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..

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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Getting Naked at Breakfast

Photo (C) Global Radio

This morning, Global Radio’s XFM did their Naked Breakfast

They took the Danny Wallace show and broadcast live from the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. But what made this different is that they did everything live. This wasn’t simply a normal outside broadcast with some live links and special guests. Everything was be live – the music, the jingles, even the adverts.

There was a pretty impressive lineup too:

The Stereophonics were the House Band. Plus comedians Tim Minchin and Ross Noble and Paul Weller also featured.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of anything being done in quite this way in the UK. It would have been fairly common back in the early days of Commercial Radio in the US in the 1940s and 50s when it was common for the announcers to voice live ads within live shows. But doing something like this on a very formatted station like XFM is quite a challenge.

I’m guessing they’ve had to carefully plan what airtime was sold within the show. Because they had to perform the ads live – they had to sell some brave creative to the advertisers too – so that  the ads became part of the performance.

Whilst it’s not something you’d want to hear every day – this is a great example of creative programming that gives the listener something to really interact with. You can listen again to it here:

What’s Next (for) Rad.io?

So, apart from a clever name, what will the Next Rad.io conference bring us?

Loads of “suits” talking the same old stuff that pours out of “industry” gatherings? Great ideas that are all well and good if you have huge budgets and unending resources? Or something else?

It’s designed for people who like radio, who want to be inspired by new ideas, who recognise that technology will help it to change and adapt and for those who want to meet like minded people.

I’m hugely looking forward to this conference. And I’m really glad that James Cridland and Matt Deegan are putting it on. This promises to be a great place for discussing new ideas, looking at things in a new way, and making new contacts. If I was starting out, this would be the place I’d be heading; loads of people who actually “do” radio thinking about how we can make radio better.

And there is a future for radio.

Sure, there’s lots of doom-laden statistics floating around about how younger listeners are failing to engage with radio. But not all of them. And only if radio refuses to engage with them, interact with them on the platforms that they hang out on, and actually deliver them the content they want to hear.

And radio still is radio. But it can be enhanced in many different ways. And let’s face it, whilst some people may sneer at the many ways that stations like Radio 1 and others have used to “visualise” radio, what they are doing now is really just a natural extension of what has been done in the past. From meeting listeners at the County show or the Radio 1 Roadshow at Great Yarmouth Beach, to the BBC radio Solent magazine that I remember buying as a child – they are all ways of extending the reach of the radio station.

But the biggest positive I have taken from the last few months is that fact that my daughter (8) has now decided that she wants to be on the radio and maybe run her own radio station.

This interest was started when she came to visit me at work way back when I was at Capital FM. She was 3 – and recorded 3 links which we made into a radio show for her to play in the car. She was also fascinated last time that Radio 1 did their Access All Areas week – as can be heard in this recording as she describes watching Newsbeat going out online.

Now, she has taken it one step further. Over the last few weeks, she has been recording her own radio show. She brainstormed what sort of features she wanted to run, what music she wanted to play (mostly the Capital playlist) and even how she wanted to broadcast (she wants to be on Red Button and can’t understand why it’s a bit complicated to make that happen).

Radio Victory Car Sticker

She’s now started to learn how to make a radio show – in basic form using Garage Band to drag in songs and record her links. She’s even recorded a report from her day out at Brands Hatch a few weeks ago. Now whilst this isn’t necessarily radio in its truest form, it’s no different from back when I was her age, where I recorded the ads and jingles off Radio Victory, and sat in my bedroom playing tunes off a battery powered record player, talking to no-one except my brother, and playing in ads from an old mono cassette recorder. The difference is, now, that I can record her and share a little of it with you.

So, it’s a bit rough around the edges. But she wrote the jingle, recorded the keyboard part, selected the samples and the instruments and the sound effects. And she loved it.

Maybe Next Radio or an event like it will inspire her in the future to do it for real. But only if we all help make it a reality for Megan and her Generation  – and keep making radio a medium that is relevant to them as well as us.

You can follow all things nextrad.io on Twitter @thisisnextradio and the conference hashtag is #nextradio  Radio Today are covering it live here. I’ll be there, doubtless tweeting interesting bits. If you’re coming, it’ll be nice to catch up – and if you’re not, hopefully you’ll learn something useful.