Stingray Radio offers free advertising as ‘economic stimulus’

Valérie Héroux

Stingray has announced what it’s dubbing an “economic stimulus plan” offering local businesses the opportunity to apply for “grants” in the form of free radio advertising.

Through the program, Stingray says it will provide a minimum of $15 million in radio advertising grants to local businesses in markets where Stingray operates one of its 104 radio stations. The grants will range from a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000 per business. The recipient business will then have 12 months to use the grant towards booking and airing a campaign with no additional investment required.

“Radio advertising has long been a successful stimulus for local economic activity in our country,” said Ian Lurie, President, Stingray Radio, in a release. “We are delighted to support local businesses lacking the capital resources to invest in advertising to effectively relaunch their business. The Stingray Stimulus Program is our way of helping to kick-start Canada’s economic engine for local business.”

As of today, any registered Canadian business, not-for-profit organization or charity that operates within 100 kilometres of the designated municipality in which the applicable Stingray radio operation is located, can apply for a grant. The program will include an approval process overseen by the local Stingray radio management team that will be based on factors, including immediate economic need, COVID-19 impact, social need, community benefit, and long term (macro-economic) benefit. Stingray says existing clients, who have continued to advertise during the pandemic, can also apply.

Scott Broderick, Vice-President of Sales, for Stingray, told Broadcast Dialogue in an email Thursday afternoon that response to the program has already been “swift and strong.”

Stingray says it remains to be seen whether anticipated demand for commercial production will mean that some of the 90 employees temporarily laid off in March will be recalled early. Most of those furloughed are in positions tied to revenue, including copywriters, producers, and those in public-facing roles like reception and promotions. Stingray staff have also taken temporary wage rollbacks amounting to 10% for most employees and 75% for CEO Eric Boyko.

“Ideally this program has an impact on getting everything back to “normal”…for our employees and our clients. Exactly how it impacts our plans remains to be seen, but the goal of this program is to jump start Canada’s economy with an injection of $15 million in advertising, which we believe will be a big step towards finding normal again,” said Steve Jones, SVP, Brands & Content, Radio.

Jones added that while Stingray is the first to rollout such an initiative, he expects other broadcasters will launch their own programs.

“While we are proud to be leading the way, I am sure our competitors will rollout various programs of their own, and that’s excellent,” added Jones. “The economy needs the boost. Anything our company and other broadcasters can do to help the economy and our industry get back on solid ground is a very good thing and we welcome it.”


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