Saturday, August 29, 2009

Radio Imaging- “Non Stop Change- or- Flavor of the month- or - hey lets redecorate the place with a new coat of paint.”

I have a few things on my mind as I think about Radio Imaging. Well a couple for now anyway. How often should a station refresh the sound and presentation- by changing voice talent? Some stations change talent every year, (sure seems like it) you know they like to keep it fresh; “like a fresh coat of paint(actual management words).” How effective is that? So I happened to also notice that the air-staffs on those stations were also quick to turnover; “OY” so much for the familiarity and stability that our listeners need. It turns out, that very successful stations, take time to find the right voice(s) and then keep them. Here’s my take on it, the more fickle you are with your talent the more fickle your audience will be with your frequency. Of course I understand that the nature of the business is staff movement, but that is a different topic for future discussion. We all crave the status that HERITAGE brings. Not so fast, you cannot celebrate a 10th anniversary without the ten years on the J O B or the Format or morning show or Voice. As a side note there are more than a few V/O talents able to do multiple deliveries and attitudes. That is a good way to offer more than one color for the station’s imaging audio presentation and ensure some variety and lower fatigue. The other thing I noticed ‘bout those stations quick to make cosmetic changes, like slug lines and how the station referred to itself and change the imaging voices. The guts of the stations’ presentation and delivery/content somehow stayed the same, unimproved for the most part. And the results were usually superficial at best. Television stations make it a habit these days to sign their voice talents to multi-year deals…. and with good reason. The other thing I was thinking about is, imaging content. I cannot stress the importance of content. Not the audio process and imaging library tools you use, although that is important. But about the story, like how a low budget film with unknown actors and a great script captures the box office and hearts of moviegoers. It all begins with a story and a concept. When the story is a good one, production and talent don’t have to be big-budget to make a huge impact. How about spending a bit of time crafting a meaningful statement or story to your audience? The story of course is who you are as a station, coupled with a reflection of who you think your audience is. How does your audience consume your station and where do they take you when they are listening? Good imaging content goes beyond QUANTITY and QUALITY of music on YOUR station verses the OTHER guys. There you go, I just gave you enough material for the fall imaging campaign. And maybe rethink using the moniker “best country” because if you do research on that one you’ll find it comes back with (meaningless, no definition or confusion). I know some folks will get pissed that I said it, as I did when 3 research firms told me the term “Best” anything was overused, emotionless and way too nebulous to have any impact. Best bet is to find a voice that fits a long term game plan, commit to that voice, write great imaging copy, give them guidance with it, and sit in on the session if needed (it is allowed and should be welcomed). Let’s crank up the heat on the CREATIVE and cook something worthwhile. Your audience will thank you and your ratings will grow. Austin keyes

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