Your Story, Our Style: Increase Sales with Concise On-Air Messaging

Your Story, Our Style: About Public Radio Copy Guidelines

People want to feel confident about the information they are receiving, whether it's world news, local events, or which bottled water is best. Public radio is a much-needed port in a storm in an era of armchair experts and massive misinformation. Listeners aren't bombarded with gimmicky sales ads but instead are made aware of sponsors and their brands from trusted hosts. Public radio sponsorship informs listeners of your message in a concise, eloquent format that listeners appreciate compared with commercial media advertisements that attempt to sell them on a product. 

Public radio copy guidelines offer helpful tips for sponsorship messages. NPR Guidelines explicitly mention non-intrusiveness with sponsor ads, stating that they cannot interrupt the flow or distract from the quality of programs. This attention to the listeners' experience is what creates trust and engagement with public radio audiences. By adhering to these public radio copy guidelines, you can create a compelling message about your brand that resonates with the audience. In other words, it’s your story, our style.  

Know What Your Audience Expects  

There are some that view public media copy restrictions as limiting. However, sponsorship messages are designed to fit the tone and tenor that listeners expect from an authoritative, educational, and informative format. Nonintrusive copy not only fits the style of public media programming but the style of its audience. Public radio listeners are engaged and more likely to purchase products or services mentioned in sponsorship messages. The audience is split nearly 50/50 between men and women, predominantly 35+, with a median income of $103,000.  

Public radio audiences trust their hosts and, by virtue of them supporting the station, their sponsors. When a trusted host mentions a sponsor, it is an implied endorsement that resonates with authenticity. Since popular hosts are regarded as trusted friends by their loyal following, their recommendations carry more weight than those delivered in a slick commercial ad.   

Keep It Concise  

Public media listeners don't want lengthy messages. Less intrusive messaging and fewer breaks than commercial radio stations are what listeners have come to expect. Sponsors don't have to jockey for a prime position to be heard. In other words, limited inventory translates to more value. 

Public radio messages that are brief and concise are more memorable. Your messages will stand out because of the guidelines placed on sponsor messaging by the FCC. That is important for sponsors, as brief, compelling messaging makes a customer want to know more about your brand. This critical customer touchpoint helps shape their view of you.  

Expand Your Message with Digital  

Digital marketing is a powerful partner to radio. It gives you the ability to expand on and complement your brief public radio message and drive awareness across platforms. Digital platforms continue to grow in popularity, giving you many options to connect with your target audience. One popular choice is streaming audio. 

Livestream and podcasts deliver a similar audience as broadcast radio. Though they are different platforms, they still deliver award-winning content. Livestream and podcasts have engaging hosts with wide followings and the ability to impact audiences with powerful sponsor messaging. Podcast sponsorship messages are not restricted by FCC guidelines like public radio.  

Be a True Partner  

Public radio is about delivering value, and that value is what makes sponsors special. The more affluent, highly educated, and widely traveled listeners actively seek and expect public radio's high-quality educational content. Since the audience identifies with the mission and goals of public radio, they appreciate those who support the stations. Sponsors are seen as benefactors with shared values rather than someone trying to sell them something.  

That's a radical departure from how commercial radio listeners view ads. 59% of commercial radio listeners say that the start of an ad is a signal to change stations. Too many commercials cause 66% of listeners to turn the dial. That isn't good news for advertisers. 

Public radio provides a unique experience for both sponsors and listeners. Because messages are brief and limited, they are much less intrusive for the listener. Since sponsors are seen as like-minded benefactors, their messages are well-received and viewed as informative rather than sales-oriented. When you want to reach an engaged audience who is more likely to hear, retain, and act upon sponsor messages, work with a public media partner that shares the same values as the audience.

Learn About Purpose-driven Marketing with Public Media