The vast majority of people listen to radio to be entertained, informed, or a combination of the two. If you have to write promotional or public-service copy that will be broadcast, it’s important to keep those points in mind.

It’s also important to remember that radio doesn’t have a rewind button. In fact, that’s more important than most people who create radio announcements realize. With a print ad, a website, or a brochure, it’s easy for the reader to scroll back, glance back, or turn to a previous page if he or she misses a key piece of information. That can’t happen with a radio commercial.

Although a website, an article, or a brochure may contain dozens of ideas, the fact that there is no rewind button means that your radio message should focus on one. You need to ask yourself, “What’s the one message I want listeners to remember?,” and then write the commercial accordingly. Resist the temptation to cram message after message into your copy.

Also remember that most people who are listening while they’re driving or working out can’t stop to write down your phone number or web address. So if that type of response is important, make the extra effort to have a phone number or web address that’s easily memorized, and repeat it again and again.


  1. Scott,
    As a kindred spirit (I grew up in the Windy City and have been creating radio commercials for nearly four decades now), I heartily second your exhortation to resist the temptation to cram too much information into a single commercial.
    In our over-communicated society, simplicity, clarity, relevance and focus are crucial, if an advertiser expects his message to penetrate a cluttered brain.
    I cringe every time I hear a commercial that includes an address AND a phone number AND a website (“and find us on Facebook, too”) – for an advertiser that has been led to believe that his ad stands a better chance of working with all these points of contact.
    A single point of contact and a clear call-to-action work together far, far better.

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