STEALING THE MAGIC OF RADIO

by Dan O'Day on February 25, 2015

Magic of RadioPreviously I’ve written about radio people who “deny the verbal reality” and how they harm the audience’s listening experience.

One of the examples I gave was of a traffic reporter at a public radio station in Los Angeles.

The same week that blog posting was published, she continued her practice of destroying whatever pictures are in the minds of the audience.

She has begun the traffic report, then momentarily is at a loss for words.

Then she explains, “I’m trying to scroll down more on my monitor to see what’s happening there….”

What???

Hey, Traffic Reporter. Let me explain it to you:

The magic of radio lies in the fact that every day we do things our listeners cannot do themselves.

Your listeners don’t know exactly how you’re able to tell them what is happening on what freeway.

Some assume you’re got a hotline to the California Highway Patrol.

They don’t have a hotline to the CHP.

Others are certain your radio station has a weather balloon, providing you with continuously updated, real-time traffic images.

They don’t have a weather balloon.

But wait! You’re…looking at your computer monitor? That’s where you’re getting your traffic information?

Guess what? Your listeners have computer monitors, too.

They can go to websites that display real-time traffic patterns.

You, Ms. Traffic Reporter, have taken away the magic of radio.

Radio without magic = just another appliance.

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Radio commercial 15 secondsWhen you have only 60 or 30 seconds, radio advertising requires a strong message, crafted and delivered with a strong focus.

When you have just 15 seconds, you need to say exactly one thing.

Clearly and compellingly.

Listen to this radio spot for a Los Angeles area car dealer.

 

Turn your head to the right.

Turn your head to the left.

Blink three times.

Okay, what’s the one big message you recall hearing in that radio commercial for Subaru of Santa Monica?

If you remember anything at all, most likely it’s “Offer ends February 28th.”

But it’s very unlikely that you know what the offer is.

In fact, I guarantee you don’t know what the offer is, because they don’t tell you.

Here’s a breakdown of the radio commercial script:

1. “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru.”

They must have a reason for declaring that love makes a Subaru.

Mustn’t they?

2.  Listen several times, and you’ll decipher this:

“Get big savings during the Subaru True Love Event at Subaru of Santa Monica.”

The announcer has to talk so fast to squeeze in all those worthless words that he garbles a few of them…and either he or the spot’s producer decides to save time by omitting the last syllable of the name of the city where the car dealer is located.

3.  The owner of the car dealership introduces himself and invites you to…Wait, let me replay it…

Oh, right. He invites you to “come in and see the difference today.”

To what “difference” is he referring? That forever will remain a mystery.

He has nothing to say but not enough time in which not to say it. So the producer remedies this by speeding up the owner’s voice.

And the reason the owner of the dealership suddenly appears on this commercial is…Uh….

4.  Next comes two seconds (13% of the commercial) devoted to, “I paid someone for this jingle, dammit, so I’m going to use it!”

5.  More garbled words that include “online” and “specials.”

6.  The clear, easy to understand declaration of the expiration date for whatever the advertiser is offering.

Who among the people responsible for this car dealer radio commercial believes this spot in any way has value to the advertiser?

The automobile dealer who paid for it?

The ad agency that produced it?

The radio station that aired it?

Hey, it’s possible to produce a positive R.O.I. with a 15-second or even a 10-second radio commercial.

But not if you have nothing to say.

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AUDIO JOURNEY OF GARY OWENS’ RADIO CAREER

by Dan O'Day on February 18, 2015

Gary Owens radio air checksAt PD GRAD SCHOOL 2000, I moderated a panel session with two of the greatest radio entertainers ever: Dr. Don Rose and Gary Owens

…who had worked together at KOIL in Omaha 45 years earlier.

I’ve edited together much of Gary’s commentary regarding his radio career.

You’ll hear a little bit of me. The guy who at times laughs appreciatively is, of course, Dr. Don.

Note: Gary’s voice sounds hoarse not because he had had a heart attack but because while in the hospital recovering from the heart attack, a respiration tube was inserted down his throat…

…damaging his vocal chords and, for many months, depriving the world of his signature voice.

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GARY OWENS EXPLAINS HOW RADIO LED TO LAUGH-IN

by Dan O'Day on February 17, 2015

In this audio clip recorded at one of our International Radio Creative & Production Summits, the incomparable Gary Owens explains how his radio show led to his fame-making addition to the cast of a new television program called Laugh-In.

And he reveals where the phrase “beautiful downtown Burbank” originated.

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GARY OWENS EXPLAINS HOW RADIO LED TO LAUGH-IN

by Dan O'Day on February 17, 2015

In this audio clip recorded at one of our International Radio Creative & Production Summits, the incomparable Gary Owens explains how his radio show led to his fame-making addition to the cast of a new television program called Laugh-In.

And he reveals where the phrase “beautiful downtown Burbank” originated.

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