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What time should my Radio ads air?

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Radio is accessed by the vast majority of Calgarians every day, especially in their cars. It makes sense to think that the best time to advertise is during the commute to and from work right? Sounds like a no-brainer if you're advertising for the first time.

The answer is yes, the most listeners typically are listening during what are called "peak" times, but on the same token, those peak times are the most expensive times as well, and budgets are a key parameter we need to pay attention to in order to make it palatable for some businesses to get on air. If you are one of the lucky unicorn businesses that can spend an unlimited amount on radio advertising in Calgary, go for it- but if you're one of the vast majority of businesses that needs a strategic deployment plan that fits your budget, consider the following.

Most radio stations will default to offering a "Reach Plan" on their station(s), which essentially means your ads can play at any time throughout the day between roughly 5am and 2am (with some stations moving those slightly). Reach Plans are the most popular way to buy radio, because they offer an equal rotation of spots during the coveted times during the day (these times may vary according to station):

1. Breakfast 5a-10a 2. Midday 10a - 3p 3. Drive 3p - 9p 4. Evening 9p-2a

The wonderful thing about a reach plan is that it averages out the rates across those day-parts (times of the day), so you're guaranteed to air during the coveted commute, but you also will have spots playing throughout the day which brings your average rate down, and consequently, your weekly investment down.

Generally stations will charge a premium if you begin to slice out these day parts or days of the week, so it's important to discuss these with someone you trust (a great radio rep should be able to shed light on this). Sometimes you can get away with fewer commercials if they are at the peak times, because you'll hit largely the same people at those times if they are in a routine. That way you know you aren't losing frequency with a core audience, so even if you are paying more to hit a smaller number of people, you know your message is reaching them consistently.

To learn more about day-parts, which times of day are ideal for your business to advertise to Calgarians through radio, or to discuss your plans to reach Calgary, contact us.

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