Wednesday, 29 June 2011

"Happy Radio!"

Radio makes you happy. It’s official.

I think it’s something that if you work in radio, you subconsciously know... ‘what you do’ connects with people, and puts them in a good mood. But now, the research has been done to prove it. You can read it all here. And you can't argue with science!

The RAB in the UK commissioned this study to see how media improved people’s moods, with the hope that radio would do well, and to measure the emotional influence of radio relative to other media. The aim then was to ‘promote radio’ as a place for advertisers to spend their money persuading us to buy different goods and services etc.

Radio did very well. In fact, radio generated the highest Happiness and Energy levels of the 3 media measured (TV and online being the others).

When I think of my own radio consumption, I think this ‘happiness’ concept really spans formats too.

I was driving back home from an evening meeting in central London the other night and Magic 105.4 had a fantastic sweep of 10 songs that relaxed me in the traffic and ‘made me happy’.

I was cleaning up the kitchen the other night (I like to make a mess when I cook) and stuck on Absolute 80s for my regular retro fix, and that ‘made me happy’ as I turned up Madness ‘Night Boat to Cairo’ really loud!

A few weeks ago, listening to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Just a Minute’ (via Radioplayer) made me laugh out loud a-plenty, and that ‘made me happy’.

Last Friday night, I nipped out to collect the regular ‘Friday Night Curry’ and Friday Night Kiss was playing out some top tunes, and that ‘made me happy’ (or was it the thought of the curry that was awaiting my arrival?)

And listening to BBC Radio 5 Live’s excellent Wimbledon coverage today has ‘made me happy’. (Who would have though tennis on the radio could be so entertaining?).

So it’s not just the wacky, zany morning shows that have the power to make listeners happy. The whole spectrum of content that’s broadcast on the radio can do so. And it’s worth thinking about the mood altering effect that radio has, and ensuring your on-air talent fully appreciates the role they have in shaping “the mood of the nation”.

Finally – a word about the research. Well done to the team at RAB and Sparkler who put this together. When there are stories of war in Libya, riots in Greece and strikes in the UK, it’s the perfect antidote to all the bad news that’s around... and a fun story for other media to report on. (Like here and here) Great work and good timing!

Right - I’m off to get another ‘fix of happiness’.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Next Big Thing In Radio?

I spend a lot of time with radio people of all types; Owners, CEO’s, Managing Directors, Sales Directors, Programme Directors and yes... sometimes even Engineers too.

I always enjoy spending time with practitioners though – people who actually make radio; people who are at the ‘coal face’ doing it day in / day out. If you have a background in programme making (as I do), and have spent many thousands of hours in a studio, I think regardless of where you progress to in the radio industry, you always have a secret soft spot for the process of ‘making radio’ and the people who do it.

So when I was asked to be a part of a brand new UK radio conference that was perhaps more for people involved in the job of making radio, and people who just like new radio ideas, regardless of what department they work in, I didn’t hesitate to get involved.

NEXTRAD.IO was launched this morning, and as the organisers say...

“At last – a radio conference for radio people. It’s not designed for the suits. It’s not something that will just appeal to you if you work in a particular part of the radio industry. 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.”

It’s being put together by “professional conference attendees” James Cridland and Matt Deegan, who have set out to design a very different type of radio conference. It’s a pretty good starting point, as many conference can be a bit ‘samey’, and lack a real ‘inspirational vibe’. I’m confident that this will have a different feel, and as the model is the TED conferences, that’s a great reference point to work from.

It takes place in London on 15th September 2011, and tickets are only £99... and I’m really confident it will be a fantastic event (and real value for money too). Being Year 1, the guys have limited it to 120 people, and honestly... without trying to create an artificial demand for tickets, I’m pretty sure they’re going to sell out fast.

So, I look forward to hanging out with some like-minded people, who love radio and want to share and discuss ideas.

And if you’re one of them... maybe I’ll see you there.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

"Today is going to be the day..."

This happens today on BBC Radio 2. A great idea developed to showcase the range and quality of the output of this network...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Best Radio Commercial Ever?

The RAB in the UK recently published its Top 10 scoring radio ads during Q1 2011, based on their rather clever 'RadioGauge' system, which measures the effectiveness of commercials.

There are some good ads on the list, and it prompted me to revisit some of my favourite radio commercials in my archive. And every time I go through them, I'd always drawn to this one.

Simple. Powerful. Effective.

Radio commercials can be beautiful.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

"Dear Sophie..."

Here's the US version of the same ad for Google Chrome...

Content that stimulates an emotional response always works best.

Now think of the last opportunity you had to do that on the radio with a promo? Did you use the "power of emotion"?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

"Dear Hollie..."

I love this...

That's all :-)

"Dearly beloved... Please welcome on stage..."

The radio station 'intimate gig' with some competition winners and a selected invited audience is nothing new. It works really well; reinforces a music image or association with a particular artist; and adds some sparkle to a station, whatever the format.

But to add that special something, the choice of venue if often the factor that can really make the difference.

Last week, Absolute Radio launched their 'Summer of Live' with an intimate gig with one of the most sought after live bands in the country, Elbow.

And the venue? A crypt in a church! Oh... and not any old church. It just happened to be St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Tonight, Absolute Radio broadcast the entire gig on the radio (which sounded great by the way)... but of course, being the digital brand that they are, they filmed it all and you can watch it in super HD quality here.

So... intimate gigs for your station? Yes please - they work well. Venue that captures the imagination? Go for it! Once you open the box of creative possibilities, the project takes on a whole new and exciting dimension.

If a radio station can manage to stage a gig in the venue that hosted the funeral of Winston Churchill as well as the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales... then anything is possible!!

Do Stunts Still Work?

Do stunts still work?

In a mediascape where there is more content than ever before, all vying for some of our headspace, does the good old fashioned 'radio station stunt' still cut through?

Here’s one from the station I work with in Austria, Kronehit.

In April, they decided to hold a “Naked Wedding”. The concept - 2 people get married with no clothes on. Simple really! Quite a few stations have done this worldwide, and if you’re one of them, you’ll know how successful it can be. But in conservative, Catholic Austria... doing something like this takes quite some balls... so to speak.

Here’s a short highlights package of how it looked on the day. Caution: there may be some nudity. Mind you, I guess the clue’s in the title...

In any diary based or CATI system of methodology as they have in Austria, it’s difficult to measure the cut through for these type of events. Do the audience register what you’re doing? Do the wider public notice your radio station stunt?

Google trends is a nice way of seeing what people are searching for at any one time.

If you take Kronehit’s biggest competitor, Ö3 (from the Austrian Public Service Broadcaster) they have more weekly audience and also are consistently a more ‘searched for’ term on Google in Austria. Except in one particular week...

As you can see, for the first time ever, Kronehit (the blue line) overtook Ö3 (the red line) in terms of search, which is a great moment for the station. It shows that stunts, if executed and PR’d correctly, can still cut through to a much wider audience than just a station P1’s.

If you're attending the 'Local Rundfunktage' in Germany at the start of July, you must go and see Kronehit PD, Rüdiger Landgraf's presentation on 'Radio and Social Media', where he'll talk more about the stations' strategy to connect with its youth audience.

In terms of Kronehit growing its awareness and building its image as a station for a fun, young Austrian... another step up the ladder has been completed, and the 'stunt' played its part well.

"The Hills Are Alive..."

I had a bit of a ‘half term break’ in Austria with the family last week. Nothing like a good bit of “mountain air” to cleanse the mind!

While I was away, I tried not to think too much about radio and media related stuff, as everyone should have a little bit of ‘downtime’ to recharge the batteries.

So on Day 1, in the local tourist information office, I thought I’d pick up the bus timetable to check on the times of buses to Salzburg.

(A regular and delightfully punctual service between Bad Reichenhall and Salzburg you’ll be pleased to know!)

And there on the back of the timetable...

... and advert for ORF’s local offering in Salzburg... Radio Salzburg.

(ORF is the Austrian Public Service Broadcaster)

There’s 2 things I liked about this ad.

First, the placement. What better place to reinforce your local credentials other than on the back of the local bus timetable. It says “connected” and “unpretentious” to me.

Second, the strapline. “Wo ich daheim bin”... translates as “Where I’m at home”. It’s a really good piece of communication that shows the radio station is close to the listener in terms of ‘emotion’ as well as geography in a simple yet effective way.

So, despite my best efforts to not think about radio and the media for at least a week, I’m afraid I failed miserably! But I’m kinda happy I did, as I like radio station marketing like this.

Is your station being marketed in the right places? Remember – sometimes ‘context’ is everything.