Radio Studio Sponsorship Extends One Credit Union's Brand

Capital Communication Federal Credit Union in Albany, NY, explores a branding strategy which includes sponsoring the local news and talk radio station studio.


It seems 2007 is shaping up as another busy year for brand-savvy credit unions that are using resourceful paths to connect with members and expand their membership. Few people missed all the controversy surrounding the University of Iowa Community Credit Union’s on again off again efforts to change its name earlier this year.

In an attempt to re-invigorate or re-define a brand, a credit union name change is often the method of choice particularly for a credit union dealing with the loss or decline of a sponsor or a change in charter.   

But often a name change isn’t necessary to re-invigorate a credit union brand. San Diego County Credit Union stepped out in a unique way least year to build brand equity and expand brand exposure by sponsoring the nationally televised Poinsettia Bowl. The credit union will sponsor the event again this year.

CU Radio

In Albany, NY, Capital Communication Federal Credit Union ($540 million) has taken to the airways for a one year marketing package deal with WGY (810 AM), a Clear Channel Communications news and talk station. The deal includes typical radio advertising and special events promotion, and also includes naming rights to the stations studio.

Capital Communications Federal Credit Union
Founded: 1953 as Capital Distrcit Telephone Employees FCU
Assets: $540 Million
Members: 53,000
Employees: 140 in 5 Branches

That’s right, for the next year every hour on the hour, listeners will hear a variation of: “When you need to know, its 810 WGY. Albany. From the Capital Communication Federal Credit Union Studios – your news starts now!”

The credit unions vice president of marketing, Judy Vopelak, pointed out in a June Times Union article that, “We thought it was somewhat unique, and in marketing, you always have to find ways for your name to stand out and have it mentioned when people don’t expect it.”

Risk and Rewards

There is no question efforts at re-branding come with rewards and risks. The rewards are easy to mention but often hard to measure, and the risks usually begin with the potential of alienating your existing membership.

According to Vopelak, Capital Communication FCU doesn’t expect an immediate response from the sponsorship and acknowledged measuring ROI would be difficult to assess. In this case, the credit union is hoping for increased name awareness and more participation of current members in credit union sponsored special events. The sponsorship is not anticipated to have significant effect on soliciting new members.

But for all the anticipated rewards, Capital Communication FCU has encountered some perhaps unanticipated risks.

In 2005, Clear Channel received a public rebuke from The Society of Professional Journalist who urged Clear Channel to stop blurring the line between objective journalism and advertising by allowing the sponsorship of some of their newsrooms around the country. After WGY began airing the studio sponsorship in June, it started the debate of journalistic objectivity in the Albany region.




July 23, 2007


  • well i still would love to know the possibilities of getting sponsorship because i recently moved to a area Eastern Cape, South Africa. and i want to get sponsor ship of opening a Recording Studio and Etertainment Company for the locals how in turn have to travel over 900km to nget their production done in the music industry please may you assit me Contact no: +27 797 564 225
    Shadreck Norman