How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Radio Endorsements

 In Blog

by Dave Ryan

Endorsements are great. They pay well. They usually get us some sort of cool product to try or use. And they give us a little extra job-security because the station is going to want to hang onto the jock that has a ton of clients using him for endorsements.

So what’s the downside? 

Well, there really shouldn’t be one. But there are Pitfalls_of_Radio_Endorsements.jpgsome pitfalls that we all need to watch for, especially if you’re newer in the business and suddenly get hit up to endorse everything from jewelry stores to cars to those ridiculous stuffed teddy bears for Valentine’s Day!

Here are some things I’ve learned about endorsements that may help you keep your advertisers happy, your listeners from thinking of you as a giant “Ad-Whore” and your sales people loving you for making their job easier.

First, endorsement clients are high-maintenance. They expect you to be on conference calls before the campaign starts. I was on one with a pet food company with about 30 other jocks FOR AN HOUR. Yes, it was long and somewhat frustrating, but the client felt good about it so it was worth it. And remember, they’ll want frequent, sometimes daily airchecks that they’ll pick apart in any way they can.  Just have a thick skin, do your best and keep plugging away.

What about your actual delivery? I hear a lot of jocks that seem to read through the copy and it sounds awful and insincere. Start with a story or at least a sentence that sounds like the beginning of a story.  If I’m doing a Sleep Number Bed spot, I don’t start by saying, “Hey this is Dave Ryan for Sleep Number.”  I don’t even start with “Let me tell you about how wonderful my Sleep Number Bed is.” 

Nope, I’ll say something like, “Last night, my wife and I were watching Dancing With The Stars and Joey Fatone was eliminated, it was kind of a bummer. Anyway, I looked at my wife and said, you know what I’m looking foward to?  Getting in that warm and comfy Sleep Number Bed tonight!”

So don’t READ their copy. Use their copy points, but make it sound like it’s your story that just happens to include a plug for the product or service.  One hint to make copy sound genuine?  NEVER EVER pronounce the word “the” as “thee” or the word “a” as “ay.” Here’s what I mean, “Thee Sleep Number Store is having ay big sale this weekend.” That sounds scripted, it sounds insincere, and worst of all, it sounds like an ad.

Know your product and know your copy. Be able to ad-lib your way through a slice of life story that’s different every time. I do endorsements for Shane Company and have for 15 years and I NEVER read their scripts because I know the product so well and I know why people like it. Study your copy and if you can, go to the actual store and experience it for yourself.

And finally, don’t endorse something you don’t believe in if you can avoid it.  Listen, I GET IT that sometimes you are in a position to endorse something to make money for the station, but if you sell your listeners a crappy product, they won’t trust you next time you sell them a quality product. Years ago a client wanted me to endorse a hair-loss-prevention product. Nope, wouldn’t do it, because those products just don’t work. And if you’re doing a weight loss endorsement, make that stuff work! I don’t care what it takes, but just make it work! If you lie about how much weight you’re losing on some product, your listeners and your clients will notice.

It’s a great time in radio for great endorsements.


Dave Ryan is a talent coach for The Randy Lane Company and host of The Dave Ryan Show, KDWB/Minneapolis. Learn more about him here.

Photo credit: Anokarina via Creative Commons

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