OPINION: Live Reads for Radio Advertising by Justin Keats, Sales Director at MediaHeads 360.

Should I or Shouldn’t I live read!

Here are the Pro’s & Con’s – avoid the con’s & harness the pro’s


  • Live Reads get you radio immediacy & flexibility, this is particularly useful for tactical, “in the now” relevance, frequently updated prices/Data or time sensitive campaigns i.e no studio time required!
  • Carefully crafted live reads can deliver “perceived” endorsement and or amplify your recorded generic’s, but beware, if you write them in a first person, you’ll likely attract a much loved presenter / DJ endorsement fee. mmmm I just love …
  • Live reads can buy time in a fix, clients may opt to go with a Live Read if material deadlines have been missed and the campaign is time sensitive.


  • Not all Presenters / DJ’s are equal or loved – briefing, tone and delivery is key, if they don’t align with the presenter personality, are rushed, delivered with low energy, variances across stations or words are miss-pronounced, you could put your brand at risk!
  • Live reads usually attract a 50% loading. Note: the cost is incremental if you need frequency, plan your budget carefully.
  • If you’re making use of more than one live read, clearly highlight delivery instructions, dates rotation and or sequence as the policy around flighting codes and live reads varies from station to station, the manual delivery process could leave your campaign open to a switch-a-roo.
  • Time the duration of your live read, particularly if it’s to be translated, a last minute rejection or edit by the station could delay / defeat immediacy and relevance. Live reads are subject to station approvals and available personnel at the station.
  • To verify the correct scheduling and delivery of your live read, station will need to supply you with an actual recording (or you could actually listen to your campaign / attract an additional cost using a 3rd party clippings service), efficiency varies from station to station, the norm is 48 hours, which can be problematic if feedback on the delivery is required.
  • Negotiate and agree upfront in writing if you intend to use live read recordings for other purposes, usage & rights still apply.
  • Consider the absence of themed music and or Sonic triggers that may or may not prompt a recall across other media platforms
  • Know, the barrier to entry is low for all advertisers! Most stations do enforce a policy i.e they only allow x number of live reads per hour, be prepared for our much loved presenter / DJ to deliver live reads on just about anything from competitive live reads and all your needs.

For more on live reads for radio advertising, have a look here:

Call us “live” now¬†@ MediaHeads 360 on 010 590 4553

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