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Media Buying

Purchasing advertising space or airtime can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time. Here are a few tried-and-true tactics for securing the best rates.


Print media sizes vary from publication to publication. A quarter-page newspaper ad can be significantly different in size and shape from one publication to another. Why? Because newspaper space is typically sold by the “column inch,” which may be confusing to beginner media buyers.


  • Choose the ad you want to run and then have your newspaper representative show you one or two sizes along with corresponding price proposals.
  • It’s best to let the newspaper size your ad for you if you haven’t done it before.


  • Ask your newspaper if it has any special “flight rates” or “TOMA” (Top of Mind Awareness) discounts. If so, have them show you how much more cost-effective they are compared to their standard rates.


  • Request “forward news” or “local” sections of your paper and ask to be on a right-hand (odd-numbered) page.



  • Radio spots are either 30 seconds or 60 seconds. When asking for rates, make sure to specify which length you plan to use.


  • Ask for the total number of people who tune into a station during the course of a “day-part” for at least 5 minutes.
  • Ratings come from Arbitron, a radio audience research company. When requesting ratings, ask for an average of the two most recent Arbitron books, which are quarterly ratings.


  • Radio stations regulated by the FCC are required by federal law to provide a certain percentage of public service announcements (PSAs). Tobacco control radio spots are considered PSAs. Ask about free airtime.
  • Many times radio stations will offer specials (buy one get one free). Ask about these offers, and ask stations to match each other.