What are Radio Partnerships?

In many public relations campaigns, embarking on a radio partnership strategy represents the best opportunity to make the impact that brands aim for - but what are radio partnerships, and how do they work?

Glasses making a toast - perhaps to successful radio partnerships

The world is full of iconic partnerships.

Dynamic duos like Batman and Robin or Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin have achieved greatness and universal popularity through their collaborative efforts.

But what makes them special?

In our opinion, what sets these partnerships apart from the crowd is that their relationships are mutually beneficial. Batman, for example, would have been beaten a long time ago in the DC Universe if it wasn’t for his Boy Wonder sidekick, and Robin couldn’t have developed his crime-fighting abilities without the Dark Knight’s guidance. 

Inside, on the basketball court, Michael Jordan would have struggled to be the legendary figure he is without assistance from the best teammate he ever had, and Scottie would have had to work very hard to make up for the 29,277 points scored for the Bulls by Jordan.

But a mutually beneficial relationship isn’t exclusive to the crime-fighting and hoop-dunking worlds.

It is also key to achieving success in the realm of public relations. By securing radio partnerships, your brand’s message can reach a wider, more relevant audience, significantly boosting its overall reach.

What does the broadcaster get out of the deal? A conversation around a fee usually takes place, but, fundamentally, they get high-quality content that their listeners or viewers are going to love.

In this article, we want to walk you through the concept of a radio partnership. To do so, we’ll explain how one works, what steps can make the partnership successful, and illustrate the importance of an experienced, consultative approach.


Let’s start with the basics.


What are radio partnerships?

Radio partnerships are mutually beneficial collaborations between a brand and a broadcaster. The brand has a message they want to communicate and the broadcaster has an audience, often much larger than the brand’s, that is hungry for high-quality content. 

Far from only taking one format, radio partnerships could be air time, sponsorship, promotions or paid-for features.

In short, the brand’s message reaches a wider audience, and the broadcaster gives its audience great content.

It is worth pointing out that a radio partnership is different to a simple advertisement. While the end goal might be the same (boosting sales, engagements, website visits, reach), the content the listener hears is likely to feel more editorial and valuable.

A radio advertisement will have a short window to sell you something – whether a product or service. A radio partnership, on the other hand, provides an opportunity for the listener to get to know a brand a little better or become inspired by its core values and goals.

Let’s say that you run a large chain of hardware, DIY stores. While a short 30-second advertisement will boost the listener’s awareness of your brand in the short term, a paid media partnership – perhaps where you sponsor a segment all about simple jobs that people often put off in their homes – can prove memorable in the longer term.

You get the benefit of having your brand talked about, and the broadcaster benefits from great content. 



The data shows radio is thriving

Surrounded by an abundance of streaming platforms, which tailor-make your music playlists to your mood, listening habits, location, and just about any other data points they can find, it can be all-too-easy to overlook radio partnerships as part of your PR efforts.

Our advice? Don’t.

A 2021 survey found that approximately 89% of adults in the UK, almost 50 million, listened to live radio for more than 20 hours each week. That’s one billion hours of air-time opportunity, pre-split into listening demographics.

If you’re a brand that wants to target a more mature audience, a Classic FM listener is far more likely to fit the bill than, say, a Heart FM one.

Put simply, despite what you might think – being surrounded by endless streaming options – radio is, in fact, thriving.

Five steps to securing a radio partnership

Securing a radio partnership can feel like a daunting prospect, especially if you don’t know where to start. Here are our five steps:


1. Identify your objective

What do you want to achieve?

It is that question that will define any radio partnerships you undertake.

Returning to our example of the chain of hardware stores, your objective might be to boost sales.  Radio partnerships might, therefore, take the form of an advice segment on how to properly undertake DIY tasks – such as laying a patio or hanging a picture – featuring a list of equipment that the listeners can buy from your stores. Alternatively, to get the chain’s name broadcast regularly, it might simply sponsor a popular segment in which your brand is regularly mentioned or run a competition to win vouchers to spend in the store.

On the other hand, if your objective is to increase awareness of your brand, it might be a good idea to tell brief stories on the airwaves which listeners can find more details about on your website.


2. Find your audience

As well as your overall goal, you should also define your audience.

Who are you trying to reach?

That question is such an important part of planning your radio partnerships because commercial stations often cater specifically to different demographics. Heart FM, for example, defines its core demographic as 25-44 year olds.

That chain of hardware stores would be very suitable to this demographic, one that is likely to be taking its first steps onto the property ladder and facing the long lists of DIY jobs that might go with that.

In contrast, a company specialising in mobility assistance products would find their radio partnership to be largely ineffective at engaging with Heart’s demographic. That brand would probably have better success on Capital FM, a station with a predominantly older listenership.


3. Draft your key messaging

When your listener switches their radio off, having heard your radio partnership segment, what is it that you want them to remember?

Do you want them to simply know your name? Do you want them to know about your range of products? What about the story of how you came to be?

Airtime, like most things in life, costs money. It is, therefore, vital that you boil what you want to say into a length that is as short, punchy, and as effective as possible.

Know what you want to say, and remove the fluff.


4. Decide on a budget

While the big household-name broadcasters will give your message the most reach, they are also, inevitably, likely to be the most expensive to partner with. Likewise, a radio partnership that involves a whole segment centred around your brand will eat up far more budget than sponsoring a competition.

It is, therefore, vital that you decide on a budget and stick to it.

But that doesn’t mean settling for sub-par coverage. Instead, it means being clever about what broadcasters you’re targeting. For example, if most of your business is local and you want it to stay that way, a partnership with Magic, the UK’s second-biggest commercial radio station is likely to be unnecessarily expensive for reaching listeners in a specific tri-county area.

A good alternative in this instance might be a radio partnership with a local station, KMFM in Kent, for example. Engaging with their listenership is likely to achieve engagement with people who can actually visit your business.


A few other things that might affect the price you pay for a radio partnership include:

– Whether or not you have an established relationship with contacts at the platform;

– Your brand’s credibility (broadcasters want to associate themselves with reputable companies);

– The non-financial benefits that you can offer (exclusive rights to content, for example);

– How many requests for radio partnerships the broadcaster receives.


5. Consider online media platforms

Radio is far from the only format that provides partnerships. Paid media partnerships can be with any media outlet interested in creating quality content in tandem with brands. This can be particularly suitable to your organisation if your product, service, or message is a visual one or would benefit from a viewership, rather than just a listenership.

It should be noted here that many radio stations – primarily commercial ones (which are able to offer radio partnerships) are ditching the audio-only format and pursuing a richer experience for the listeners, whereby they can tune in to a live stream in the studio while they listen.

If your message is a visual one, consider engaging in a radio partnership with a station that also has a video stream.

Why use Broadcast Revolution for your radio partnerships?

Our experienced former broadcasters and media professionals offer you a consultative approach.

What we mean by that is we can identify what it is that you want to achieve, your target demographic and, quite importantly, your budget. With those things in mind, we can advise you on whether your message is better suited to our Newsroom – whereby we facilitate the news agenda and invite your brand’s spokesperson to commentate on current affairs – or whether it could be filmed and distributed on independent channels.

Let’s say you’ve undertaken a rebranding campaign. Instead of explaining the hows and whys of having done so on a radio station, consider undertaking a corporate video production, the content from which can be shared on social media channels and distributed as part of an agreement that is separate from a radio partnership.

As well as our ability to provide genuine, transparent and constructive advice on radio partnerships, we also have an extensive list of contacts – a list that is qualified regularly and continues to grow.

But how do we know that a radio partnership arranged by our team is likely to be successful? Because we have a purpose-built impact tool to accurately measure the reach of our strategies.

If you want to get your message out there and know whether it made an impact, we can help.


Let’s make your radio partnership as iconic as Batman and Robin.


Contact us today.