All songs sound the same, right?

Image - Eflon on Flickr (CC)
Image – Eflon on Flickr (CC)

I just came across this on Buzzfeed. It’s by the Australian comedy band, Axis of Awesome. And maybe it might lead to a music promo idea for someone.

Now, whilst it’s true that all these songs follow the same chord pattern in some way, it’s probably just that chord pattern has a nice progression and is pretty nice sounding to listen to.

But I guess you could use it as the source list for a clever series of music promos if you wanted to. Or maybe Magic 105.4 should mine this for another TV ad..

When the Aliens Take Over

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 09.28.34You’ve all heard about the time when an Orson Welles radio broadcast sent America into panic, right?

Well, it’s happened again. This time, at The New Star 94.9 in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

It started when the station started broadcasting a test signal featuring “Aliens” talking about how they’d taken over the station and would make an announcement about the change at a certain date and time. It seemed to backfire as the station was flooded with calls, children refused to go to school and in a bad case of Chinese Whispers, an alien invasion turned into a bomb threat. As attention to the stunt grew, the station quickly updated the messages. My favourite part is when the Aliens bring in a PR consultant.

The reaction was more than likely down to Social Media – and probably seemed to surprise the station.

“People are saying we’re broadcasting threats to the community — I’m like, what in the world are they talking about,” program director Brian Rickman tells the Shoals News. (INSIDE RADIO)

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 09.28.17The great thing about this project was how they quickly managed to update it all. This was mainly due to a decision not to make the aliens sound how you’d typically expect in a promo, but to utilise the text to speech voices found on any Mac. Production is incredibly simple, really nicely written and funny too. It actually makes me think that a fun show could easily be created this way on some formats. In fact, this could be a fun thing for a station like FUN Kids or similar to do – easy to make and easy to have fun with.

Of course, in the UK, we’re all familiar with the Birdsong test transmissions. Well, the aliens are too:

It’s all a little knowing, certainly tongue in cheek – but really creative. And really simply produced too.

And it’s got them a whole load of press too.

So – the result. They’ve morphed from an urban station to a format described as “Modern Hit Music” – anything from Genesis to Pink, Kings of Leon to Lenny Kravitz, Imagine Dragons to Adele. A pretty broad playlist – maybe one for John Ryan’s Listened In blog to analyse..

If you are going to relaunch or stunt – a project to analyse for ideas, flaws and improvements?

UPDATE

I’ve not listened since they were in their test transmission phase, but judging by their Facebook updates, they really are listening to what their audience wants and are asking for honest feedback too. How many other stations would be brave enough or open enough to do that these days?

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Getting Naked – and Get talked About

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If you work in a radio station, what can you see from your studio windows? From ours, there’s a burned out business, a park, and some student halls of residence.

My friend Goran Kurjak, the creative director at Antena Zagreb shared this great video with me today.

Having worked at BBC Creative Marketing, it’s always interesting to see different ways that TV stations have promoted shows on radio. This is a great example from New Zealand TV channel Prime.

Essentially, they created a 3 day stunt opposite the studios of one of the biggest stations, 91.8 More FM – where they installed a “call girl” in a flat – and somehow let them see what was going on. Being NZ radio, this generated loads of content – not only for the show, but for radio shows across the country. And finally, after 3 days, the “call girl” revealed the real message – that a new show – “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl” was premiering on the channel that night.

There was always a challenge at the BBC of how we could do interesting new things on radio to promote TV shows. Of course, this could never happen at the BBC. But then again…

 

How do you promote your best content?

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I just saw this on Twitter from @dannywallace and think it needs sharing.

http://soundcloud.com/the-xfm-breakfast-show/behind-the-scenes-documentary

http://soundcloud.com/the-xfm-breakfast-show/behind-the-scenes-documentary

There’s a tendency, particularly in commercial radio, to run a breakfast show promo that contains a quick clip from the show. The normal reason for this is that the show is sponsored, and as part of the deal, the Sponsorship team have added in promo trails. The real reason it’s there is to get across a sponsor message. And the breakfast show clip is essentially the filling in the sponsorship sandwich.

Often, the promo is pretty rubbish. The reason; it’s pretty hard to distill the essence of a great breakfast show into a single, punchy clip.

So why do shows insist on doing it? Would it not be as effective to use the trail to give a tease of some great audio that’s actually worth listening to, and maybe direct listeners online to hear the whole section? And now that a significant number of your consumers are online, maybe there are new ways to promote the show too.

I like this “behind the scenes” “documentary” because:
It’s funny.
It’s irreverent.
It’s probably something extra that wouldn’t necessarily appear on air.
It’s really shareable too.

I’m constantly amazed why more stations don’t use clips of content from interviews in on air promos and imaging to drive the listeners online to hear more. If you’ve spent the time recording and editing a great interview with a guest, don’t assume your listeners were actually listening when you broadcast it. Why not use it to promote your show and then reward the listeners with more content online.

Thinking Big

Image: TBWA\NEBOKO

Sometimes you just need to add and add to an idea.This new Ad from Heineken does just that. Why drink at just any old bar? Open your world! It’s thinking big on a huge scale..!

Music: Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes – Love Letter
Agency: TBWA\NEBOKO
Director: Martin Krejci

Mobile Link here http://youtu.be/MZtDqpdvy7s

Originally found at Ads of the World

Fireworks Soundtracks and Mashups

Image (C) Merlin Fireworks

“James – we need you to make a fireworks soundtrack. It needs to be 15 minutes long. Oh, and it needs to be beatmixed..”.

I have only had to make one full on fireworks soundtrack mix.

It was around 2001 and was for the AXA Skyfest Cardiff. It was a huge 15 minute display to celebrate the first Football FA Cup Final to be hosted at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium (whilst London’s Wembley Stadium was being rebuilt). It took me a few weeks to make ( through various incarnations) using a very basic setup on ProTools5 (my first ProTools Rig) and with no fancy Elastic Time tools – just clever edits a little varispeed and a lot of edits.

It worked pretty well and it was fantastic to see the whole of Cardiff Bay lit up to a fireworks display set off and designed by the company that produced the fireworks for the Olympics ceremony at the Sydney Games. You can hear it here. I just listened back to it for the first time in a decade – and whilst it’s a little ragged in places, it was pretty epic!

I was at a party last night so missed the huge London 2012 New Years Eve fireworks display. These have become a Traditional part of each New Years celebration. My friend Will Jackson has tracked down the mix from last night’s display – so thought it worth a share here. It was mixed by BBC Radio 1 and Asian Network DJ Nihal. Take a listen here

In fact this mix was curated by Nihal and engineered by BBC Radio 1 Head of Station Sound, Dan Mumford. You can read more about how the display was put together here

My friends at the Benztownbranding Blog have also recently showcased a very clever Beatmix from David Konksy at Sydney’s 2DayFM here. 30 songs in 3 minutes!

And if you REALLY like this sort of thing – get bang up to date with DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop 2011

Now – if you have a good hangover cure after last night’s celebrations – let me have it…

BBC2 Christmas Animation

(C) BBC
(C) BBC
BBC 2 CHRISTMAS. IMAGE (C) BBC

I’m now feeling more Christmassy having seen the new animations for BBC2’s Christmas idents. The Jack Frost character seems to have been thawed out and replaced by scenes from an animated town.

The idents, created by Red Bee Media with 15 Badgers feature a number of iterations including “Turkey” and “Scientist”. They are slightly off the wall, but have a real sense of fun to them. I particularly love the intricate sound design and little design details in the animation – the sort of idents that you’ll see loads more in every time you watch.

Take a look and see what you think.

What A Wonderful World

David Attenborough It's a Wonderful World
Picture from http://blog.everythingdinosaur.co.uk

How do you celebrate talent? Talent behind the mic. Or in front of a camera.

How do you do that when that talent has been associated with your channel, your brand, your station for almost 50 years?

Sir David Attenborough has been associated with the BBC since 1952. First as a producer, then as controller of a TV channel, and since the 1970s, a presenter of some of the most amazing wildlife programmes ever broadcast.

To many, including me, he is the voice of wildlife, almost the voice of the planet.

This trail broadcast tonight before the final episode of Frozen Planet. It associates him with the BBC, with wildlife TV and with quality. It’s beautifully edited too by the team at Red Bee Media.

Consider Yourself One of Us – BBC 1 Christmas Trailer

What’s the best way to showcase the talent on your channel or station? Feature all of them in a trailer for your Christmas programming.

And that’s what BBC1 have done this year. You’ll be singing along..

BBC One’s Christmas 2011 trailer featuring Gregg Wallace, John Bishop, Gary Lineker, Len Goodman, Lee Mack, Guy Henry, Laila Rouass, Hugh Quarshie, Shane Richie, Shona McGarty, Ricky Norwood, Frank Skinner, Brendan O’Carroll, Tyger Drew-Honey, Ramona Marquez, Daniel Roche, Kevin Bridges, Sian Williams, Carol Kirkwood, Chris Hollins, Bill Turnbull, Matt Allwright, Lenny Henry, Tess Daly, Fiona Bruce, Alex Jones, Sunetra Sarker, Alexander Armstrong, Graham Norton, Julia Bradbury, Sir David Jason, Anne Robinson, John Torode, Nick Knowles, June Brown, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Michael McIntyre and Sir Bruce Forsyth