Here, in Western Washington, home to innumerable “dot.coms”—Internet startups vying for attention —the competitive pressure can become intense. So can the advertising messages.

A recent study by trade organization Specialty Advertising Association in Irving, Texas, estimates that the average person is exposed to more than 1,000 advertising messages a day. The issue has become a particularly obvious in radio advertising.

Radio has become a favorite medium among “dot.coms,” which view it as an inexpensive way to get their name out to the widest possible audiences.

Yet a recent survey conducted by Edison Research and radio rating service Arbitron indicates that increased demand has caused radio stations to slot more commercial time, that listeners are aware of the increase and that overall radio listening is down 9 percent in the past year.

“Here in the Northwest, this has been a particular issue,” says JayRay Ads & PR President Kurt Jacobson. “Because the Seattle-Tacoma region, in particular, is considered one of the most technology-savvy markets in the country, we’re inundated with advertising. It’s gotten to the point where I have been hearing that ad rates at some radio stations are getting as expensive as television. Even newspapers are flooded with it.”

Is there any way for advertisers to cut through this flood and get their message across to potential clients?

“If I were to do some end run,” muses Jacobson, “I’d advise advertisers to diversify. Get into different media where it’s not so crowded and you can stand out more.”

Outdoor advertising, for instance or alternative papers and business publications.

“It’s a model that worked well for Altoids,” says Jacobson. “Now, there’s a campaign I admired.”

Jacobson says that when dot.coms started, they wanted nothing to do with traditional media but have quickly became aware that approach won’t work.

By Christopher Hord, B usiness Examiner staff