Using Radio’s Geographic Strengths This Election Year


(By Marc Greenspan) There is no question that political dollars will be the make-or-break category for many broadcasters for the end of this year and into next year. The flow of presidential candidate spending is in full force. As Research Director, Inc. has been assisting its clients in maximizing political revenue, it has become obvious that the role of geography is a game changer.

Geographic appeal is a dominant advantage for most radio stations. Few stations’ listenership is evenly spread across the entire metro. Due to signal and format appeal, most stations’ listenership is centered in a small portion of the metro. So how do you take advantage of your station’s geographic appeal?

Congressional Districts

Signs indicate that a tremendous amount of advertising is placed according to congressional districts. Knowing in which of these geographies your station excels can make the difference between capturing those dollars and being left behind.

With Nielsen or Scarborough data, you can build a congressional district as a custom geography and show how your station or cluster delivers listeners (voters) in that area. While it may be a time-consuming exercise to look at every one of your metro’s congressional districts, the payoff can be worth it.

The Media Audit has an easier way to profile by geography. They have taken its vast database of consumers and segmented them by congressional district. With this data, a sales rep can show potential advertisers the following information based on congressional district:

  • Radio listening
  • TV viewing
  • News consumption

You can also build a psychographic profile of the people in any congressional district. In other words, this tool can help you document why your station or cluster is the right advertising medium for a particular candidate.

Political Segmentation

Segmentation is not limited to custom geographies. Using any available qualitative tool (Scarborough, The Media Audit, etc.), a station can focus on the political profile and habits of those who live in areas of strong listenership. The two most important questions that can be answered are:

  • How often do your listeners vote?
  • What is their political affiliation?
  • Are they politically active?

Historically, the vast majority of political dollars flow to just a few formats. However, if you are not the ideal format (i.e., News/Talk), then you need to let the data do the talking. Are your listeners in the right geography? Does your listeners’ psychographic profile fit well for a specific candidate or issue?

Don’t assume that you can’t capture political dollars because of your format. If the data supports it, drive the pitch with that data. Make this election year a revenue winner for your station!

This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.

Marc Greenspan is the CEO and founding partner of Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-295-6619 x11 or by email at [email protected]. Research Director, Inc. offers consulting services to media companies to help them grow their audience, ratings, and revenue. Read Marc’s Radio Ink archives here.


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