How Much Does Radio Advertising Cost?

“How much does it cost to advertise on the radio?” This is the question I am asked every day. There is a lot of confusion out there about just how much radio advertising costs. With a little knowledge and understanding of how radio works, we can answer this question. Because bottom line… Just like the cost of a 5 star hotel room at the four seasons differs from “Moe’s motel and eat”. The costs of radio advertising vary greatly from station to station based on listenership.

Effective radio advertising had two major components – “The Commercial” – The physical message itself and “The Radio Station” your commercials air on.

The Commercial

First, Let’s explore the radio commercial itself. Before picking the radio station, you need to think about the message you are trying to convey to your target customer and what you want them to do. The key to the commercial is having a compelling call to action that drives your target customers to your business.

The radio commercial production industry is full of voice talents, radio personalities, DJ’s and others, all claiming to create “radio commercials”. Be very cautious here… If you want a truly professional sounding radio commercial – look for a radio advertising agency that has experience and a track record of successful ad campaigns. Not just some guy with a microphone who likes to talk.
Anyone can create a radio ad, but not everyone can create a radio ad that is effective and drives customers to your business. Another red flag to watch out for are the “free radio commercials” created by the radio station if you advertise on their station. While free sounds great – free commercials are never based on strategy and are just one of several dozen commercials that have to be created by an overworked radio production person in a five minute window of time. Remember, you usually get what you pay for.

Professional radio commercial production agencies use solid, time tested formulas that maximize potential response. The talent is handpicked to best connect with the target customer and the production is based upon clear, quality, and easy to absorb audio messages.

So…what does the radio commercial production process cost? The good news here is – Not all that much, when consider the quality of the end product. The price for a commercial that utilizes one voice usually falls in to the price range of $300 to $500 per commercial. When you add more voices or “jingle singers” to a commercial, you can expect to pay more. Knowing these numbers can save you a lot of money if someone tries to charge you more for a commercial. I would be very skeptical of anyone charging less than this for a “professional” commercial. Meaning I would question just how “professional” the work is.

What are you paying for? These costs cover development of a solid strategy, copy from experienced copywriters, performance by high caliber voice talents, and the highest quality production services.

The Radio Station

This is where the biggest questions come into play. Questions about rates, station prices, placement times, etc. Let’s de-mystify what radio placement is all about.

A good radio commercial advertising agency will help you find a few key things –

* Finding the best radio stations in a market that match your customer’s demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.) and psychographics (interests, beliefs, hobbies, personality traits, etc.). To match your message with.

* Finding the times of day that best reach your target customer on the specific stations.

* Selecting the top radio stations that most efficiently reach the highest potential QUALIFIED customers, the most times (defined as frequency), for the least amount of money.

At my company, Best here is how we determine what to spend on radio advertising costs. We explore the market you want to advertise in, we find the radio stations that have the best potential to reach your target customer (Based on the stations format Top40 and News/Talk and Soft Rock all reach very different demographics of people). We compare the latest ratings data on the radio stations that qualify to reach your target customers. This gives us a good idea of what stations will best reach your target customers.

Once we have determined what stations will most effectively reach your target customer, we negotiate a plan with the radio station based on your goals, expectations and budget. We have access to data that allows us to compare rates against historical figures to determine if a stations price is out of line or in-line with the market averages. We use every resource we can to get you the most for your money.

What is the total cost?

This honestly depends on the size of the market you wish to advertise in. Radio advertising rates can be as high as $500 per 60 spots in a top market like LA, or as low as $3 per 60 spots in Petoskey, MI.

As an example – Let’s say you wanted to air your commercial once per day, Monday – Friday in the morning, midday and afternoon and twice on Saturday and Sunday. (This is an example of a solid entry level schedule to build awareness) Here is what you can expect to pay based on market size. (This this just an rough estimate for example purposes only, and do not include agency discounts, or other factors that could decrease or increase costs)

* Markets 1 -5 (ex: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.)
from $4000 to $8000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 6 – 20 (ex: Dallas/Ft.Worth, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, etc.)
from $2000 to $5000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 21 – 50 (ex: Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, etc.)
from $1000 to $3000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 51- 150 (ex: Akron, Wichita, Baton Rouge, etc.)
from $800 to $2000 per week/per station for a top performing station.

* Markets 150+ (ex: Myrtle Beach SC, Green Bay, Topeka, etc.)
from $500 to $1500 per week/per station for a top performing station.

You likely still have some questions about radio advertising, and that’s normal. It can be confusing, I know. That’s why I am here. I want to help you get the biggest bang for the radio advertising buck. Best Radio has worked with thousands of radio advertising campaigns. We know what works and what does not. I’m confident Best Radio can help you with all facets of strategic development, creative development, copywriting, production, media planning, media negotiation, and monitoring of your radio advertising campaign.

About The Author

Article by Tony Brueski, Tony is president of V Marketing & Media Inc. He strives to help business effectively reach their target customers through compelling & creative marketing. For more information or to contact Tony Directly by calling 231-468-9972. Or visit


12 thoughts on “How Much Does Radio Advertising Cost?”

  1. Several people dont know very much about the radio advertising & there cost strategy but by your post we have cleared our points about the radio advertising costs,& thanks for the site Best Radio ,it will definitely help us for our advertising!

  2. Radio advertising is something that is all new for me and also it is someting good to have so that to promote your website and to have good traffic so that it will benefit you very much.

    Thanks for introducing this.

  3. My property is in need to generate more foot traffic. Could you give me some options for advertising? I was thinking of how much could it be to have my properties basic info on any radio station webpage for starters?

    Feel free to contact me at 407-679-4226 from Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

  4. Even the bottom tier prices of $500 – $1500 per week are still pretty substantial for start-ups who want more exposure; they are better putting off radio advertising until they have a stronger financial foothold and must sell a product and/ or service that will appeal to the masses (not just to a niche market) when it comes to ROI in radio advertisements.

  5. Thanks for providing information about most least expensive medium of advertising that is radio advertising. Radio is still the inexpensive for advertising. This advertising medium has been around for about 100 years. Many businesses developers give radio a pass because of their misconception of the return on investment. But People usually develop a personal relationship with their favorite radio station channels and programs, more so than television.
    local radio advertising

  6. This is great. Costs of ads is always a little confusing and this is a great explanation. There are lots of great companies that can help you write ads and also provide the talent if you’re looking to go outside of the local radio talent. – is a great resource.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I am looking at starting a local radion station and this information is very helpful and I thank you very much

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