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Radio Sponsors: How to Find, Pitch, & Win Supporters

Take a leaf out of the CUCO radio’s book and learn how to find, pitch and win supporters to fund your radio station.

David Wilkinson

by David Wilkinson in Marketing

Last updated 27.04.2022

CUCO win sponsors

Looking for sponsors for your radio station? Then you’ll need a great idea that appeals to people, something like Chin Up Chest Out radio. Chin Up Chest Out (CUCO) is a clothing brand and radio station that promotes positivity. It was created by life coach and inspirational speaker John Brubaker.

The CUCO philosophy and namesake comes from when John was suffering with a severe neck injury. Part of his physiotherapy was to bring his chin up and stick his chest out. This injury had taken a toll on John, he was anxious and depressed. But after repeating chin up, chest out over and over again, John adopted this as his mantra to keep going.

No matter what adversity life throws at us; we need to keep our chin up, chest out and move forward.

John revealed his experiences with depression and anxiety in his talks. The vulnerability he shared resonated with his audience deeply. Taking this, John wanted to inspire others with positivity and a tenacity to persevere through hard times.

CUCO clothing was born and, quickly gained a legion of fans that subscribe to its core values. Values like seeing adversity as an advantage and seeing challenges as opportunities.

A male CUCO fan holding CUCO merchandise and standing in front of a poster of the CUCO brand values.
A CUCO fan standing in front of a poster of the CUCO brand values.

Moving Into Radio

CUCO clothing was a success. So John started thinking of more ways to help people stay positive. And having presented a show on ESPN Radio before, John knew the power of radio. So he settled on the idea of a radio station. But with a twist.

A station that was commercial-free and only played positive music would be a good brand extension for my clothing brand.

Choosing Radio Sponsorship

Traditional radio advertising isn’t for everyone and it wasn’t for John. Broadcasters have to weigh up peppering their content with ads vs the financial benefits they offer. John felt radio commercials often bombarded listeners with negativity. He concluded they wouldn't serve the CUCO brand.

A brands message gets lost in a sea of clutter.

When CUCO radio was all about the brand’s message, this would not do. Instead, John opted for a sponsorship model.

Pitching and Winning Radio Sponsors

Ones own network is as good a starting point as any to find radio sponsors. And John did exactly that. John turned to the contacts he had built over the years through his coaching and speeches.

John gave them the soft pitch revealing the CUCO radio mission. After announcing CUCO radio, he simply asked if they wanted to be updated on the station’s launch.

He was met with dozens of enquiries about how people could be involved in sponsorship. Many of the businesses values aligned with the CUCO brand’s mission and they wanted to support the cause.

Two CUCO radio stations and laptop in their radio station.
The CUCO radio station.

Once John had piqued the interest of potential sponsors, he set about creating a very attractive sponsorship offer. As CUCO radio had not been launched yet, John didn't have a pre-existing listenership. With this in mind, John had to make his sponsorship packages too juicy to resist. So researched the market. He looked at the cost of traditional radio commercials and podcast sponsorships.

After underwriting an hour of NPR, I landed on $500 a year for a one-hour daily sponsorship.

John’s pitch was met with strong enthusiasm. And it wasn’t just lip service too. By Autumn 2021, he had secured enough sponsorship deals to fund CUCO radio. Meaning CUCO radio was cost neutral from the get-go.

Delivering to Radio Sponsors

John launched CUCO radio when the clock struck midnight on the 1st of January 2022. Since its launch, CUCO radio strives to over deliver for its sponsors. The CUCO radio sponsorship packages include:

    • On air promotion.
    • Backlinks to the sponsored businesses on the CUCO website.
    • Social media interactions and promotion.
    • Welcome package full of CUCO merch.
    By doing all this it’s truly multimedia advertising that they’re receiving.

    Key Lessons for Radio Sponsorship

    CUCO radio show that getting sponsors is a very viable way to fund your radio station or show. The key lessons to be taken from CUCO radio's success are:

    1. Hash out your idea thoroughly and start with this. You can want your potential sponsors to believe in your idea like you do so you'll need to think about it deeply and why it matters.
    2. Those in your network will already know you and trust you, so reach out to them first. It's easier to pitch to someone you already have a relationship with rather than a completely new lead.
    3. Do your research and create an attractive offer. Think of the ways you can add extra value to your sponsors and how you can deliver more than traditional offerings.
    4. Deliver your promises and keep your sponsors involved.

    By applying these steps, like John did for CUCO radio, you'll be in a good position to find some valuable sponsors for your station or show.

    Let us know in the comments below how you've found radio sponsors or if you try John's method.

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