, assuming you already have a dedicated audience, of the time and date of the event. Be like an ear-worm, like that song they just can’t get out of their heads. They should hear your ad on every station they turn to.

Here are more radio ads tips to successful radio advertising. 

ii. Long-Term Event Radio Ads

We know what you’re thinking; is there such a thing as long term events?

Yes, and no.

Some event radio ads have longer running cycles, and instead of promoting urgent sales or concerts, these ads aim to build brand awareness. This is a great strategy for event organizing businesses. You need to buy enough ad repetition to ensure your brand name springs to mind each time the need for an event arises in the listener.

Sure, it comes at a higher price, but the rewards of long-term advertising are also massive.

For starters, your brand name will be ingrained into your listener’s long term memory.

Think of it like setting yourself up for any future advertising. Creating a household name for yourself means what you will have an active audience whenever you need to market a special or a sales event.

Remember this:

  • You’ll need a bigger budget since you’ll be advertising for longer.

The beauty of radio is that you can advertise repeatedly across multiple stations. But that might also be the curse of radio; that you have to run spots over and over again.

Its the only way listeners will retain your content, and who can blame them, they are exposed to so much advertising already.

Here’s how to write an almighty radio ad script that cuts through the noise. 

  • You need a minimum of 21 spots per week, for at least 52 weeks.

Since you are not pushing any urgent messages, your radio ads will be scheduled on a day to day basis instead of hourly.

This will reduce the chances of your ad sounding monotonous. You don’t want your listeners to quickly change the station each time an ad comes on because they are just so tired of the same announcer.

Additional primetime ad spots and a few HIPs (high impact ads) can also supplement this strategy.

  • Beware of the chickening out period

You need to be patient, radio doesn’t work miracles overnight.

The first 9 to 14 weeks of long-term advertising are the hardest. You might get little to no reaction at all. And if you are sure you did your research and developed the best script possible, then all you have to do is wait.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right?

2. Consider The Listener’s Sleep Cycle

A radio listener’s sleep cycle is one of the industry’s best-hidden secrets. This is because sleep is one of the mind’s greatest eraser of electrical memory.

The bad news is that our minds are purged entirely of irrelevant memories (like ads) each night as you sleep. The really bad news is that ads with deadlines (like event radio ads) fade even quicker as listeners engage in other activities. Which is why you need to keep reminding them.

So you should worry less about your budget and more about how to increase the ratio of advertising vs listener sleep.

Craft a schedule, that’s a good place to start. If your budget is tight, advertise (a lot) when you know your audience is awake and listening.

You can also opt for a spaced-out program with fewer ad spots on different times of the day. It’s a calculated risk, but it will help you get your event radio ad out there.

Depending on your audience, you might also want to consider using other advertising mediums to supplement the use of event radio ads.

Learn how to choose the best advertising medium according to your business needs. 

And don’t forget social media. Radio works really well with social media. Imagine a listener hears your ad, and the call to action directs them to your Facebook page where you display all your products. Even if this customer forgets about the ad the next day, Facebook will remind them all about your big event.

Here is a guide on Radio vs. TV vs. Facebook advertising. 

3. Planning for Event Radio Ads

Your planned budget might be too small because you failed to account for all the relevant factors.

If you do a simple Google search for “radio ad costs,” you’ll get a range between $300 – $5,500 per week. That’s like asking someone how to catch a fish and they tell you, ‘go to the lake!’

It might be the right advice, but it’s not helpful or insightful, especially if you don’t know what to expect with event radio ads. Thus, it’s essential to zero in on the factors that control your budget.

These are the most critical elements of event radio advertising:

Who’s Doing the Work?

When placing event radio ads, it’s best to work with the most experienced professionals you can find. This may come at a higher cost, but it’s the best way for you to reach your ideal customers.

“You get what you pay for” is a famous saying that rings true in advertising. You shouldn’t make any compromises when it comes to the quality of your ad.

This applies whether you are hiring a marketer, a voice talent, talent agent, or producer. You get to rely on the expert’s guidance and insight, making your ad campaign shine.

The Size Of The Market

The size of the radio signal of a particular station dramatically influences the cost. It also determines the area covered by the radio station, hence the potential number of listeners.

Running radio ads in large metropolitan markets like Los Angeles or New York comes at a higher cost compared to rural areas.


Add-ons are an effective way to enrich your event radio ad. They can help you reach your marketing goals and sustain a high level of customer engagement after that. Some of the add-ons you should consider are:

1. Jingles

Learn more about jingles and the magic of marketing tunes. 

2. Branding

Don’t be afraid to mention your brand within the first sentence of the ad. High impact advertising is all about selling your uniqueness to listeners, and what is more unique to you than your brand?

3. Endorsements

Pairing event radio ads with such services can significantly boost your ad campaign results. These strategies work even better for long term campaigns, but your budget should be sufficient.

event radio ads and advertising

4. What Radio Station Should You Choose?

Your target market will determine the station you advertise on. Let’s say you want to reach an audience of men between the ages of 18 and 35. In such a case, you might want to consider an FM Rock station or an all-sports radio station.

But never just settle for one station. Since your ad is time-sensitive, advertise on as many stations as your budget allows.

However, also consider ad placement.

This is because listeners usually tune in and out at predictable times of the day. Therefore, the size of the captive audience fluctuates, resulting in high and low-value ad spots.

If you want to capture the highest number of listeners at once, reserve higher-value ad spots. For instance, during drive time shows (6 am to 10 am). You’ll end up paying more for such spots, but your event radio ad will reach more people.

5. Bonus Tips on Event Radio Ads

Remember, if the worst comes to worst, you should get at least three days’ worth of advertising for your event.

This will allow you to run the event radio ads each hour from the start of the event. You can also get more out of your budget by:

  • Running shorter ads like 15 or 6-second high impact ads (HIPs) can significantly cut the costs.

Such ads can run at the start of each commercial break for the desired effect.

  • Using sports, weather, or news sponsorship is also cost-effective.

Such spots are 10-second live readouts that come before news announcements. These ad spots allow you to change any information since they are read out live in the studio.

  • Opting for different times of the day instead of an ad per hour schedule can also lower your advertising costs.

This includes late-night segments, which can help you get better retention rates per ad. If you have a particularly tight budget, consider running your event radio ads on specific dayparts. This makes the campaign more affordable.

Event radio ads may seem complicated and costly, but they don’t have to be. Just remember to assess the factors that impact the production and broadcasting costs. Working with a media partner can also help you receive accurate cost estimations to help you stay within your budget.