When you’re approached by any of the many radio sales representatives who’ll find you–and trust me, they’ll find you–ask for each station’s primary demographic. If it matches your target customer, request a media sales kit. Whatever you do, don’t reveal your demographic needs before you get that information. These sales reps are working under great pressure to meet budgets and they can be very persuasive. They’ll find a way, no matter how convoluted, to make your demographic match theirs if you tell them first! Frequency is very important when considering an advertising schedule on radio. Listeners tune in and out, change stations, and are often engaged in some other activity while the radio is on, so your message needs to appear often if they’re going to hear it. Listeners of country and talk formats tend to stay with the same station for longer periods of time than other listeners who flip through channels constantly, so you need to run fewer commercials to reach those “settled” listeners than you need to run for the flippers.
Decide what you want your schedule to do for your business. Is it a maintenance schedule used as a reminder to people who already know a lot about you? If so, you’ll run a small number of commercials over a long period of time. Are you running a weekend sale? Then you want a large number of spots to run in a very short period of time. Are you brand new and building awareness of your business name of what you do there? Then you need to run a heftier schedule consistently. Building name recognition and getting people used to hearing about you, let alone getting them to come in, takes a concerted effort on your part.