According to Arbitron, of the more than 13,800 radio stations in the United States, more than 1,100 are programmed toward African-American listeners. There are various formats within the Urban arena, including Hip-Hop, Urban Contemporary, Adult Urban Contemporary, R&B;, and Gospel. In most cases, these radio stations are the first source of news for their audiences.

Messages created for the urban market should be tailored to the issues and concerns affecting their community. If you’re executing an awareness campaign on a health issue, it is helpful to provide specific statistics for African Americans. Additionally, it’s important to remember that delivering messages to the Urban population is more effective if the “one-size-fits-all” approach is not used. For example, on a Hip-Hop station, craft the messages in a trendy, fresh way. You might want to use a celebrity spokesperson with whom the audience can relate.

Overall, the best advice for reaching urban radio is to get to know the media you are pitching. Listen to the radio station you are going to pitch first to understand what kinds of stories they cover. It’s always a good idea to have a spokesperson from the same demographic as the audience you are pitching. And, when possible, train your spokesperson to ensure they understand the culture and nuances of the target audience.

Answer submitted by Valerie Kinsey Harris,
Media Representative, News Generation, Inc.