Pending Business: “F” is for Frequency

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Radio is about to lose a legend and if you sell local direct, maybe it’s your fault! I’m not kidding, this is as real as it gets. Your future is at stake. I’ve already done my part, and the rest is up to you, direct sellers.

Do I have your attention?

The more social media I consume, the more I see the same ads over and over. Many advertisers do not bother changing creative. Others just update slightly. But the repetition is there, every day, non-stop. Pick your platform, from Twitter to Linkedin, the repetition, i.e. frequency, is non-stop 24/7.

Did the radio business hand the frequency mantle over to social media? What happened to the part where radio sellers show how a campaign can deliver targeted reach AND frequency more effectively than any other medium?

Please check your last direct pitch. How often do you see the unique benefits of frequency articulated? Can someone please shake these sleepy radio sellers out of their comfort zone? When was the last time your manager did the meeting about the benefits of targeted frequency?

Some quick history. Somewhere in the 1970s the industry settled on the three frequency as a standard to move the needle for an advertiser. Hear or see the ad three times and something gets sold. That coveted three target was created when rotary phones still came in colors, FM radio was a novelty and CNN was about to become Ted Turner’s (remember him?) gutsy play.

Fast-forward to our hyper-cluttered world of social, digital, terrestrial, satellite, cable, OTT, out-of-home, direct mail, and print advertising. How many times should an adult be exposed to ad before something is bought? Pick a number starting after three. Now, pick a media platform. Divide your picks into media that SELLS and media that STEERS. Most social media STEER consumer traffic as opposed to SELL the consumer. Only Radio SELLS and STEERS consumers.

Your on-air talent can help SELL the benefits of a product or service to a targeted audience more effectively than almost any other platform. With the right amount of repetition and updated copy with a solid call to action, your campaign success is taking shape as the commercials run. The efficient frequency you can build on radio combined with updated copy is almost impossible to match anywhere else.

Back to where we started. Radio sales were built on frequency. Let’s not get lazy about owning a franchise that took over 50 years to build.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: