There are several great strategies for getting free radio publicity and/or advertising. Many of these methods are extremely simple, they are highly accessible, and, unfortunately, they are often overlooked by the people who stand to benefit from them the most.
When seeking free radio publicity and/or advertising, it is true that a great choice for marketers is establishing business relationships with smaller, local radio stations. A related and practical option for marketers is to work with non-profit stations including independent community radio. Nonprofit stations are plentiful around the United States. It has been argued that the most captivating radio available is located on the left side of the dial at frequencies from 88.1 to 91.9 megahertz.
Many of these stations belong to universities and colleges around the nation. In addition to stations aired by universities, non-profit radio stations include those run by high schools, non-profit groups, or community organizations. Many religious radio stations are non-profit. LPFM, or low-power FM, is a relatively new non-commercial radio service in the US that allows local organizations an opportunity to broadcast in an inexpensive way. LPFM stations have a smaller listening area, but they often welcome volunteer hosts and are not limited to the left side of the dial.
What makes non-profit radio stations of most interest to marketers is that each station has its own base of loyal fans including students and community members. Many college radio stations have a strong and established history in their cities or towns. For example, WSOU in South Orange, New Jersey has been on the air for well over 40 years and counting. The WSOU fans are fanatically enthusiastic listeners. The format of the station is heavy metal, but they run a variety of other programs as well.
The non-profit radio circuit is a wealth of free radio publicity and/or advertising opportunities. A marketer needs only to contact one of these stations and supply them with a reason to be invited onto a show. The stations are more than happy to allow people to plug their products or services in exchange.
The important thing for marketers to consider when choosing a non-profit station with which to work is matching the station demographic to what is being sold. If the college station appeals to heavy metal fans, like WSOU, having a product or service targeted to college age youth or adults young at heart will most likely be a successful venture. If the non-profit radio station offers religious programming, the demographic will most likely be conservative. Family oriented products or services might do very well with that specific audience.
In terms of gleaning free advertising and/or publicity from non-profit radio stations, the sky is the limit. Even though careful attention should be made to a stations demographics, community stations do tend to be highly eclectic, and they take pride in their diverse programming. They are often eager not only to welcome guest hosts but also to provide instruction and teach others how to produce radio programs. It is highly likely that, with a little effort, enterprising marketers could end up with their own radio shows with limitless marketing possibilities.