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.

Global Radio finally living up to their name..?

Two pieces of news yesterday finally cemented Global Radio’s ambitions.

First, they announced “an unprecedented long term partnership” with News International – creating a range of partnerships. The UK Press Gazette reports

Capital Breakfast will partner with The Sun
Classic FM’s More Music Breakfast will be presented in partnership with The Times and The Sunday Times
Heart’s Club Classics on Friday evenings with The Sun and Fabulous Magazine
LBC 97.3 will run special features, news round-ups and advertorials with The Times and The Sunday Times
The Big Top 40, the chart show syndicated across various stations UK-wide on Sunday afternoons, will feature Sun advertorial features.

They also announced a “new media opportunity” with Clear Channel Media in the US to create the Official World Premiere across Global Radio and Clearchannel airtime and advertising assets across the UK, Europe and the USA.

According to Radio Today

Ashley Tabor, Founder & Executive President of Global Radio said: “This is an unprecedented partnership between Clear Channel and Global Radio. The combined worldwide reach of over 150 million people, as well as the innovation of combining radio & digital outdoor, together with the geographical spread of this initiative, is truly eye watering. We’re delighted to be partnering with Madonna and Universal music for the very first ‘Official World Premiere’ today.”

This is pretty clever strategically for Global on both counts.

With the NI deal, there’s a tie up with a huge publisher, giving a tie in with the editorial power of a huge newspaper group. I’m guessing the showbiz-loving Sun will happily be featuring the sort of content that Global breakfast shows will be talking about, and featuring stories about Global’s huge events. I’m sure there’s no compulsion to do this – but an alignment like this certainly won’t harm either if them. One wonders how impartial reporting of Rajar day stories will be – but I’m sure the benefits will outweigh the challenges.

With the Clear Channel deal – the benefits are far more rooted in music partnerships. The recent Official World Premiere of the new Madonna track tied up the Capital Fm Network, Clear Channel’s Radio stations and billboard sites. The event trended worldwide on Twitter – driving traffic back to Capital and helping build the Madonna Brand. I’m guessing this will be sold to various labels to promote their content – 150 Million potential consumers is not to be sniffed at. And I’m guessing that if Global wanted to use it to promote any of their acts – they’d get a good deal..

I’m wondering though if the CC deal will go further. Both Global and Clear Channel operate music events for their stations. Capital has the Jingle Bell Ball whilst New York’s Z100 has the Jingle Ball. In the future, will huge headliners be tied into the type of partnership deal – whereby Rihanna or Jay-Z or similar artists headline both events over one weekend in two continents? An extreme idea – but with lots of possibilities.

The challenge for radio is to constantly come up with new ideas. Global are doing this with new strategic commercial partnerships – that could ultimately create exciting and unique new content partnerships. This must ultimately be good news for all radio brands.

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…

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.