Why On-Air Talent and Brands Are a Great Match

By John Principale, Senior Director, Consumer Marketing, Audacy

As brands double down on influencer marketing, Audio hosts are shining stars–with listener relationships built on rituals, history, and trust.

It’s the first sound you hear in the morning or on the evening commute: Your favorite radio host’s familiar voice. At the office, in the backyard, while you run, they’re live and local. So when that host mentions a restaurant, car dealer, or home improvement store in your town, you’re all ears.

$6 Billion
Advertiser spending on influencers is projected to swell 23.4% this year to $6.16 billion – As influencers continue to drive brand engagement and purchase

Today’s audiences are savvy; They want genuine recommendations from trusted sources. As beloved, local companions, on-air talent has sway. The audience listens when they recommend a product, business, or service. 

Why On-Air Talent and Brands are a Great Pair

Local ties matter

In today’s multi-screen world, weary consumers crave connection. They value community and familiarity. When a DJ in LA complains about traffic, listeners nod in agreement. If a Denver sports anchor laments about the Broncos, the audience commiserates. Local on-air hosts are part of the fabric of the community, and they’re as invested as their listeners. That relationship is priceless for marketers and tricky to replicate on other media. Their recommendations have heft, making on-air hosts extremely valuable to marketers.  

Radio personalities are the original social influencers. Marketers have been leveraging the connection they provide to local communities at scale for a century. Endorsements allow talent the opportunity to connect with their audiences over something they have a personal passion for and audiences place tremendous trust in their recommendations.

Jeff Sottolano
EVP, Programming, Audacy
Authentic and trustworthy

The intimacy between audio hosts and the audience translates well for endorsements. The best on-air endorsers experience the product or service themselves. If an on-air host raves about a delicious new brunch spot or a stress-free car-buying experience, listeners know it’s legit. These aren’t faceless, nameless hosts reading copy. That authenticity builds trust, and the halo effect extends to brand partners. 

Among Audacy listeners:

  • 60% are more engaged with brands their local on-air personalities discussed
  • 72% are more likely to purchase a brand after their local influencer’s endorsement
  • 53% recommend host-endorsed products or services to friends and family

Chipotle leans into local

Everyone eats lunch, but do you know where your favorite radio hosts grab grub? To launch Chipotle’s newest protein offerings, popular Audacy hosts in eight markets sampled the new Garlic Guajillo Steak and Plant-Based Chorizo. They raved about the taste, quality, and convenience. 

Each personality delivered the core message (For example: “Tender cuts of meat finished with lime juice and cilantro.”), but no two spots were alike.

Kelly McMann from WQAL-FM Cleveland shared how the plant-based chorizo fit her New Year’s resolution to eat less meat.

Julie Guy from WLYF-FM Miami said her kids love Chipotle, so she’s happy to have new choices.

WWBX-FM Boston’s Erin O’Malley detailed how each person in her family personalized their steak dinner.

Activating local hosts and letting their personalities shine through is impactful.
The results were mouth-watering: 80 Million+ Impressions Delivered

AARP expands reach with social media

Why stop on-air? Audio personalities are social media stars, and Audacy can help leverage that reach to amplify a campaign. 

That’s how AARP turbo-charged a recent campaign. AARP asked listeners to nominate their favorite caregiver to win a $2,000 prize to raise awareness for November’s National Family Caregivers Month and its local resources. Audacy hosts helped raise awareness for the contest and share local information. To amplify the campaign, hosts and stations posted on their social accounts on Instagram and Facebook with personalized messages.

KYW-AM Philadelphia’s Michelle Durham shared how AARP’s resources were helpful when she cared for her elderly parents.


On Instagram, Carol Daniels from KMOX St. Louis said AARP Missouri helped her identify as a caregiver and posted a photo with her mom. 

Tap into trusted voices

Few local voices are more beloved than Miami’s Joe Rose, the voice of the Miami Dolphins football and WMAQ Florida morning host. When Rose endorses a business, listeners perk up. 

In a spot for South Florida’s Beverly’s Jewelers, Rose got personal. He revealed he bought his wife’s engagement ring at the store 30 years before.

His message is breezy and upbeat. Joe could be your co-worker or neighbor. When we match a brand with this kind of trusted, effective endorser, it’s a win.

Audacy Understands What Matters

At Audacy, we’re committed to delighting, entertaining, and informing our listeners. Our on-air hosts make that possible; They’re the bedrock of our business. Our audience tunes in for who they love as much as what they love. That connection is powerful. We’re here to help our brands harness that energy to expand their reach and build community.  

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

Let´s Talk

eMarketer, US Influencer Marketing Spending, July 2022

Audacy Influencer Impact Study August 2020

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