What Is a Radio Advertising Script?

Jeremy Laukkonen

A radio advertising script is a written document that can be used in the creation of an ad. Radio spots are usually between 15 and 60 seconds long, so one of the main purposes of a script is to ensure that the ad is the correct length. The two main types of radio ads use either actors or radio personalities, and both can make use of scripts. In the case of a prerecorded ad that makes use of actors, the script will typically include their lines in addition to necessary sound effects and other directions. A radio advertising script meant for a disc jockey or talk show host can provide more leeway, though there is still typically some type of message or specific information included.

A DJ works at a radio station.
A DJ works at a radio station.

Advertising revenue is the way that many radio stations earn money, since these paid ad spots can be played during talk shows or in between songs. Most of them are either 30 or 60 seconds long, which can help the station plan breaks accordingly. The first part of any radio advertisement production process typically involves the writing of a script. In order to ensure that a spot is the correct time length, the general rule of thumb is that a 60 second radio advertising script should be about 185 words long. To write a spot that is only 30 seconds long, this figure should be cut in half.

A radio personality, like a host or a jockey, may be provided with a radio advertising script to read on the air.
A radio personality, like a host or a jockey, may be provided with a radio advertising script to read on the air.

There are two main types of radio commercials, each of which has a different production process. The first type is typically prerecorded and involves either professional actors or friends and employees of the company that is paying for the ad. These advertisements follow a script that can lay out the dialog of each actor in addition to other directions. The script may include sound effects and anything else necessary to the production.

Radio personalities, such as disc jockeys and talk show hosts, are often paid to endorse products as well. In some cases, the host or jockey will be provided with a radio advertising script to read on the air. This type of endorsement can also be prerecorded and played at a later time, just like productions that involve professional actors. Some personalities are afforded more latitude, in which case the radio advertising script may serve more as a set of guidelines. The advertiser may have a specific message or information, such as a phone number, that must be said on the air, and then the disc jockey or talk show host is allowed to ad lib the rest.

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Discussion Comments


@Terrificli -- Even those stations that don't offer custom scripts can do just fine with advertising by offering companies the chance to run pre-recorded ads put together by one radio advertising agency or another. In fact, offering that service is really the only way for a radio station to take part in a national radio advertising campaign.


Why are some radio stations more successful than others? Radio advertising, that's why. Some of the most successful ones also have people to write quality, custom scripts for clients. That level of personalization is valuable and attracts the attention of potential advertisers.

Considering how much competition there is among radio stations wanting to sell advertisements, some custom radio advertising scripts can help a radio station stand apart from the crow.

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