How to Write a Radio Ad Script (With Examples)

Despite popular belief that radio is on the decline, brands like Home Depot, GEICO, Indeed, and McDonalds continue to invest heavily in radio ads because they’re a cost-effective way to target local audiences. Learn how to write a radio ad script to expand your business’s brand awareness and name recognition.  

Video may have killed the radio star, but radio itself is still alive and well. 

Thanks to a dwindling audience of radio listeners, many argue that radio is dying but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, radio seems to be growing — a 2022 report on the state of radio advertising expects the market to reach $23.3 billion by 2026, compared to the 2021 market value of $18.34 billion. 

This is largely because radio advertising remains a cost-effective way for small and large businesses to target local audiences. Approximately 156 million Americans listen to radio daily, making it an effective way for companies to increase brand awareness, name recognition, and direct traffic to their sites. 

Additionally, a growing interest in digital radio, streaming music services, and podcasts, have created a new market for programmatic audio ads — another advertising medium that requires companies to create engaging audio ad scripts that capture an audience’s attention. 

Read on to learn how to write a radio ad script that will grow your business. 

Planning to start your own ad campaign? Work with a leading advertising agency to get the most out of your campaign. Find them on Top Design Firms’ directory of top advertising companies

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How to Write a Radio Ad Script 

  1. Target your audience
  2. Evoke mental images and emotions
  3. Add brand messaging
  4. Use incentives
  5. Keep it to 30 seconds

Target your audience

The language and tone of your ad can leave a lasting impression on listeners and impact their perception of your brand.

Writers developing radio ad scripts need to have a solid understanding of what appeals to customers to create a convincing ad that increases sales. Additionally, they need to be conscious of their word choice to avoid off-putting messages. 

Consider your target audience — what motivates them? What do they like? What do they dislike? 

Use this information to create content that can help you connect with your audience. 

While many people think that radio has a very general audience, companies can target specific demographics based on the location of the station they use and the type of music that stations play. 

General demographics based on Station Type
Source: 2nd Kitchen

For example, younger listeners generally listen to stations that play Top 40 songs, while those between the ages of 25–55 prefer rock. 

If you have the budget to advertise on several different radio stations, consider altering your radio ad script to target the listeners of that specific station. 

Do your research and ask the stations you’re working with if they have data about their listeners before you start writing your radio ad script. 

Evoke mental images and emotions 

Unlike television ads, which often rely on visuals to create emotions and develop a story, your radio ad must use words to describe the product and create that emotional connection. 

By using descriptive adjectives and storytelling devices, companies can use radio to develop the same connection with listeners. 

If you’re having a hard time writing a radio ad script that sounds engaging, use these prompts to get started: 

  • Create a narrative or story
  • Describe a problem and explain how your product or services resolve it 
  • Develop two characters and write the script like they’re talking to one another about the product or service
  • Use client testimonials to provide legitimacy to your business

In addition to the script itself, think about the other sounds you can use to make the audio more engaging. You could add a jingle or use sound effects to provide context or catch your audience’s attention. 

For example, this radio ad for Pringles doesn’t have a long script — the narrator simply asks “Who took  my Pringles?” Then the writer uses the sound of crunching chips and a burp so listeners would understand that the narrator was able to get their chips back. 

Even without an extensive radio ad script, the writer was able to use sound effects to catch the listener’s attention and tell a story. 

Add brand messaging

Radio ads are particularly effective at growing brand name recognition and awareness. By including brand messaging, such as slogans, catchphrases, and key values, companies can increase the likelihood that potential customers will remember their brand. 

For example, Subway repeats its brand name and slogan at the end of every radio ad script, saying, “Subway. Eat Fresh.” 

Thanks to the slogan, Subway’s name stays at the top of their listeners’ minds. Hopefully, the next time they’re hungry, they will be looking 

Use incentives

Like any type of advertisement, incentives can go a long way in converting customers. People love a good deal.  In your radio ad script, include information about existing promotions, upcoming sales, and discount codes that help your customers save money. 

Phrases like, “Save up to 10% by saying that Bobby Bones sent you,” can encourage customers to finally make a purchase that they’ve been considering for a while.  By adding exclusive deals to your radio ad, customers will be more likely to follow up on the ad. 

Additionally, promo codes can help you gather information about the efficacy of your radio ad campaigns and help you target customers more effectively. 

Conclude with a strong CTA

Calls to action (CTAs) help companies know what they should do next. Without them, listeners would not know what to do to learn more about a company. Therefore, they’re essential for converting listeners into customers. 

Phrases like “Visit our ___ location on [address] for our Summer Kickoff Sale,” or “Visit our website for more information,” tell listeners exactly what to do. Be clear and concise. 

Keep it to 30 seconds

Radio ads are usually 30 seconds long for several reasons: on one hand, broadcasters usually sell ad time in 30-second intervals to ensure that they can fit ads into their rotation. ADs longer than 30 seconds are also more expensive. 

More importantly, though, listeners tend to lose interest after 30 seconds. To keep your audience engaged with your radio ad, it 

To write a 30-second ad script, keep your ad to about 80 words

If you’re planning to use your radio ad script programmatic audio ads, you may want to limit the word count even more. 

30-Second Radio Ad Script Template

As discussed, it’s important that radio ad scripts only take about 30 seconds to read. That means that companies need to pack a lot of information into just a few moments, without losing the listeners’ interest. 

Here is a basic template that can help you keep your 30-second radio ad script short and succinct. 

Segue 

Suggested length: 5 words

The segue is the hook that catches the listeners attention. It should only be about a sentence long. Consider using greetings like “Good morning, San Diego,” or questions such as, “Do you have a hard time keeping your sink clean?” 

Intro  

Suggested length: 10 words

The intro is a little longer than the segue and should introduce your business. Talk about your products or services so that listeners know exactly what your business provides. 

Argument/ Benefit 

Suggested length: 30 words 

This is the main part of the ad and is where you state your case. Tell a story that explains how your product or service benefits your audience and what problems they solve. 

This is also a great opportunity to offer information for events, sales, or promotions that can help sway your customers. Use this to convince them to visit your website or brick-and-mortar store. 

CTA conclusion

Suggested length: 5–10 words 

Tell your customers what to do next with a call to action. Simple CTAs that tell listeners to call, visit your website, or visit an in-person store are most effective. 

Wrap up 

Suggested length: 10 words 

The wrap-up shouldn’t be more than a sentence and should summarize what the ad was about. Remind your listeners what your business offers and how you can help them. 

This is also a great opportunity to strengthen your branding. One way to conclude your radio ad script is to restate your brand name and your slogan to help listeners remember what your business is. 

30-Second Radio Ad Script Examples 

Looking for inspiration for your radio ad script? Review these examples of 30-second radio ad scripts or listen to the radio to get a better understanding of what appeals to listeners. 

Example 1: The Circus 

Sound of a cheering crowd. 

Kid 1: WOW! I can’t believe we saw acrobats flying through the air like that! 

Kid 2: My favorite part was the man who breathed fire! How did he do that?!

Kid 3: I can’t wait to go back to the circus again! 

Narrator: Come and see a show you and your family will never forget. Take your family to the _____________ Circus now playing at the ______________. 

Tickets are on sale now! Log on to _______ dot com for more information. Get your tickets today at the __________ Box Office or by calling___-___-_______.  (Sound of music out) 

Example 2: Car dealer 

Narrator: Since 2002, Timmy’s Automotive has sold over 2 million vehicles. And right now we’re offering HUGE president’s day savings. Save thousands of dollars off your new car when you come by our Arlington location this weekend. Timmy’s Automotive — where you’re guaranteed to roll off the lot happy.

Example 3: Fast Food Chain 

Sound of soda being poured
Sound of crunching chips 
Sound of slurping through a straw

Narrator: Mmmm… The sound of satisfaction. 

Quench your thirst and fill your stomach at John’s Pop Shop. 

Come in to try one of our deluxe burgers, a side of chips, and a fountain drink for just $5.99. Or treat yourself to our limited edition green grasshopper milkshake — the perfect blend of smooth mint chocolate chip ice cream and creamy milk topped with whipped cream and a cherry. 

Located on Main Street, we’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

John’s Pop Shop — Where burgers are flipped and memories are made.

How Much Does Radio Advertising Cost? 

The cost of writing and airing a radio ad varies depending on the size of the market, the length of the ad, the time it airs, and the popularity of the radio station. Consequently, prices range from $200 – $5,000 per week.  

For example, it is more expensive to advertise in larger cities, like New York or Chicago than it is to advertise in Richmond or Buffalo because the ad will reach a larger audience. 

Cost of radio ads based on location and market size

Source: 2nd Kitchen

It is also more expensive to advertise during rush hour — between 6 am–10 am and 3 pm–7 pm — compared to midday or late at night. 

On average, companies pay around $20 for a 30-second ad to reach 1,000 listeners during peak times of the day, but will spend just $10– $15 during off-peak hours. 

Before getting started, create a budget that you want to stick to. Then look for a radio station that appeals to your target audience and ask for a price quote. 

Invest in Audio Advertising to Engage Local Audiences 

Contrary to popular belief, radio remains one of the most popular ways for people to consume media. On top of that, the popularity of digital radio, streaming music services, and podcasts continues to grow. 

Consequently, radio ads and programmatic ads have become an effective way for companies to reach their target audiences and grow brand awareness. 

Whether you’re planning to write a traditional radio ad script, it’s important that you keep your ad short and engaging to capture your audience’s attention. 

Use information about your listeners to write ad scripts that appeal most to your target audience and evoke mental images. Then be sure to use incentives and strong CTAs to increase engagement and attract new customers. 

Planning to start your own ad campaign? Work with a leading advertising agency to get the most out of your campaign. Find them on Top Design Firms’ directory of top advertising companies

Additional reading

Need help selecting a company?

Based on your budget, timeline, and specifications we can help you build a shortlist of companies that perfectly matches your project needs. Schedule a free consultation with an analyst.

Free Consultation