with Annie O'Dea Hestbeck

Become an Underwriter

Underwriting – Good for Business?
By Glen Foley

Long-time listeners realize that many underwriters have been supporting KVMR for as long as they have been listening. Year after year, they continue their support, because underwriting on KVMR has proven to be an effective way of marketing their businesses. Is underwriting on KVMR the right move for your business? Here are some things to consider:

Radio is the best medium for building name or brand awareness. Because radio is pervasive (nearly everyone in the US listens to radio during any given week), it is most effective at reaching a broad audience. Radio is also subliminal; even when you are not actively listening, you are hearing, and the information is being absorbed. The key to radio is frequency: the more often your message is heard the more effective it will be. Radio should be an integral part of any well-designed marketing plan.

Public radio reaches a specialized audience. The typical public radio listener exceeds the national average for education, household income, and home ownership. They are typically mature adults, and most have no children at home. In other words, they are empty-nesters at the peak of their buying power. Politically, the majority describe themselves as liberal or progressive, and they are making more of their buying decisions based on sustainability and environmental impact.

KVMR's audience demographics are consistent with public radio nationwide. The median age of KVMR listeners is over 50. Over 75% have no children at home. Two-thirds have at least a two-year college degree. Over 80% own their homes. The majority have household incomes well above average. May we say it? They are the Baby Boomers, now turning gray. They are part of the largest, best educated, and wealthiest generation ever seen in history. And for many businesses, they are the most desirable customers.

People turn to public radio and KVMR because they can't stand the "noise" on commercial stations. A couple of years ago, Clear Channel (owner of over 1200 US radio stations) moved to reduce their commercial load to 12 minutes per hour, from highs of as much as 20 minutes. Even with the reduction, commercials still make up 20% of their programming, which leads commercial radio listeners to do a lot of button pushing. Not so with KVMR: we have two underwriting breaks per hour that last about one minute each. Our listeners know that the break will be short, and the messages will not be loud and annoying, so they are a lot less likely to tune out. Your underwriting message gets heard, not lost in the clutter because there is no clutter to get lost in.

While the FCC regulates the content of underwriting acknowledgements, it is really our listeners that we consider when composing the messages. They don't want hype, and we don't give it to them. Underwriting messages contain the name of the underwriter and a brief description of their business or activity, along with location and contact information. When you are talking to well-educated people, there is no need to make exaggerated claims – just give them the pertinent facts, and they will make the right decisions. It's more like a thoughtful conversation between adults, and this is another reason underwriting is so effective.

Perhaps the biggest reason underwriting works is positioning. By supporting KVMR, you are making a statement about your business and how it fits into the listening community. Studies commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have identified what they call the "halo effect"; according to the studies, "70% of public radio’s listeners say that a company’s support of public radio has a positive influence on their decision to purchase that company’s products and services." KVMR's members are the true "owners" of the station; without them we wouldn't be here. When your business gives financial support to our radio station, you are seen as one of us, part of the family.

And KVMR is affordable. If you own a business, you know how expensive it is to be in the yellow pages, to do direct mail, or to run print ads. You probably also know that over 50% of people picking up the yellow pages already have a name in mind; that most direct mail is discarded unread (recycled, we hope!); and that a newspaper ad only lasts one day. For the cost of a one-time ad in your local paper, you can have announcements on KVMR all year long, and reach a highly desirable target market.

To learn more about underwriting opportunities at KVMR and the additional benefits of being an underwriter, contact us at 530-265-9073 x219.