Run of Station (ROS) Placements and Other Cost Savers

When timing is not a main consideration, many nonprofits have found they can save considerable money by opting for a placement that is guaranteed only within a given window of ten days or so, or one that is plugged into a TV or radio station as slots become available. On the broadcast side, this is known as a run-of-station (ROS) placement. It can represent savings of 50 percent or more over time-specific placements.

Some outlets have special rates for advocacy advertising, as well as special protocols and staff just to handle them. Local groups might be charged less than national organizations. Be sure that your agency inquires about discounts for local nonprofits or political ads. For example, TV and radio stations are required to offer the same rate to political ads as they give to their heaviest advertisers. This is sometimes called the lowest unit rate. Your spots may fit under the station’s own definition of a political ad, even if you have not produced it with that intention.