Saturday, September 29, 2012

EarShot Creative Review - Powerful Radio Storytelling Pioneers

I've said this before. But it's worth repeating. Why can't other countries do what Steve Martin has started in the UK?  First create a must-listen podcast for anyone interested in improving their radio production skills, whether it's public or commercial. And Steve has now gone a stage further by setting up a voice search scheme to find the best rising radio presentation talent. And the prize is being part of the Hobsons voice talent agency for a year.

Radio needs to do a lot more to make it an attractive profession again. I especially liked this month's edition which focuses on creative storytelling in commercials. That is sadly lacking on many European radio networks. All we get in the commercial break is people shouting at us, trying to squeeze in a slogan or URL. Funny? Rarely. Memorable? No, or I would be able to quote an example. Most ads I hear are a cluttered rant -instead of having a clear message. They are not written for radio - its most pamphlet stuff read on the radio. You wouldn't come into a room full of people with this kind of stuff. So why are you trying it on the radio?

Great contributions in this month's Earshot from Lenja Papp (in green above) who is a brilliant creative radio writer from Slovenia (the only country with love embedded in the name). In the podcast she explains how you can build an emotional bridge in seconds if you understand what the audience is thinking. There are great examples from Slovenia which make effective use of radio's intimacy. She is also a risk taker - organising a great campaign on behalf of a local charity to prove to advertisers that radio was still an effective medium to share their brand. She also does pioneering work to boost local radio talent in Slovenia. She deserves to be a rising star.

I thought the comments from Clare Bowen, (also pictured above) head of creative development at the UK Radio Advertising Bureau were useful as well.. She points out that advertising bureaus in the UK still regard radio as just a medium for something with a fast turnaround, not giving the campaign time to breathe. She's also doing pioneering work showing how radio is different, modern and relevant - if done right. I've been disappointed that other radio advertising bureaus in other countries are often there to defend the business - coming out with nothing more than listening figures. They need to explain to content creators how to engage with audiences if radio is to remain an effective part of the advertising toolkit. The RAB has great advice on their website for professional storytellers. Just look at this publication for instance.  In all, we need less defensive thinking and more focus on creativity please! 
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