Moving the (audio) Furniture June 6, 2011June 6, 2011 | jamesstodd What happens when your favourite station changes its furniture – be that it’s jingles, it format, it presenters or even its name? Photo by @delrico http://yfrog.com/h8mvhegj Photo by @delrico http://yfrog.com/h8mvhegj This morning, BBC Radio 1 refreshed the sound of its news bulletins. You can hear how it sounds on Newsbeat here. The previous package had been on air since around 2006, so a refresh was probably overdue. I’m sure there will be lots of discussion on some forums – but I think it works really well. It sounds fresh, contemporary and fits the current direction of the station. The new sequence features the phrase “Listen, Watch, Share” – which itself received 30 minutes or so of discussion from Chris Moyles at the start of today’s show. The logic is simple – and fits with the strategy of Radio 1. It’s now as much about online as it is about radio. And there are opportunities to “share” all over the Radio 1 website. Though strangely, on the Radio 1 new pages you can only “Bookmark”. Moving the “audio furniture” of any radio station is harder than you think. Listeners are used to familiarity and routine. Since a lot of radio listening is fairly passive/ in the background, when something changes, it doesn’t sound right. When stations change presenters, some listeners get annoyed. When stations rebrand or become part of a network, some feel like they have lost some local identity. And sometimes, when changes are proposed, the audience can get very vocal – such as when the Radio 4 controller decided to change the theme to a long running feature. At some of my previous stations, loads of thought was put into how any changes on air happened. And in some, the mantra was “get it on air – they’ll get used to it”. At Radio 1, I’m guessing the change will have been carefully considered, piloted and refined. And if you want to “share” this – the buttons are below.. Related articles To BEEP or not to BEEP (jamesstodd.com) VIDEO: DJ Chris Moyles sets Radio 1 record (bbc.co.uk) Chris Evans stays ahead of Chris Moyles (guardian.co.uk) Related
One thought on “Moving the (audio) Furniture”
I have heard plenty of entertaining links & ongoing fun themes from Moyles in recent times, but his handling of (well, mocking of) the new Newsbeat theme & slogan was just head-in-hands dire self-consuming radio.
What the heck would constant references to “Cher” (and a clip of “Love & Understanding”!) mean to your average teen or early 20s pop fan? Where is the revelance to an audience who just want Rihanna/Gaga/Mars/Pitball and the like.
To drag that same joke out during the *entire* show and interrupt every news intro with a Cher clip was just daft on several levels.
If you’d never heard the “Listen, Watch, Share” line then you wouldn’t even realise it was the official intro he was mocking and the Cher clip is then a meaningless interruption. Doing the gag on day 1 is just like an impressionist taking off a voice you’ve only heard for the first time moments earlier, or running a parody version of a song straight after a first play of the one it’s based on.
Could anyone really call a show about a new 4 bar music loop or the slogan leading into it a “great bit of radio”? I’m a massive anorak & even I thought it was dull! Possible furniture analogy: a visitor comes to your house, sits on your new sofa and you talk to them for the whole time about how you’re not sure it’s very comfortable.
Worst of all, I think, was the way that any credibility the whole new sequence was designed to have was destroyed on the first hearing many listeners would have had. At 8.30 the intro was played *three* times. Twice the new intro voice led into a joke clip, so when the voice then played for a third time and was immediately followed by a headline about serious domestic abuse it made for very uncomfortable listening. Shouldn’t any area of the BBC refrain from settings the audience up for a “funny” and leading them instead into a serious news item?