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Why Advertising On Radio & TV Works

This blog is a bit of a departure for me but one that plays a significant role in the history of free over the air radio and television: advertising. Without advertising viewers would not be able to see such outstanding programming such as NCIS, Wheel Of Fortune, and NFL Football, to name a few.

Radio started becoming commercial business in the early 1920's. Before he founded CBS in 1927, William S. Paley was the advertising executive for his family's business in Philadelphia, the Congress Cigar Company. One of their brands was the "La Palina" cigar and with the intent to increase sales, Paley purchased an hour of time on a local radio station in Philadelphia called The LaPalina Hour. The result was a huge increase in sales for the product and the start of a love affair between broadcasting and Mr. Paley, who then bought a chain of radio stations, started a radio network, and called it the Columbia Broadcasting System (after WW II it was just referred to as CBS and has remained that way since).   In 1935, a man named Frank Stanton from Ohio was hired by CBS to be their Director Of Research because he had developed a system (via a doctoral dissertation) of tracking recall of advertising heard by consumers to test the effective of radio advertising. After receiving his Ph.D at Ohio State University, Stanton moved to New York with CBS and was Paley's right hand man and "problem solver" until his retirement in 1974.

After WWII, television started to move into full swing and so did advertising. TV followed the radio advertising model of shows being sponsored by one advertiser. It was not until years later when radio and TV started selling what we call "spot" advertising: individual messages of various lengths from multiple advertisers within a single program.

Radio advertising is effective to drive customers to a business by creating pictures in their minds with the right choice of words with lots of "frequency" or the number of times the spot airs, preferably higher than lower. In today's world with increased traffic on the highway and with radio still more of what we call an "out of home" medium, consumers can be potentially exposed to an advertiser's message numerous times. A barometer of radio's performance is something called "time spent listening" and areas with heavy traffic and long commute times increase time spent listening, provided that the station has a programming format that attracts listeners.

TV advertising is effective as well since it uses the big screen to communicate the advertiser's message with sight, sound, motion, color, and emotion. With TV's ability to reach a lot of people. it has traditionally been an "in home" medium but now has a lot of "out of home" viewing in offices, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Some TV stations are what we call "reach" stations (like CBS11) and others are "frequency" stations (like TXA21). Reach stations attract big audiences throughout their day. Frequency stations are those where the advertiser has the ability to purchase more time and hence increase repetition of their message.  And now with our digital advertising department offering advertising opportunities with new media, the 6 radio stations and 2 TV stations of CBSDFW can provide advertising/marketing solutions to any advertiser.

Even with all of the other advertising vehicles available today, nobody does it better than radio and TV, and here in our market we are a one stop shop for advertisers. To inquire more about how we can grow your business, just go to our website at and click on "sales inquiries" .

See you next time.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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