Recall of Radio Advertising in Low and High Advertising Clutter Formats

Erica Riebe and John Dawes
University of South Australia


Commercial radio stations in Australia generally take two approaches to the placement of advertising on their stations. They adopt what we call either a high-clutter or a low-clutter strategy. The high-clutter format has two aspects. It involves large blocks of ads (around eight) played between blocks of music and other material. This results in approximately 12 minutes of advertising per hour. The low-clutter format involves far less advertising – approximately four minutes per hour. The advertising is also played in smaller blocks, with a maximum of two advertisements in a row.

The high-clutter approach is the norm, probably because it has the advantage of allowing more advertising time to be sold. It is also easier to programme and it allows the station to promote itself as playing large blocks of continuous music.