The Power of Radio: How to Leverage Your Unique Assets for Engagement Campaigns

by Liz Huff Second Street

What kinds of promotions work well for radio?

Radio can be successful with any type of promotion, from contests to ballots to deals and cards. However, certain types of promotions – contests in particular – truly allow you to showcase the power of radio and leverage the advantages you have as a highly interactive broadcast medium.

No matter what type of promotion you run, be sure to promote with the following assets to truly leverage the power you have as a radio station. In addition to emails, online ads, and social media posts, try tactics like:

  • Internet radio ads
  • On-air ads
  • SMS messages to your text database
  • On-air mentions

Here’s a breakdown of some of the contest types we have seen to be successful for radio:

Contests That Integrate On-Air Talent

Integrating your on-air talent with an online contest can take your promotion to the next level. By weaving the contest into your on-air programming, it becomes a much more natural way to promote something than with a pre-recorded station promo. Plus, in this way the contest can BECOME content. It’s a win-win.

KRXQ-FM, a rock station in California, has run their Pro Football Pigskin Payout for the last few years and each year it gets more popular. Last year they had over 2,000 users play their game.


Here’s the secret sauce:

  • Great local prizes ($100 weekly and $500 during the Playoffs)
  • Talent & local celebrities as VIP Pickers
  • Live mentions of the contest on air

Each week, the afternoon show would showcase celebrity guests and discuss who they thought would win that week’s matchups. These on-air mentions not only led to fun on-air banter between Dog and Joe, the afternoon show hosts, but also inspired some great conversations during their interviews with guests. Check out their interview with comedian Adam Carolla about his picks:

Hot 103.7, an adult contemporary station in Seattle, also leveraged the power of their on-air talent to promote a contest.


Candy and Potter are the station’s morning show hosts, and their Makeover Madness contest was promoted heavily during morning show banter. They also invited daily winners into the studio for an interview (listen here).

Listen-to-Win Codeword Contests

Integrate the convenience (and data collection potential) of an online promotion with the reach of an on-air contest by requiring a code word in order to enter.


Entercom’s national $1,000 Giveaway not only drove tune-in for all of the participating stations, but also collected more than 250,000 email opt-ins!

Song Request Ballots

Ballot promotions also have a lot of potential for radio stations, as they allow you to crowdsource content for on-air interviews and live remotes.


KGON-FM, a classic rock station in Portland, Oregon, received 826 submissions to their Top 92 Countdown song request ballot, and their listeners loved the opportunity to make their voices heard and play Program Director for the New Year’s Eve playlist.

Advertiser-Focused Promotions

When you put all of these pieces together, you can produce fantastic results not only for your station, but also for your advertisers.


WSB-FM, an adult contemporary station in Atlanta, generated $30,000 with their Lake Lanier Islands Dream Wedding contest, but even more spectacular was the fact that the resort booked a total of 10 weddings as a direct result of the contest! You can check out the full case study to find out how they did it.

Part of the reason the contest was SO successful, however, was the on-air promotion and the fact that the listening audience got to vote on all aspects of the wedding to create a “reality-show” feel. Morning show hosts Vikki and Kelly also interviewed each couple on air.

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