Top Ten Radio Promotional Ideas from Around the World

We know that promotions are a pivotal force in today's ever-changing digital world - but how does that effect radio? 

Recently, Choose Radio  hosted an event which saw Niall Power, Head of Station Sound, Beat 102103, take centre stage to bring you his top ten radio promotional ideas from around the world. He started by asking a couple of questions : 

1) Why do a station promotion? In response to this, Niall said that, this question can often have a multitude of long winded answers. However, he listed several key points to illustrate his rationale for doing stations promotions :

  • Reaching new audiences
  • Current audience listening for longer
  • Launching a new show
  • Theme
  • Client based promotion


2) What makes a great promotion? According to Niall, quite simply, providing interesting content for the listener is a big part of this answer. The fact of the matter is that audiences love a good cliff-hanger and will do anything to find out what happens next. It’s that desire for more that can be used to a radio station’s advantage when putting together promotional material.

Niall then shared the Top 10 Radio Promotions from Around the World which included :

  • Cork’s Red FM: The Chosen One. Over the course of this promotion, the station gave a total of €35,000 to its lucky participants, catapulting it into the public eye.


  • Sydney KIIS FM: Hyundai Giveaway. During this promotion, 12 Hyundai i30 cars were given to callers on the show. Within 24 hours, the station received significant coverage online, in press and on TV, with a total 1 million calls received.


  • Munich’s Radio Gong: Talent show. In an interesting turn of events, contestants were asked to perform on Munich’s railway, the S-Bahn. This saw artists go head to head, attempting to win over the hardest of all juries; the passengers. The aftermath of this promotion saw listenership figures rise and resulted in a German Radio award for best innovation.


  • Rix FM: Wedding. This Swedish station staged a wedding between two of its breakfast presenters, with a chance for its listeners to win their wedding gifts and even their honeymoon. The promotion saw 6,000 entrants into the competition and 45,000 new visitors on their website.


  • Absolute Radio: World’s Shortest Mixtape. With a huge range of music at their disposal, Absolute decided to put together snippets of 7 songs, to be identified by listeners. Spanning a number of weeks and proving quite difficult, a long-term partner decided to offer a prize when a listener guessed one song correctly. This generated massive talkability.


  • 98FM: The Big Slide Home. A 260ft waterslide was built on the streets of Dublin, with tickets given away on air every hour. The results were phoenominal, having reached over 500,000 people and trending all over Ireland for days afterwards.


  • 947 FM: The Samsung Mystery Box. Nominated for Best Multichannel Promotion at the South African Liberty Radio Awards, this promotion of the Samsung Galaxy S7 provided a challenge for listeners to find and unlock the mystery box.


  • Radio 538: Dacia Duster giveaway. 4 Participants. 4 days. 4 Wheels. 9,500 Participants, over 800,000 visitors to the website. 358 Dusters ordered during the campaign. The numbers speak for themselves.


  • Europa FM: Beautiful Romania. Users were prompted to send in photos of their beautiful country via the station’s website. They were then selected to come on air and talk about their image. Their daily moment of national pride resulted in the prize of a Toyota Corolla.


  • Bauer Radio Network: Pets. Over several of their stations, Bauer ran promotional material on pets. Over 250,000 people were reached in this informational and educational promotion.


Bonus Promotion

  • Beat 102-103: The Coffin Lock in. A waiting game, candidates spent what they guessed to be an hour locked in a coffin. The closest to the mark won the grand prize. Winning the Bronze Award at last year’s IMRO Radio Awards, it was a successful promotion.


To conclude, Niall offered his top 6 tips for successful radio promotions.

  1. Keep It Simple Stupid. Listeners need a leader; someone who is with them through the early mornings and late evenings – someone who makes them understand. Keeping it simple avoids any confusion amongst listeners and allows for a positive experience.
  2. Every concept can be made your own. Not all ideas are absolutely original from their very inception, so you should put your own stamp on what’s already out there.
  3. Don’t obsess over the prize. It is easy to get lost in the reward, but that’s not what it’s all about. Offer your listeners an unrivalled experience with the added bonus of something nice.
  4. Have a functional & flourishing creative team. It is important to generate great ideas and bring something brand new to the table in order to stay ahead of the curve.
  5. Give it the full 360° treatment. From on air, to online, to on the street, your promotional methods have a big impact on overall coverage.
  6. Have fun!


To view the full presentation, watch the video below.  This article was produced by Ross McQuillan on behalf of Learning Waves.

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