How to write a script for a radio ad

Written by carl hose
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How to write a script for a radio ad
Write a radio ad (radio image by Ewe Degiampietro from

Radio is a huge advertising medium, and commercial spots on the radio draw millions of dollars a year for the radio stations that run them and for the companies who do the advertising. Radio commercials typically run 30 seconds, though some run as long as 60, and they need to be focused to make full use of the time allotted. Learn how to write a script for a radio ad that effectively captures the attention of the intended audience and drives home the sales message at the heart of the ad.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Outline your radio commercial. You have a very short time to sell your product. Write a strong opening hook. Starting the ad with a question is an effective way of capturing the audience's attention, such as "Are you tired of high gas prices?" This immediately engages your audience. Note key selling points in your outline and include them in the finished script. Include contact information at least twice in a 60-second radio spot.

  2. 2

    Write your script in the proper format. Write the name of the client at the top of the script, along with the name of the commercial spot and the running time. Format your script into two columns. The left column will be the source column (speaking characters primarily) and the right will be the dialogue, action and sound effects.

  3. 3

    Understand radio ad conventions. SFX stands for sound effects. Write this in the left column in all capitals and underline it any time you have a sound you want in your ad. Write the sound in the second column of your script. Use ANNCR any time the announcer is narrating. Use a double dash any time you want a slight pause. Capitalise speaking characters in the left column, and write their dialogue in the right column. Spell out phonetically any hard-to-pronounce words.

  4. 4

    Focus your radio script to include a strong hook that attracts your audience's attention, engage the listeners with an entertaining presentation and leave them excited enough to go out and buy what you're selling.

  5. 5

    Time your script when you've finished writing it. If the script is supposed to be 30 seconds, be sure it's exactly 30 seconds.

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