20 years in 2 minutes

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What would you include if that next job asked you for a current showreel? Your latest ID? The latest weekend promo? Or something to show the range of what you’ve done and what you can do?

The longer you’ve been doing this job, the harder it is to choose what to include. Do you include the beatmatched promo that at the time took you a day to lovingly craft? Or that clever promo featuring that cool artist?  Continue reading “20 years in 2 minutes”

Leave a Lasting Impression

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These are the notes and presentation that Daniel Mumford, Nathan Freeman and I gave at The Imaging Days 2014.

You can find notes and details of other sessions from the Earshot Creative blog.

(All audio is for education purposes and copyright remains with the original holders).

PRESENTATION ABOVE MAY NOT WORK. IF NOT, HERE IS THE LINK (Opens new window).

LEAVE A LASTING IMPRESSION

Whether as a commercial or public service broadcaster, it is essential to fight for creativity and engagement throughout your imaging. The idea is still king.

Having the right FX package and knowing what processing to use is an essential foundation for a great station sound.

The next step is to develop an engaging creative for your brand identity to maintain a loyal listener-ship and more importantly increase your hours.

Imaging is what holds the radio station together and expresses your tone of voice so in this session we’ll tackle how serving the passions of the audience directly affects their perception of you.

Blurring the lines between demographics, we’ll be playing you examples of our collective work across a wide spectrum of radio stations that showcase how we continually engaged our listeners. Examples that will hopefully inspire and invigorate your own passion for creativity.

001 ***AUDIO: – CLICHED MONTAGE***

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1) FIND YOUR VOICE

(Defining Sound, Personality and Tone of voice)

Defining the sound (BBC Radio 1 Xtra)

How are you defining the sound of your station?

For Radio 1, it’s all about young people / young voices

6 Music – a passion for music in an authentic way

JACK fm – quirky humour and a slightly half – arsed attitude

(DAN):

BBC Radio 1 Xtra

1Xtra New Imaging On-Air Demo (Defining the sound)

1Xtra’s new imaging needed to get a bit of an edge back from going ‘friendly’

Style is similar to R1’s – Mini tracks cut / chopped up / FX – which brings them in line with each other while still being different

002 **AUDIO**

RADIO 1 XTRA MONTAGE

Here’s a video about it too from Emergency Production Music

Defining your personality (JACK fm)

JACK fm is a classic and contemporary rock station for 25-54 year olds or more specifically blokes who haven’t grown up.

Playing What We Want, –  a distinct and irreverent persona making us relatable and down to earth in everything we do.

Our personality exists in everything we say and do.

Cultural refernces, TV themes, Sound effects.

The way we say and do things – using phrases from old TV shows, with a twist.

This song was huge in the summer it came out – but we didn’t play it – but it appeared on air a lot – by re-using it in an interesting way.

003 **AUDIO**

Don’t Be Daft, Punk (Personality)

Finding your tone of voice (BBC Radio 6 Music)

Tone of voice particularly important when building tension or expectation.

When launching a contest or promoting an event – what are some effective ways of drawing an audience in?

(NATHAN)

004 **AUDIO**

This is 6 Music Trail (Tone of Voice)

6 Music is in a privileged position whereby the artists we place, don’t just listen. They have a distinct passion for what we do. Not because we play “uber cool” hipster music.. because we don’t. It’s because we share their passion for music. Are listeners love music. That is why we use the artists to voice their true opinions to create a powerful, yet authentic monologue that effective sells the station. This method also helps us convey a non linear message without over selling the product. In a way we let the quality of the product do the talking.

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2) TELL YOUR STORY (Engagement, sell your music, expose your passions)

Engaging with the audience (Justin’s House)

(JAMES)

With any audience – it’s how you attract their attention that matters.

The writing is always a consideration.

For an audience like those on BBC Radio 2, the challenge for promoting a Kids TV channel was not writing for the primary audience of the TV channel – the kids – but creating something that would resonate with the Grandparents and older parents who listen to the station.

How we did it – showed a series of children a teaser from the show then asked them to talk about it.

005 **AUDIO**

****2 PROMOS I THIS MONTAGE AND DJ TALK UP**

Highlight how at the BBC PRESENTERS CAN COMMENT ETC**

JUSTIN’s HOUSE TRAIL**

Engaging with your audience (BOWIE Weekend)

(NATHAN)

Bowie – We were doing a weekend of programming to support the release of Bowie’s latest album over Easter.. the return of the messiah! (Engaging with audience). This is a prime example where you can be creative, effective, uplifting and thought provoking. Simplify your story and tell it in an interesting way.

006 **AUDIO**

– Bowie Promo**

Telling a story.

Creative treatments need to express a message, sometimes many.

But how much is too much? How many messages will listeners put up with.

What is their attention span?

What is the take out of the message?

(DAN)

Hackney Weekend was the biggest festival R1 had ever done.

Co-incided with London Olympics.

Was more than just a concert – Lots of community outreach stuff too (Academy).

Having the Olympics to hang off the back of it, it created a story and became part of something bigger.

Lots of people talked about it – eg: Great US soundbite from newsreader

007 **AUDIO**

Hackney Brand Trail – Tells the story of the development in Hackney, Hackney Academy, The London Olympics and The Big Weekend

Selling the music – music promos / creative promos

(JAMES)

Much debate about whether stations should demonstrate music by example.

If you play the hits – just do it

But sometimes part of wider campaign to reposition

Came at a time when Capital under attack from KISS/HEART and MAGIC

Had relaunched as a more RnB Magic focused station then relaunched again

Jeff Thomas came in as consultant to refresh sound along with a new PD

All about emotion, ownership of music and creating a “filmic / huge” on air sound

Lots of voxes and lots of artist audio – but not just IDs – interview clips etc etc

008 **AUDIO**

CAPITAL – Playing Live Music Promo

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3) HAVE IMPACT (Stand out, promote events or competitions)

Creating an impact (PUNK BRITANNIA)

(Nathan)

Punk Britannia Promo – We wanted to do something punk but also do something that made punk contemporary and relatable to both our audience who lived through this era and the younger end of our audience. There were so many parallels with 1977 and 2012. We capitalized on this but also conveyed the positive message in the end. This was a “creative brand” trail that ran alongside normal programming trails but was considered like a piece of content. I believe that imaging and trails should not just be something that gets your point across. It’s giving the audience something extra – content. Good content. You can’t always cram all your messages into one trail. This will dilute your offering. However with careful planning and running a campaign for the right amount of time you can effectively “get noticed”. However don’t do this all the time.. to have impact, you need to create special moments. Again it’s slightly longer but is interesting enough to keep the attention of the listener.

009 **AUDIO**

Punk Britannia promo

Add a twist (Promoting Contests)

(JAMES)

Simplicity of an idea is often the key to success.

Sometimes a big contest just needs a simple idea to make it cut through

Can be particularly important when building tension or expectation.

When launching a contest or promoting an event – what are some effective ways of drawing an audience in?

Fear is particularly underused

010 **AUDIO**

Bong Games Losers

Sell your event differently – (One big weekend)

Hackney Weekend – Biggest ever lineup for the stations and so many great names we couldn’t leave anyone out on the promo. Good example of the event being bigger than the sum of its parts.

011 **AUDIO**

Hackney Weekend – Massive LineUp Trail

4) BE CREATIVE (It’s content don’t you know)

Writing / Humour/Tone of Voice/ Personality (Phil and Alice)

(DAN)

Phil and Alice – New DJs – Need to sell their personalities as well as the music to make it a unique offering.

12 **AUDIO**

Phil and Alice Promo

Experiment

(JAMES)

Use the music – don’t always have to be too cool for school

Sometimes a cool song can give a simple promo idea

13 **AUDIO**

Trumpets Music Promo

5) – Summary

(Nathan)

Without a good product you will not succeed.

We have the skills in this room to sell, amplify and improve the product, but we have to keep pushing our programming colleagues to produce the best possible content.

Be a pain in the arse.

Understand your audience better than everyone else and do everything you do for them.

Owning Big Events

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Tonight sees the Brit Awards in the UK. Unlike the Grammy Awards (with over 100 different awards), the Brits are a more manageable affair – celebrating mostly British artists and talent with a few overseas categories thrown in (to make it a bigger show).

For many radio stations, this is a huge deal – particularly for stations Capital FM and Radio 1.

There was a time when the whole of commercial radio got involved with helping choose the British Single (essentially the biggest songs played on commercial radio that year). Now, it’s purely the preserve of Capital FM listeners to have their say. And it’s surely one of the biggest days in Capital’s music calender – along with the Summertime Ball and Jingle Bell Ball.

Back when I worked at Capital, it was a pretty big deal. We’d run packages supporting the voting, have weekend giving away tickets and of course do a couple of shows from backstage too. But now, it’s way bigger than that. Take a look at their website and it’s nothing but Brits. Listen on air for the last couple of weeks and its been all about the tickets. And today, it’s everything Brits. And let’s face it – it’s all about the music that (on the most part) is at the heart if their playlist.

They are absolutely owning it online already – watch this great backstage video

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But as well as being jammed full of relevant, relatable content for their listeners, it’s obviously a huge opportunity for Capital to shout about their brand to anyone who listens. It’s live on ITV, so expect to see their current TV advert at every opportunity as well.

As with any radio brand, it’s all about talking abou t the content that’s relevant for your listeners. There are still many sales people in particular who have a lack of understanding of what brands would work alongside their radio brand. I doubt it happens as much now, but there was a time when even the sales team at GCap bought us promotions briefs for a dog food winning weekend.

And whilst Capital will be getting its branding in everyone’s face tonight at the Brits, I doubt you’ll see any of these on the tables – which I actually think are their best piece of targeted visual marketing ever. Beans Means Hits..?

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Johnny Be Good (and his Jingles weren’t that bad either)

Big Ben by James Stodd

Last week, Capital FM‘s breakfast host, Johnny Vaughan left the station.

The reasons behind why he left have been discussed by people like Matt Deegan and Nik Goodman

For my money, Johnny was a great radio broadcaster, somewhat constrained by commercial radio from the start. When Johnny was in full free form mode, he was incredibly entertaining.

The Johnny who left Capital was a very different sounding one who started there. Sure, some of the gems came through, but he didn’t really fit with the punchy format that Capital now pumps out. I’m also guessing they’re looking for someone who can work equally well across the network. And Johnny is of course at heart, a Londoner – as his launch TV commercial showed.

Creating the production sound for a new breakfast show is hard. And it was for that show. Johnny was a big change from the previous Chris Tarrant breakfast show and the various interim replacements.

What we ended up with was a fairly esoteric sounding package of jingles and the like from the guys at Wise Buddah in London. They fitted his personality, his style and his quirkiness – and included the fairly memorable “Johnny on the Radio Now Now Now” theme which cropped up a number of times during the first half of his tenure.

Before we got there, we did explore other areas, and I found one bit of audio in my archives that may not have ever been heard before. Before settling on the guys at Wise Buddah, we worked on some demos with the team at Reelworld. These were based around Capital’s heritage sonic logo – and had a more US/Letterman/talkshow type of feel. Needless to say, they weren’t what was required at the time. However, I still think they are really good, and could work for someone somewhere. You can contact Reelworld here:

Johnny’s replacement is being announced tomorrow morning. I wonder if the replacement will get a song and dance number to herald in the new show? Doubting it..

UPDATE: Capital FM have announced that Dave Berry will join Lisa Snowdon as breakfast show host. Great choice – funny, punchy and full on Londoner.