A break from the Norm

How many times are you tempted to fall back on the same routines? How often do you approach creative challenges with the same, often predictable solution? I suggest that the answer it yes – on both counts – in many situations. This is totally understandable in many cases. We all have huge pressures on our time these days – and sometimes it’s easier just to get jobs out of the door. But don’t let that become the norm.

I’m working on a project that encompasses almost every part of the organisation I work for. It will involve programming on radio, on Tv and an equally large body of content that will live online. The creative brief was challenging – but the solution has been surprising – putting a contemporary filter over very traditional content. It’s taken bold decision-making to make it happen. And the challenge for me has been to try to make the radio part feel relevant – rather than overly traditional – but also accessible to a wide range of audiences – and to sound relevant to the station sound on a range of radio networks. The project delivers at the end of the week – and I’ll share he tv and radio creative (along with the story behind it) once its on air.

The problem with breaking creative boundaries is that you have to be brave and take risks.

I’ve been lucky enough over the years to work with Programme Directors who have been very creative – and loved to try new things. And I’ve worked with a couple who have not. Some ideas led to ratings success and were celebrated. Others led to audience indifference and were swiftly dropped. But whatever the outcome, they always needed someone with the balls to say yes.

It’s easy to push back on highly creative ideas. They may cost too much. They may be too risky. They may be challenging to your peers or the people you are trying to impress as you line yourself up for your next job. But sometimes, you need to go with a gut feeling.

If you aspire to work somewhere truly creative – you need to take creative risks once in a while. Are you brave enough to do that..?

Bieber FM – No Thanks..

Photo from http://www.key103.co.uk/

Here in the UK, Manchester’s Key 103 has taken a break from playing non stop Gaga/Bieber/Perry to become TakeThat103 for one day only to celebrate the band’s return to the city 16 years since they last played there.

You can read all about it here in more detail on the UK’s Radio and Marketing blog.

“Flipping format” is nothing new to the UK. Before becoming Glide FM, Oxford’s FM 107.9 became Glee FM. And in the US, stunts like this happen all the time .

In Australia, they do it a different way – creating pop up radio stations to celebrate specific days or events – such as ABC Woodstock (to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock) or ABC Beatles (a weekend of documentaries to mark the 40th anniversary of the break up of the band).

Photo:AdamBowie on Flickr (cc)

The BBC did something similar last year with BBC Tennis – as Adam Bowie notes here.

When I worked in South Wales, we once even created an extra station for Red Dragon FM in Cardiff to support the first year of the staging of the Wales Rally GB. The station – Red Dragon Rally FM- ran as a separate station – taking Red Dragon programming overnight and flipping to rally news and background interviews with a more rock oriented music policy.

Let’s just hope no-one becomes Bieber FM