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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Radio commercials

Kirjoittanut: Taru Jytilä - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Akateeminen essee / 3 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 13 minuuttia.

Radio commercials

  1. Introduction


Aim of this essay is to find out information regarding radio advertising. Next spring we have a work assignment to create a radio advertisement for a company. Our aim is to learn how to create efficient radio advertisements that would be beneficial for the company. 


Plan for the assignment is to bring visibility to the company in the nearby area. Through this essay we will look for information regarding the prices, budgets and how to create appealing radio advertisements. 


Radio waves were invented already in 1873 in a way and 1887 Heinrich Hertz could actually prove they do exist. Recognizon for inventing the antenna goes to Aleksandr Popov. 1901 all the credit went to one Italian man named Guglielmo Marconi, who sent and received radio signals through the Atlantic.  ( Pekkala 2012, 6 ) 


Back in the days in 1920’s radio was the primary form of entertainment. At that time, it  was the main communication form. People found out the recent news, what was happening in the neighborhood and companies were already back then advertising their products through radio. The first radio advertisement was published in 1922 and it was a toll broadcast, which means that anyone could purchase a time slot to be on air to promote their products or services. (Study.com, 2022.)


In the early stages of the start of Radio business many times the radio waves were messy and they interrupted each other,  as there were no rules for the frequencies. In 1912 all the countries signed an international agreement where all the different countries got country identifier codes to avoid this situation.  ( Pekkala 2012, 6 ) 


Voice advertisement is another form of audio advertisement. It is mainly used in shopping malls, fairs and sport arenas. It’s a great way to strengthen your image or build one. Voicelogo is a good example where a customer instantly recognizes the company. Great example’s are Nokia’s old tune which 41% of the world’s population recognizes or Intel’s computer voice logo, which plays when the computer turns on. Radio advertisement is the most typical way of using audio as advertisement.

 ( Pekkala 2012, 5. ) 


Radio is a great way to reach potential customers and it gives the possibility for the listener to create a picture of the brand in their imagination. And also, Finnish people seem to love radio. It is also quite cost-effective, if compared to television advertisements. Creation of a radio advertisement is also cost-efficient. ( Radio Sun ) In 2021 Finnish people owned over 15 million different radio receivers, for example they had one in their cars, one in their house and they could also listen to radio through their phones. Over 3,7 million people in Finland listened to radio in 2021 over 3 hours a day.  ( Pekkala 2012, 7) 


You can reach potential customers quick and fast. You don’t have to wait long, but you can create fast campaigns and let people know about it. If needed, you can start the campaign during the same day. You decide what time your advertisements should play. Remember that it might be the final staple for the customer to make the decision to purchase your product. It has also been researched that Finns don’t change the radio channel when they hear commercials, because they are used to the paid commercials. Radio is the perfect opportunity for people to search for your product online and increase the traffic on your website. ( Radio Sun )


Between different channels there might be large differences with the listeners. People listening to more data based, news related channels might be listening more intensively than the ones listening to more light music based channels. Music is the main reason why people choose to listen to the radio. Usually we start to listen to radio by the age of 12. Radio advertisements work well together with television commercials.  ( Pekkala 2012, 9 ) 


Already in 2021 we could see the radio industry was developing. You could listen to radio with your phone, computer and through different portable audio devices. All in all the new stage in the development is showing to be multidimensional. We were transferring from passive listening to a more interacting way. The listeners could affect the music being played by chatting through internet radio or download podcasts online and listen to them later on. With new methods you could listen to radio online even if you were on a different side of the world. The more methods to listen to radio there are , the more there will be listeners.  ( Pekkala 2012, 10. )


There are 3 different main topics when it comes to advertising. 

  1. Product advertising – Brining knowledge of new products
  2. PSA, public service advertising – Company branding and public services
  3. Advocacy advertising – Trying to impact on general opinion

( Pekkala 2012, 12 ) 


 2. Radio advertisement journey in Finland 


Finland was and is  on point of development when it comes to the radio industry. Already in the year 1921 small radio stations in Finland got permission to go live on the air. In 1924 the first official trade radio station was born.   ( Radiomedia, 2022.)


In 1926 Finland’s government established a station called Yleisradio. They were responsible for producing and sending the radio programs to citizens. Since then all the promoting got shut down for a while.


Since 1927 you have had to have a license to be able to have radio shows in Finland. Almost 60 years later in 1985 local radio suppliers were opening competition against government supported radio channels. Finland permits 18 new radio channels to publish commercial types of radio programs. They started to promote insurance companies and play pop songs such as Queens and Finnish pop songs. Finns start to love radio. 


In 1987 there started to be helicopters in the air reporting through radio. They were flying around Helsinki and reporting small traffic peaks happening at that time. 1988 our legend Antero Mertaranta commentates on an ice-hockey game.  


1995 Kiss-FM radio was published. This is the most common for 1900’s childs. It was a modern pop music channel.  Later that year NRJ-channel was born. 


1996 Radio Nova was created which is one of the most popular channels still today.


Already in 2002, 44 million euros was used for radio advertisements. 

2008 companies used over 50 million euros for radio advertisements. 

In 2013 radio reached over 4,6 million people in Finland. 

in 2014 over 57 million euros was used for radio advertisements. 

Every year the money used for radio advertisements rises. In 2015 companies used almost 60 million euros. The money used for radio advertisements rises steadily 2-3 percent a year.  ( Radiomedia, 2022.)


In Finland there are two different kinds of radio operators. One that is sharing news throughout the whole country and the other one is sharing news only to their area. ( Radiomedia, 2022.)


The so-called prime time for radio lasts all the way from the morning until late in the day. The best time of the day is at 9 in the morning. In the year 2021 66% of finnish population listened to radio daily and 88% listened to it weekly. (Finnpanel, 2022.)


Radio reaches a wide population of people but it is also possible to do targeted advertising. Example different age groups listened to the radio at different times. Elder people spend more time listening to the radio than younger people. Web radios and other audio services online  are gaining more audience. Finland is one of the largest podcast consumers and the market is expected to grow steadily. (Finnpanel, 2022.)


Over 76% of the audio listened in Finland consists of Radio. The other parts such as podcasts and on demand services are not yet so popular, but if you only look at results from younger generations the percentages vary. (Finnpanel, 2022.)

3.Why radio advertising is reliable?

Radio is trustworthy, and listeners grow close to the radio personalities with whom they spend their morning commutes to work and nighttime commutes home following a long day. They turn into that reliable friend, and a brand can benefit greatly by capitalizing on this through advertising. You may be a business owner preparing your new marketing strategy and looking for strategies to boost brand recognition and revenue. Due to widespread misconceptions, conventional advertising strategies have begun to be disregarded. Thankfully, we can offer advice on why you should consider radio advertising to meet your advertising objectives.

From a business owner point of view, radio advertising needs to make some value propositions. So, the first value to get from radio ads to businesses is making the business memorable. The repetition of a radio ad over the course of a day, a week, or a month makes it memorable to the listener and keeps your company in the forefront of their minds. Furthermore, radio ads give a business a personality. Radio advertisements only engage one sense—the sense of hearing—so listeners must use their imagination to envision what they are hearing. The more vividly the listener can visualize the story and recognize the characteristics of your brand in it, the better your script will be. Also, radio can get results in action. Due to its high levels of audience penetration and repetition as well as its strong call to action, radio advertising continues to demonstrate its superiority as a medium for audience outreach. (Radiomedia 2021)

However, what helps to get the mentioned values earlier is the trustworthiness of the radio from the listeners. And Finland is one of the best examples to demonstrate the effectiveness of the radio. According to a study in 2020 by EBU Media Intelligence Service called Trust Media, 70% of the population truly trust the radio more than any other platform, 8% cannot say and 14% trust other platforms. Also, the share between the public and the commercial radios isn’t that big in Finland. For instance, Norway and Sweden have 65% to 70% from the public sector and 35% to 30% from the commercial sector, whereas Finland 51% from the commercial sector and 49% from the public sector. (Nordicom 2019)


According to several surveys and listening data, a big proportion of radio listeners regard radio as a close friend who gives rhythm to everyday life. Radio is present in many aspects of people’s life, adding color and companionship. Voice, by nature, is great in evoking emotions, as well as creating colorful pictures and atmospheres. Radio develops deep emotional links with listeners, which provides marketers with exceptional opportunity to contact individuals in an intimate and personal manner. According to research, persons who listen to the radio are twice as productive and twice as happy as those who do not listen to any media. (Radio Centre’s Hear and Now research 2019)

4.How to do it exactly?

To start the radio advertising for any business, a minimum amount of knowledge will be required. However, radio advertising is almost the same as choosing a social media platform. And some of the common elements between these two are the technicality like choosing the radio channels, and the content creation such as creating the Ad audio from the ground up.

Radio advertising can be purchased directly from radio stations or through media agencies, professionals from a radio station or a media agency may assist anyone in picking the appropriate channels and determining the appropriate reach and repeat level of the Ad. Radio advertising can be purchased also directly or systematically for digital platforms, such as Supla, Podplay or RadioPlay. The National Radio Survey listener volumes will be used in the purchase. Radio stations and media firms employ computerized systems to determine the number of listeners and other key details for a radio campaign, such as ad costs. (Radiomedia 2021)

When researching radio advertising, consumers need to be aware of two key industry terms: reach and frequency. Reach refers to the number of individuals who hear a radio commercial. To increase reach with a radio campaign, promote continuously over a lengthy period of time. Like doing it multiple times every day during prime listening hours, focusing on Breakfast and Afternoon Drive broadcasts, however these slots will be expensive. And The frequency of your ad is the number of times it is heard by the average person in a week. (TheEmpire)

For example, Audioplanner offers different spot rates in order to publish either nationally or regionally. At the same time, they offer spot-length plans with weekly indexes (Frequencies), which can be represented in the following figure.

Depending on the style of radio commercial you want, you’ll need a voice-over talent, some music, a script, and a recording studio or device. The radio advertising message must be clear and try to activate the aural senses in order to pique the listener’s imagination. People should not have to think too hard to comprehend what the advertisement is attempting to say. The script should be brief, interesting, and to the point. The commercial must stand out from the crowd by focusing on a single idea that evokes strong emotions.

Basically, the script should be able to respond to some queries. Such as What is the main offer or benefit? Who is your intended audience? What are you hoping the listener will do? Is the advertisement memorable? Then comes the radio Ad message, there are fewer than 30 seconds to convey the message. There is a need to ensure that it is well defined. Keep the message as straightforward as possible. What issue are you attempting to resolve? What will entice the listener to return once the music has ceased and the commercials have begun? The language used and the voiceover artist must be appealing to the viewers. How does the product or service you’re promoting benefit the listener? How can it be conveyed in such a way that the audience cares? Finally, Call to action. What are you hoping the listener will do? Have you visited your website? Do you have an Instagram account? It is a must to inform the listeners what you want them to do next, whether it is a phone call, an internet order, or a store visit. (The Empire)

5.Costs & efficiency 


Radio has been one of the most efficient ways to reach potential customers for decades. It still is, as long as it is well planned and implemented. Around 70 % of the population in Finland is reached through radio weekly. ( Mörsäri, M. 2022.)


We listen to the radio whilst driving a car, whilst using public transportation and whilst waiting for our turn in a grocery store.


If advertising is done properly and to the right audience it can be very cost-effective for a company. Different channels have different audiences, so it is important to know what channel your possible customers might listen to. When talking about the costs for advertising in radio, it is way more profitable than television advertising. As you can’t show a picture through the radio, it is important to have radio advertisements which activate the listeners imagination. ( Mörsäri, M. 2022.)


One example from Luma, advertising company:


Pohjois-Pohjanmaa – county 

2 vk pituinen kampanja – 2 week long campaign 

20 sekunnin pituinen mainos – 20 seconds clip 

Noin 400 000 kontaktia – around 400 000 contacts

4 radiokanavaa – 4 different radio channels

Hinta noin 6000 € – price around 6000€

( Mörsäri, M. 2022. )


You can reach over 4 million people in Finland through radio advertisements. An average for person to listen to radio is 2,5 hours a day. It has been proven that radio advertising affects website traffic considerably. (Sanoma_Radiomainonnan-opas.pdf)


Typical slot for the commercial is called a : spot. It is a commercial of 10-60 seconds which is played between shows or during break time between the programs. Advantages are alignments with area and customers by their gender or age.  Disadvantages are the shortness of the spot and that customers can not return to the ad. ( Pekkala 2012, 14. )


In the short spot commercial, the idea is to get the listener to feel like they would get some benefits if they acted or thought in some way. People only act if they feel like they are receiving concrete benefits for themself if they do business with the company.  ( Pekkala 2012, 15. )


Bergström & Leppänen also said in 2009, that you can bend the saying of the commercial quite a lot through different channels and commercials but the basic USP , “unique selling proposition” or ”appeal” should stay the same so that clients would have a united picture of the product/company. In radio there are two ways to deliver information. They are bringing the commercial to the client by using their imagination or more tactical commercial that includes hard facts and news rather than something based on imaginary thinking.  ( Pekkala 2012, 15. )


  1. Five steps for a great Radio advertisement 


  1. Set up a goal for the advertisement – What do you want to achieve with it?
  • customer flow to the website, calls, sales, attention or visibility.
  • total budget for the advertisement. 
  • Answer the questions : What , where and how?
  1. Set up the advertisement for the right group of customers.
  • Different radio channels reach different customer groups.
  • Think about which radio channel your potential customers would listen to.
  1. Repetition. 
  • There needs to be a sufficient repetition in order for people to pick up your message and make a note of it. 
  1. Right time and the right place.
  • Many times customers make the final buying choice because of the radio advertisement. 
  1. Innovative content
  • As the customers can’t see the advertisement, make it appealing , so that customers’ imagination would wake up when they hear the advertisement.  Especially to make the start of the advertisement appealing. 


Do not create too complex advertisements. The simpler, the better. Repetition is the key.  Radio is a great way to create a brand for your company , through sound. (Sanoma_Radiomainonnan-opas.pdf



Throughout the years, the advertising materials changed from a platform to another. And the radio was one of the oldest tools to make commercials for businesses. However, when other tools came out, such as Television and internet, the trend went to the side of the newest because it was the most attractive and the one with the most users. For instance, the internet is dominant as a marketing material, but it is not the most profitable for businesses. Because Ads are everywhere, and the trust is too low for such a platform.

Although the trend keeps growing towards other media platforms, the radio still has its own place and people still use it as a daily driver of entertainment. The fact that the radio is only an audio tool, made it easy to be integrated with other activities like driving, cooking or cleaning. But the radio isn’t the only thing to listen to, due to the existence of music platforms. However, people in Finland for example, are listening to the radio more than any other audio based platform like Spotify or podcasts.


The radio is one of the most trustworthy platforms to use. Social media has a lot of ups and downs giving the information in a fast rhythm, to the point that people don’t know the reliability of the source, which makes it challenging to trust. On the other hand, the radio announcements are more accurate. Which makes it an easy tool to recommend for a trustworthy reliable information source. More than that, the share between public radio and commercial radio is almost the same. It makes it easy for businesses to make their commercials. 


Furthermore, the ability to choose a certain geographic field, the time of a day and the reach of the Ads makes it a good option for advertising. While purchasing either from media agencies or radio stations, the business owner gets enough directions and recommendations about frequencies and reach, so there’s no way to get lost in this field. One downside could be that the most attractive play spots could be the most expensive ones, at the same time they are the most profitable ones for the businesses.

Writers: Taru Jytilä & Hassan Chakir



Read on 05.11.2022. Link: https://study.com/academy/lesson/history-of-radio-advertising.html


Radiomedia.fi . Read on 05.11.2022. Link:  https://radiomedia.fi/radiotoimiala/radion-historia/


Read on 05.11.2022. Link: https://www.markkinointirouta.fi/palvelut/radiomainonta


Matti Mörsäri. 2022. Read on 05.11.2022. Link: https://mainostoimistoluma.fi/blogi/pk-yrityksen-markkinointikanavat-osa-2-radiomainos/


Read on 05.11.2022.. Link: https://www.finnpanel.fi/lataukset/radiovuosi_2022.pdf


Read on 05.11.2022. Link: https://media.sanoma.fi/mediat-yleisot/radio/alueellinen-radio


Read on 05.11.2022. PDF: Sanoma_Radiomainonnan-opas.pdf


Read on 05.11.2022. Link: https://radiosun.fi/mainostajalle/


Pekkala, Jussi. 2012. Copywritereiden suhtautuminen radiomainontaan. Thesis. Read on 13.11.2022 Link: https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/39786/Pekkala_Jussi.pdf;jsessionid=D60961AC199DAA9620F91559C324AA2A?sequence=1

Bergström, S. & Leppänen, A. 2009. Yrityksen asiakasmarkkinointi. 13., uudistettu painos. Edita Publishing Oy. Helsinki.


The Empire, The Ultimate Guide To Radio Advertising. Read 19/11/2022. Link: https://theempire.com/guide-radio-advertising/#:~:text=Radio%20Advertising%20Partner-,What%20is%20Radio%20Advertising%3F,commercial%20to%20its%20listening%20audience.


Jyrkiainen,J . Media Landscapes: Expert analysis of the state of the media. Read 19/11/2022. Link: https://medialandscapes.org/country/finland/media/radio


Sanoma. 05/2020. Radio advertising. Read 19/11/2022. Link: https://media.sanoma.fi/sites/default/files/2020-05/National%20Radio%20Advertising%20rates%202020.pdf


Paimela, A. 10/2021. Radiomedia, Commercial Radio In Finland. Read 19/11/2022. Link:https://radiomedia.fi/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/commercial-radio-in-finland.pdf


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