What Is a Radio Advertising Bureau?

Cindy Quarters

The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) is an organization dedicated to promoting radio as an advertising medium. It seeks to help both radio stations and their advertisers make full use of the medium and increase profitability. The RAB offers education and assistance for those in the industry including seminars, software programs, and general information. The group also recruits members from throughout the industry who gain extra benefits from joining the group.

Radio offers an advertising medium.
Radio offers an advertising medium.

When it was first formed in 1950, the Radio Advertising Bureau was known as the Broadcast Advertisers Bureau. The mission was the same: to promote the use of radio as a means of generating revenue for both advertisers and radio stations. As television became more popular, the organization changed its name to the Radio Advertising Bureau in order to clarify its mission of promoting radio alone, and not all broadcast mediums.

The RAB maintains a large library of research documenting the success and failures of past radio ads.
The RAB maintains a large library of research documenting the success and failures of past radio ads.

To further its purpose, the RAB began to collect radio ads, keeping them on file for future reference. The Bureau also formed an association with the Clio awards in the mid-1960s so that ads could be recognized for excellence. There are thousands of ads in the collection, with many from the 1950s and 1960s. The Library of American Broadcasting has remastered many of these ads have been and made them available to anyone who is interested.

Enhancing the use of radio as the main means of advertising is one of the main driving forces behind the Radio Advertising Bureau. To facilitate this, the group provides help and information to radio stations, advertisers and potential advertisers. RAB maintains a large library of research on past and current marketing trends, public listening habits, and demographics. Relevant information is continually posted on the organization’s website and updated frequently.

The Radio Advertising Bureau boasts thousands of members throughout the United States with varying connections to the radio industry as a whole. The Bureau offers to help members and those in the industry to generate higher revenues from radio advertising. They also offer education and support designed to further their goals.

Some of the RAB's knowledge base and educational materials are available to the general public, but other support is limited to members only. Features reserved for members include management tools and specialty software such as programs designed to aid in the acquisition of new advertisers. These are generally free for members. There are also a variety of programs and tools available for purchase.

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