Welcome to Radio 101

When creating your custom marketing plan, we often use some of the terms listed below. We realize not everyone speaks "Radio" as a second language, below is everything you ever wanted to know about Radio

Afternoon Drive (PM Drive)

Monday though Friday from 3-7PM.

AM Drive (Morning Drive)

Monday through Friday from 6AM to 10AM.

Audience Composition

The demographic or socioeconomic profile of a station’s audience.


The commercial position in a program or between programs on a given station available for purchase.

Average Quarter-Hour Persons (AQH)

The average number of persons listening to a particular station for at least five consecutive minutes during a 15-minute period.

Average Quarter-Hour Rating

The average Quarter-Hour Persons estimate expressed as a percentage of the population being measured.

Best Time Available (BTA)

Commercials which are scheduled by the station to run at the best available time after all other sponsor commitments are met.

Billboard (radio billboard)

Name mentions given to an advertiser in return for a program/station commitment (often to a “sponsor” of the program).


Two (or sometimes more) Radio stations, usually operated by the same owner in the same market.

Cost Per Point (CPP)

The cost of reaching an Average Quarter-Hour Persons audience that is equivalent to one percent of the population in a given demographic group.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)

The cost of delivering 1,000 gross impressions.

Coverage Area

The geographic area within which a signal from an originating station can be received.

Cume Persons

The total number of different persons who listen to a Radio station during a daypart for at least five consecutive minutes.


The time segments into which a day is divided by for the purpose of selling advertising time. Primary dayparts are morning (or AM drive), midday, afternoon (or PM drive), and evening.

Demo (Target Demo)

The age group and make-up of the audience that you wish to receive your product or service message.

Equal Distribution

Ensuring that commercials are scheduled to run in a broad time period or combination of time periods, getting equally distributed across each time period.

Equal Rotation

Usually refers to ensuring that commercials are scheduled to run in a broad time period or combination of time periods and get equally distributed across each time period.


Monday though Friday from 7PM-Midnight.

Fixed Position (sometimes called 'anchored')

A commercial scheduled to run at a precise time, or a commercial scheduled to run within specific programming content.


Advertising agency scheduling concept that alternates periods of advertising activity with periods of no activity.

Flight Dates

Start and end dates of an advertising campaign.


The average number of times the same person will hear a commercial.


Refers to creating a schedule that tends to place more commercials on days of the week that have less demand.

Gross Impressions (GIs)

The sum of the Average Quarter-Hour Persons (AQH) audience for all commercials in a given schedule. The total number of times a commercial will be heard over the course of a schedule.

Gross Rating Points (GRPs)

The sum of all rating points achieved for a particular commercial schedule.

Live Read

Announcement is read “live” on-air by a station personality.

Local Marketing Agreement (LMA)

An arrangement where one station or owner takes sales responsibility for the commercial time on another station that it does not own.


Monday through Friday from 10AM-3PM.

Morning Drive (AM Drive)

Monday through Friday from 6AM to 10AM.

Net Reach

The number of different people that will hear the commercial at least one time.

Nielson & Eastlan

Radio ratings service

Optimum Effective Scheduling (OES)

Advertising purchasing concept designed to reach the majority of a station’s audience three or more times in a week by distributing commercials evenly Monday-Sunday from 6AM to Midnight.


Two commercials scheduled to run back-to-back, purchased by the same advertiser.

PM Drive (Afternoon Drive)

Monday though Friday from 3-7PM.

Pre-emption and Pre-emptible

The displacement of a scheduled commercial announcement in favor of a higher-priced commercial or for some other reason.


A live broadcast from your business.


Short for representative. The station account executive who serves a local advertiser or agency.


The distribution of commercials across a section of days and hours within the purchased time period.

Run of Schedule (ROS)

Commercials scheduled to run across multiple dayparts and multiple days. Usually Monday-Friday, 6AM-12AM


When two or more Radio stations broadcast the same programs and same commercials at the same times.


The purchase of a radio program or specific feature.

Target Demo (Demo)

An age group or audience make-up that you target with your commercial message.

TOMA (top-of-mind-awareness)

Achieving a high level of recognition with a specific audience.

Total Audience Plan (TAP)

An advertising schedule that places ads in a pattern that utilizes all station dayparts for maximum station audience exposure.

Total Survey Area (TSA)

Geographic area that encompasses the Metro Survey Area (MSA) and may include additional counties located outside the MSA which meet certain listening criteria.


One commercial message regardless of length.