Whatever Happened to Radio Station Bumper Stickers?

One of the most in-demand things any radio station at which I ever worked was a bumper sticker. Or at least that’s the way it used to be.

I must have handed out tens of thousands of the things over the course of my career and I’m pretty sure I have hundreds of not thousands somewhere in my basement. And these stickers aren’t just from places where I used to work. I collected them from other radio stations.

But radio station bumper stickers are now as rare as coelacanth McNuggets. Why? What happened? A couple of things.

  • No more steel-and-chrome bumpers on cars. Who in their right mind would put a sticky piece of plastic on a painted surface?
  • The whole point of a bumper sticker was to put it on a bumper of a car, thereby turning that vehicle into a rolling advertisement for the station.
  • People just aren’t as likely to fly a flag for their favourite radio station anymore.
  • Reduced promo budgets. Money can be better spent on other swag.

Radio consultant Mark Ramsey takes a deeper look at the situation.

Once a radio industry – and radio station fan – mainstay, it’s hard for me to find a radio station bumper sticker on the road nowadays.

“People won’t put bumper stickers on their cars anymore,” some say. That’s nonsense. People won’t put just any bumper sticker on their cars. Just as people won’t put justany vanity slogan on their license plate or just any branded frame around it.

People brand themselves and their cars with symbols that give their lives meaning and tell their story to those who watch from afar. This is the story of who I am and what I love.

Why would a radio station, let alone an entire industry, no longer want to be part of that?

It’s not that folks don’t put bumper stickers on cars anymore. It’s that folks don’t have station-branded bumper stickers available to them, not even for the stations they love the most. In general, we stopped making them and handing them out.

Your favorite college didn’t do that.

Your favorite sports team didn’t either.

Nor did Apple, as anyone who has opened an iPhone box knows.

What do these folks know that you don’t know?

Why the fuss about bumper stickers anyway?

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38569 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

4 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to Radio Station Bumper Stickers?

  • You forgot one more point. Most people put bumper stickers on their cars not for vanity, but because of a contest. “If we see your car with a CXXX bumper sticker, listen for your license plate number and you could WIN!”. As many listeners were commuters, it was an easy way to appeal to a large chunk of the demographic.

    Since most contests have moved online for the sake of easy (and cheap) administration, it seems that the bumper sticker contest has also become as rare as coelacanth McNuggets.

  • Bumper stickers were cool before I had a car but I remember AM station 1250 CKOM in Saskatoon back in the 70’s (We’re #1…. 2-5-0 !!!) Kids loved to get a couple of those, then cut and rearrange the letters to spell something a bit more, shall we say phallic. My favorite recently is In’n’Out Burger in the US. If you cut the first and last letters from Burger, it says what we really have the urge for. 🙂

    I’ll support Michael with his endorsement of bumper stickers by also choosing one that is more classy then the standard sticky variety. I am a Star Wars fan although more of a Trekkie so opted for the Trek Fish.

    Cheers and keep up the good work. I set my Patreon max to $1M so if we all live long enough you’ll be raking it in!

  • I always put the radio bumper stickers on the back glass of my pickup truck and the one to have back in the 80’s was WEGR rock 103 Memphis, which featured their walrus mascot playing an electric guitar.


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