Are Your Promos Merely Clutter? Four Ways to Deliver a Message That People Actually Remember

By David Kidd, BPR

We’ve all heard promos on radio stations that are too long, too wordy, too boring, too “try hard” ……too…..well…..meaningless.

Don’t fool yourself…….to the listener a promo is a commercial. It’s an ad for your station, whether it’s the morning show, the music position, a contest…whatever…you’re selling something to the audience.

If your promos don’t stand out, they just add to the clutter.

If you want people to remember your message, then you need to make it memorable. If your audience can’t remember your message, it isn’t because they have a retention issue; it’s because you have a communication issue.

Patty McCord, former chief talent officer at Netflix once said, “people aren’t too stupid to listen; rather, you made it too complicated to understand”. A great message is easy to remember and hard to forget. In order to do that, a promo needs to connect on four different levels.

Does it Make Sense….is it Logical?

Does your message make people think?

Your message should make sense in itself and cause people to think about it in a positive way. If it’s too complex to understand, people are less likely to think about it and more likely to discard it. Like a great song that gets stuck in your head, you should be able to remember the words.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid

Over the years, psychological tests on short term memory show that the average person is able to recall (or hold in their working memory) around seven separate objects or ideas (plus or minus two).

Your message should have a single focus. Don’t try to add too many ideas into one promo – if you do, its highly likely listeners won’t remember any of them.


Your message should evoke a response at an emotional level. Language really matters. What words have you chosen to communicate your idea? A message that resonates in us and creates an emotional impact is much more likely to stay with us.


Great messages have an aspirational quality to them. They don’t just make a person think or feel; they inspire them to take action. When they hear, think and feel, they’ll want to walk away and do.


Listen to your promos like a listener…seek the opinions of others…even test them online ……accept constructive criticism.



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