Radio Hed: The Value of Entertainment in Radio Commercials

Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

Some say that a radio commercial must be entertaining to work; that it has to entertain first, then sell. If it’s not entertaining, it won’t get attention. If it doesn’t get attention…well then nothing happens.

Others say no, the purpose of a radio commercial is not to entertain, but to sell, citing examples of humorous radio commercials that failed in the marketplace.

Both are right, so let’s define the word “entertainment” to clarify what I mean.

What is entertainment? “To engage the attention of agreeably; amuse; divert; especially for guests.”

Our listeners are our guests. They’ve tuned in to be entertained. If we can get them to laugh, be informed, find solutions, comfort or company, to hear something relevant to their lives, to ease their pain, share their concerns, help them find community, have their beliefs validated, be provoked, allow them to eavesdrop, then we’ve entertained them.

So, to entertain, your spots don’t have to be comedy, song and dance – they can be educational, informative – most of all they have to be relevant to the audience you want to reach. That’s entertainment.

Commercials are part of the programming fabric of your station. Deliver annoying, cliché-ridden, abrasive, dull spots and listeners will leave. Entertain them (see above) and TSL will go up. As a result, clients will get results and station revenue will increase.

We used to say that our most precious commodity was time. Now, with thousands of messages directed at us constantly, it’s attention. Your commercial can only capture attention by being relevant – and entertaining. And blending selling with entertainment is a profitable combination.

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