Cost Per What?


(By Bob McCurdy) I was walking with my young granddaughter in a park the other day when she said, “Look Pop Pop, I just found a penny. Let’s go to the store and buy something.” I had to explain to her that I wasn’t sure anything can be bought for a penny but let’s keep looking for more pennies.

My response of not being able to buy anything more for a penny got me thinking, concluding that something quite valuable can be purchased for a penny and it is a radio impression.

The following could be a way to illustrate what a terrific bargain radio advertising really is, particularly today where every ad dollar has to perform.

If discussions/negotiations are at an impasse with a direct advertiser we could pose this question: How much is it worth to you to be able to walk outside your door right now, walk up to a prospective customer, and:

-Introduce yourself, speaking to them about your business philosophy, addressing what differentiates you from the competition, why they should shop your place of business, or alert them to a great sale or offer you have for them for an entire minute, one-on-one.

-Speak to them when they are largely relaxed, not distracted, likely alone and thus more focused and receptive to your messaging.

-With messaging that is well crafted, refined and expertly delivered, positioning you and your place of business in the best possible light.

-Have this “conversation” occur when they often can take immediate action.

-Even have a trusted friend deliver the messaging if desired.

What was just described is radio advertising and its ability to deliver a well-crafted commercial that reaches listeners when they are relaxed, often alone while driving, when they can take immediate action, with one of their favorite personalities whispering in their ear delivering the message.

Sounds pretty good, now let’s do some math to make it sound even better.

Station A has a 7,000 AQH (A25+) and is charging $65 for a :60 to air run-of-schedule (ROS), which is a great way to maximize the reach of a campaign.

This station’s $65 rate equates to 6,500 pennies (65×100) and every commercial delivered 7,000 listeners. So the cost to this advertiser to have a sixty second “conversation” similar to the one described above is less than one cent (6,500/7,000 = 9/10’s of one penny). It would be an even more efficient proposition if :30’s were rotated in as well.

Layer on top of this, the station’s weekly cume of 220,000 and this advertiser can have an intimate conversation with tens of thousands of listeners over the span of a schedule for less than one cent per.

This calculation might assist in getting a prospect to view their investment proposition through a simpler lens. Is this super-sophisticated, cutting-edge stuff. Nope. But there are times when all the bells and whistles might not required to close the deal.

Bob McCurdy is now retired and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. As “Pop-Pop” might agree, the efficiencies of radio’s reach are well-established, but, unfortunately, not as well-known.
    Indeed and to paraphrase Marshal Mcluhan: It’s not the medium – it’s the message.
    When radio stops slacking off on the production of more effective commercial messaging, the chances of the reach kicking in will become far better.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here