Radio DJs Help Portland Maine Deli Cut The Mustard

Portland Maine Small Business Radio Advertising WorksPortland, Maine is a tough place to own a restaurant.  According to an article in Mainebiz, the city has one eating establishment for every 118 people.  That means Portland has almost twice the restaurants per capita than even San Francisco. And not only is there an abundance of restaurants, there are lots of good, even great restaurants.  Epicurious calls Portland the “Northeast’s Top Dining Spot.” Bon Apetit named Portland “the foodiest small town in America.”  The New York Times, no less, says, Portland, Maine is “one of the best places to eat in the Northeast.”  So when a local deli wanted to compete for customers against a city full of award winning eateries, they turned to a medium that captures the flavor of the local community…radio.

The Full Belly Deli seems to have been plucked from a New York City street corner and deposited within a whirling mass of big box stores on the outskirts of Portland, Maine.  Like a typical NYC deli, The Full Belly smokes its own pastrami and corned beef and stuffs it into sandwiches the size of a smart car; serves up authentic egg creams using Fox’s U Bet Chocolate Syrup; and even sells Halvah at the cash register.

Newspapeer Advertising Didn’t Work

To tempt customers to the Full Belly Deli, owner David Rosen first tried print advertising. “We used to use the Press Herald a lot and some smaller newspapers,” says David, “But it didn’t work out for us. We did not get a lot of feedback from it.” Then came radio.

“We have been using radio for a quite a while now on multiple stations,” said David. “It’s been very successful for us. It works.”  But how does David know? “We have one person at the register. Her name is Goldie. She talks to everyone and asks them what brought you in? and they tell her we heard your ads on WGAN or Coast 93.1 and I will say Goldie is it working? And she’ll say David, it’s working.”

David has learned that the fastest way to radio success is through the DJs stomachs. He regularly feeds the on-air personalities and then compensates them for talking about it in his commercials. According to David, “When the DJs actually talk about a specific product, people will come into buy that product.”  Listen to two examples of DJ endorsements for Full Belly Deli:

[Don’t See The Media Player? Then click here to hear.]


As David found out DJ testimonials are a very effective form of advertising. A recent study by The University of California: Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism found that 82% of radio listeners have parasocial feelings for their favorite radio personalities. According to the study’s author, Paula Woodely, a parasocial interaction “describes one-sided interpersonal relationships in which one party knows (or feels as though they know) a great deal about the other.  The most common form of such relationships is between celebrities and their fans. There is an ‘illusion of intimacy’ between media personalities and audience in parasocial interactions.” This relationship creates important benefits to an advertiser like Full Belly Deli.  According to the study:

  • 75% of respondents turn on the radio because they know their favorite personality is on the air
  • 79% of respondents listen to that radio station because their favorite personality is on the air
  • 85% of respondents change the station less frequently when their favorite personality is on the air
  • 72% or respondents talk to their friends about their favorite personality or what they heard on the program

But most importantly, more than half of people with favorite Radio personalities have considered or purchased a product/service advertised during their favorite Radio personality’s show.

To read more how listeners relate to their favorite radio personalities, read our article, “Portland Radio DJ Found Guilty of Parasocial Interaction.” The entire video interview with Fully Belly Deli owner David Rosen is below

Learn how other Portland, Maine area businesses have benefited from effective radio advertising:


Radio Advertising On A Budget