Last updateWed, 22 May 2019 1am

Retailer Roundtable: Is radio alive and well?

Q: Is radio alive and well?

RR Oreskovic“About 13 percent of our total advertising budget is dedicated to radio. If you’re going to do radio, you have to do it all the time. Own it. Use it frequently. Use the same station(s). And, saturate your market with your message. If you don’t, radio won’t work for you. For 15 years, we’ve advertised with 1100 WTAM. It’s mainly talk radio with some sports coverage mixed in. Given how people access their music, through on-demand portals like Pandora, this live-radio format has worked well for us. Although radio has mixed reviews, WTAM and its format has worked well for us, reaching the Cleveland market, 34 miles away, and as far as Northern Michigan. People come in mentioning the station’s call letters. We feel it has been a good return-on-investment. Plus, the station has some very good voice talents to draw on. It costs a little more money, but it’s worth it. We like Mike Trivisonno from WTAM, who has his own talk radio show. He has done a lot of radio spots for us including live interviews with store owner Theresia Oreskovic on jewelry-buying holidays, buying trips to Antwerp and other store events. It’s been very good for us.”  

Tammy Oreskovic-Geraci, VP of sales and services
Peter & Co. Jewelers
Avon Lake, OH


RR Hampton“For me, radio has been like eating at a fast food restaurant. Once a year I find myself eating there thinking it’s a good idea, only to quickly discover, once again, why I don’t make a steady diet of fast food. In all seriousness, I’ve tried radio with six to eight campaigns, major ones varying from $10,000 to $30,000, in the last 20 years. And I didn’t get the response I wanted. These were campaigns of general interest and for specific events. In all honesty, perhaps it’s on me. I’m not a wordsmith, but I insisted on writing my own radio copy. And, I allowed the radio station to use one of their voice talents. If I was to do it all over again, and I’m sure I will at some point, I’d hire out the copy writing and record my voice for my store’s radio commercials. I might even consider another format other than a top-40 station, although my radio commercials did air on the station during talk and sports shows. We’ll see what happens with better radio copy and my voice. Like fast food, I’ll give it another try.”

Jeff Hampton, owner
State Street Jewelers
Geneva, IL     


RR Stagner“Radio certainly works for us. About six to seven years ago, we were invested in advertising on cable television. With people using DVR technology, they’d fast-forward through all of the commercials. Radio was our first choice when leaving cable. With radio, you have to really get your message out there a lot in terms of frequency and be consistent with your radio message. For us, seeing that we’re a suburb of Houston, we want a wide listening audience to know that we do custom work and sell quality diamonds. We decided on an AM station that has a good mixture for its format, including some rock and country music, plus talk radio and sports. This helps us reach a broad age demographic of 30 to 60 with middle to upper middle class incomes. Radio makes up 30 percent of our advertising budget. With radio, you need to find out what message works and the demographic you want to reach. If it’s millennials, radio might not be your best choice as they like other music listening options. But for our demographics radio works.”

Connie Stagner, co-owner
Acori Diamonds & Design 
Friendswood, TX 


RR Hess“I’m a student of advertising and spend about $1 million on advertising each year. I strongly believe that radio is a very viable medium, but only for smaller markets. If your business is based in a small town of 100,000 or less, radio will work for you. Simply invest in airtime with the most dominant radio station in town and it will be very effective. And, be sure to hire the radio station’s strongest on-air personality to do your commercials. For these smaller markets, the format doesn’t matter, be it rock, country, talk or sports. What matters is the station’s dominance. That’s what you’re investing in. In larger markets, there are too many radio stations, and too many choices. You can’t get the saturation you need.”

Jeffrey Hess, owner
Old Northeast Jewelers
St. Petersburg and Tampa, FL



RR Smith

“Oh yeah. Radio is alive and well. About 20 to 25 percent of our advertising budget is dedicated to radio. We have our commercials on a variety of stations - 10 total. All the formats are covered, from pop-hits and classic rock to sports and talk. I’m 26 and I listen to the radio. I sometimes listen to music stored on my iPhone with the Bluetooth function in my car. But sometimes it’s easier to just find the music or a station I want to listen to by moving up and down the stations. It depends on the mood I’m in and what I want to listen to. My fiancée is different. For her she likes to listen to music on her iPhone in the car all the time. It depends on the person, but younger people are listening to radio. We like radio because we own two stores in two different markets. Oklahoma City is a market of 1 million while Shawnee is about 50,000 - that’s including the outlying markets. With radio we reach a lot of people in both the markets we serve.”

London Smith, G.G., store manager (Shawnee)
Huntington Fine Jewelers
Oklahoma City and Shawnee, OK


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