This morning there was a promo on 99.9 FM. The basic premise was that the station was going ad-free. It went on for about 20 seconds before revealing that by ad-free, they meant that between the hours of 9AM to Noon on weekdays, they won’t play ads.

I almost wrecked my car.

In other words, they spent 20 seconds (an eternity in radio) to lavish themselves with praise and tell me that – when people in their key demographic are at work and not listening – the station won’t play advertising.

I was a DJ for three years on 90.5 FM KCSU, where the only advertising was no-call-to-action, no-music, no-effect, flat-read underwriting. That’s about as ad-free as you can go. And my year as Production Director is enough for me to know that refraining from playing ads for 15 hours a week is hardly worthy of a 15-20 second back-patting “going ad-free” promo.

Before you start high-fiving yourself too hard for this amazing act of generosity to your listeners – consider doing something that requires some element of risk on your part. Something that your listeners will actually appreciate and value – something that isn’t just a marketing ploy.

Forget this campaign and go 100% ad-free on Mondays. Mondays suck enough already for your target demographic – if you’re going to cut ad spots anyway, you’ll get more bang for your buck this way. Give your listeners something they can look forward to – no ads on their drive there, no ads on their drive home. That would be really generous and worthy of 20-second promos.

(Header photo: 388 by Shovelling Son)