Make your own free website on
TV/Radio Promotion

Types of Promotion

Image Promotion

Particularly in television news and in radio niche formats, stations promote a specific image. In television, a station's news department frequently is its image. The station's news content is the primary conduit to the bulk of the station's viewers. In radio, the station's format---whether rock music or news/talk---creates the image with its target audience and promotion is tailored to reflect that reputation.

Image promotion is designed to do two things for television or radio stations. The campaigns are created to promote brand loyalty for the station's format, call letters, and news content and station themes for reinforcing the image.

Program Promotion

Episodic Promotion

In television, this type of promotion is essential for entertainment shows. The 10-second and 30-second spots are used to show clips of key moments in individual episodes of syndicated shows the station carries. All syndicators now provide episodic "dailies" for their stripped or weekend episodes, which are distributed by satellite to stations.

Episodics are also used in news. When local news departments air multipart series, or minidocumentaries, the promotions manager is charged with developing promotions for the individual episodes of those series. In large markets, episodic news promotions are some of the most criticized promotional elements---as many attempt to spotlight the most sensational or violent portions of the series to advertise.

Generic Promotion

These spots are used to promote general station images in both television and radio. Generics stress the overall theme of a station's news department ("more people, more reporters, the best live coverage," etc.) in television. Radio promotion typically stresses the format or the general virtues of the station. These types of spots are considered more as reinforcement to hold onto existing viewers or listeners, rather than promotions which attract audiences from other stations.

Personality Promotion

These campaigns are structured to highlight key personalities who are in the prime on-air spots in both radio and television. For television stations, the news, sports, and weather anchors are the primary personalities highlighted. In radio, air personalities are the central focus of this category of promotion.

The spots usually follow a specific thread, stressing either the credibility of the news team, or even the personality quirks of the drive time on-air radio personalities. Frequency is a key to the success of these promotions, with the intent to create a "household word" and "name recognition" for the key personalities.

Advertising Methods

    Traditional Advertising
    Publicity/public relations
    On-air/off-air promotions
    Public service

Traditional Advertising


This is considered the most vital and effective advertising. For one thing, a station can constantly reinforce its image and personalities with its most loyal viewers/listeners. Second, television viewers are said to sample a newscast they do not regularly watch at least twice a week for at least ten minutes. In radio, listeners typically spin the dial at least four times per week away from their favorite station. This sampling affords promotions managers opportunities to attract audiences not typically loyal. Radio, in particular, is vulnerable to audience switches. Surveys indicate most radio stations lose twenty per cent of their listeners each year, due to personality or format burnout. On-air promotion is essential to attracting new listeners to compensate for the losses.


Print advertising is not considered as effective as in earlier decades, primarily because fewer people are reading newspapers. For newspaper success, promotion managers are now challenged to target pages which attract readers which most compliment their listening targets. For example, a station which has an adult contemporary format which features a heavy diet of younger, hipper female vocalists may best target the women's page of a newspaper to advertise its station, rather than the entertainment page. In some instances, stations are buying space for full tabloid sections of newspapers (in large cities, as many as 16 pages) to promote their personalities (with information on their families, hobbies, other interests, etc.).


These are primarily used for promotions in larger cities, which feature special interest city or regional magazines. However, the target audience for these would likely be upscale, business and recreational oriented viewers or listeners. Magazines are not considered one of the more effective methods to advertise, primarily because they do not have the repetition reading factor of newspapers.

Outdoor/Mass Transit

Billboards and bus sides are considered the two least effective methods of broadcast promotion. The net effect never results in converting viewers or listeners away from other stations, because they provide no tangible evidence to audiences of why they should switch stations. As a whole, stations use these outlets if they have spare dollars in promotion, in order to reinforce existing loyalties as a station's listeners or viewers pass by the advertisements on highways. Programming consultant Ed Dougherty suggests outdoor advertising primarily feeds the ego of a station's staff, which often tends to panic when it sees an opposing station investing heavily in billboards or buses.

Other Broadcasters

The advertising swap, or tradeout, is an effective method of radio and television stations using each other's media to promote their products. Typically reserved for the ratings sweep periods, radio and television stations often see television stations using radio to promote daily episodic bullet points of the stories to air on their newscasts in the same evening. In some instances, a television meteorologist will deliver an afternoon forecast for the radio listeners via telephone. In the reverse, radio stations will produce television commercials to promote their music formats or air personalities during key ratings survey periods. In the tradeout, no money is exchanged, only avails.

More to Come on Promotion 2

Back to Episodes Page

Back to Mr. B's Main Page