New notes at BBC Radio 2

Photo (C) Wise Buddah
Photo (C) Wise Buddah

There’s been a refresh to the sound on air at BBC Radio 2 again. It’s an expansion to the package introduced on air last year.

The reason is due to how the original heritage logo had to be licensed from the original composers – Groove Addicts in the US. This time, there’s a newly composed musical logo from the guys at Wise Buddah. It’s all to do with the ways the publishing deal is done…

You’ll find full details about the changes on the Earshot website

But, here’s  a nice video that the guys at Wise Buddah have produced with a bit of behind the scenes session action.

The new look and sound to ITV


It’s always a big day in a radio station’s live when the new station sound arrives on air. Mostly for the on air and production team. For the listeners, it’s often a big change as the audio furniture, around something that many simply listen to, has changed. Sometimes it’s a huge change. More often than not its a more subtle one.

When a TV station changes it’s branding, the look is often more radical. Think of when BBC One changed from the balloons to the current suite of circular idents. A big change of look and sound. The same will happen soon across all BBC channels – and it’s interesting to see how important the sound of the idents is compared with the look. Often, it feels like its more of an afterthought.

Today, the ITV network has changed the way it looks and sound on air.

Take a look

What I particularly like is that there is a pretty distinctive audio identity on most of these idents. It’s a three note theme that blends within the music. Whilst an esoteric blend of audio themes does complement a visual identity, such as that of Channel Four, for me, a more distinctive sound that adapts and matches with the visual look always helps to enhance the overall branding.

You can find out more background on the ITV rebrand at the iMediamonkey blog

It’s Showtime


It’s officially the countdown to Christmas as the TV channels in the UK all showcase their wares for Christmas.

Every year, the channels try to find ever more inventive ways of showcasing the vast array of content available. Last year, BBC One had a singing and dancing spectacular – and loads of Christmas Jumpers. And BBC Two had this wonderful animation.

This year, it’s down to a vast array of BBC One talent again – in a really nice concept called “It’s Showtime”. It’s down to Rob Brydon to gather together an all-star cast for the biggest show of the year. In the trail, we see stars like Mrs Brown and the cast of BBC One shows “Call the Midwife” and “Outnumbered” alongside some iconic stars of the channel (including the TARDIS and Del Boy’s van). There’s also people like David Walliams, Miranda Hart, Matt Smith, Lee Mack, Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, and the cast of EastEnders.

Here’s Part 1

And here’s Part 2

It’s a really fun concept – probably a nightmare to organise – which really shows the sense of fun that BBC One gathers together for Christmas. And nice to see it backed up with some great clip based trails too..

It’s good to see that the BBC can still surprise and entertain with all the distractions of the past few months. It was created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and commissioned by Aoife Liyanage and the team at BBC Creative Marketing.

Time to look again at online video?

Image from

My former GCap Media boss Dirk Anthony shared this article yesterday.

According to the article, YouTube’s skippable ads now make Google “as much revenue per hour as ads on cable TV”. That’s according to YouTube’s global head of content Robert Kyncl.

This is a huge deal. The talk of platforms such as Apple and Google eventually becoming a new way of consumers consuming content are long gone. These platforms are already there – and by logic, will overtake the traditional platforms in a matter of years. The question is – what are traditional broadcasters (and I mean TV and radio), doing about this?

Now some will argue that advertising online is dead as viewers can simply skip it. This is what is happening on TV. Currently most TV I watch is recorded on my Hard Disk recorder. I can skip AD breaks at the touch of a button – so never need to see them. And with the content I watch on iPlayer – I never see trails for programmes since they are only broadcast on the linear TV platforms.

But viewers skip ads don’t they?

According to Robert Kyncl at YouTube:

 We’re making ads optional. Users can skip them if they don’t like them. That’s a big deal. When advertisers pay only when ads are watched – and when viewers are watching only the ads that they care about – they won’t and they don’t mind paying.

Therefore – the ads and trails that they watch are ones that interest and engage them. And whilst this post is about visual content, radio promotions need to be equally efficient at doing this too.

The argument should be – how do we hook the consumer in to watching the ads or trails? Are we intriguing them? Are we exciting them? And is there some clarity to tell them what we’re selling them?

With YouTube ads, it’s pretty easy to integrate extra targeted overlays. This technique could be particularly useful for relevant Tx details which could be targeted to viewers.

Since people like the BBC now have YouTube channels, you’d guess that pretty soon, we should be expecting relevant programme trails to be scheduled to appear here – around the content that already exists. There needs to be a way where potential audiences to linear programming become aware of it on digital platforms. And whilst there are no trails on iplayer at the moment, surely there needs to be some thought as to how content is promoted to BBC online viewers on that platform. The argument up to now has been that people must always opt in to auto playing content. I think this is sensible since not everyone wants it. But maybe the ability to opt in would be useful.

As long as its relevant and targeted, it’s unlikely I’d skip it. Agree or disagree. Let me know..


BBC2 Christmas Animation


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

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

Educating advertisers: avoiding the “creative abyss”.

Photo by James Stodd on Instagram

Does radio really suffer from a “creative abyss”? Are there a lack of ideas? (hence the tenuous light bulb reference..)

Long time radio commercial producer John Mountford, from commercial production house JMS thinks so.

You can read his blog post here .

In the post he says;

I believe the progressive devaluation of radio creativity is in great part down to the radio industry itself. Whereas it should be actively encouraging creativity, its own systems run directly counter to this.

I have often worked alongside some huge advertising agencies. Some of them “get” radio and some don’t. And their “big ideas” (often TV based to tie in with big TV campaigns) aren’t necessarily always big enough for radio. We normally help them get to a good place – it’s a bit of a collaborative process.

We make great efforts to help these agencies to understand radio, and also the uniqueness of BBC radio. A snall number of the people I meet admit they don’t listen to radio at all. So education in what’s special about radio is often needed.

We bring them in for creative sessions, take them into the radio networks to see how radio is actually created. It’s a two way process, and needs to be collaborative. But with persistence, it can pay off too.

In answer to John; I feel your pain – particularly with some smaller scale local advertising.

Stations are to blame in this – but sometimes it’s down to a lack of understanding by advertisers. There is a need for radio stations to educate their clients, and it seems the RAB are doing a lot to assist in this area.

But it’s down to educating sales teams too. And if they don’t have a love for the medium – we’re stuffed.

Utilising User Generated Content

Photo (C) Metro
Here’s a fantastic example of using user-generated content to make a really interesting looking TV spot for BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards. It’s a simple idea – but executed really nicely.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There’s a little more background on the Earshot Creative review blog here.

I think there are huge opportunities for making great sounding, highly effective promos and imaging using this method. There are countless examples online of contests where bands have let fans download elements from their songs to create alternative mixes. There are also examples of online games where fans can “create” their own programme trails – like this one for the BBC’s Doctor Who from a few series back.

So – how about someone publishing some imaging elements online and giving their listeners the chance to create the idents for the station. Just imagine the creative treats that might emerge.