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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

30 ideas from Radiodays Europe 2015

Anna Sale introduces her 5 ideas. Photo: Conor McCabe.

Anna Sale introduces her 5 ideas. Photo: Conor McCabe.

One of the most thought-provoking and enjoyable sessions at at Radiodays Europe is always Nik Goodman’s 30 ideas in 45 minutes.

This year Nik invited US podcaster and consultant Larry Gifford, Ulla Svenson from Swedish Radio, Bauer’s Head of Creative Sam Crowther, Anna Sale, the host & Managing Editor of ‘Death, Sex & Money’ from WNYC, Gracia Lee a digital producer from KBS Korea and Helen Thomas, Editor at BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music.

Each speaker had just six minutes to talk and present 5 great ideas or tips.

Here they are:

Larry Gifford

It’s all about story development and presentation.

1. Thin slice – take a tiny sliver of a story and focus on it.
2. Dive deep – go into a lot of detail.
3. Make me care – look for the moral or message in the story. All great stories have a theme.
4. Think like a novelist – look at the first lines of great literature. Establish your world and yank people into it.
5. Catalogue success – build a playbook containing devices and routes that get into a story.

Ulla Svenson

1. Praise mistakes – it worked for H&M who wanted a few “total flops” among the successes to prove that they were trying hard.
2. Be aware of indifference. A restaurant owner hired personalities as waiters. He had to fire one who was proficient but dull.
3. Comfort is your enemy. Don’t feel comfortable – stretch your comfort zone.
4. Recruit like a reporter, not from your chair in the office. Get out and find them.
5. Stop talking – start testing. We talk too much about ideas – get into the studio and try them out.

Anna Sale

Great tips for authentic, storytelling speech radio production here:

1 Record everything. Always. Start your audio recorder before anything happens.
2. Not getting somewhere in an interview? Just…… wait.
3. Edit mercilessly but keep the space. Take out whole chunks of dullness but retain the human pauses that add to the dramatic tension.
4. Don’t suppress your natural reaction, even when it makes noise. It gives the listener permission to smile and it builds your personality.
5. End with a bold set of compulsory questions. Anna always asks standard, personal, powerful sometimes rude questions that could ruin the dynamic earlier but provoke great answers at the end.

Sam Crowther

Speaking over a bed in his characteristic presentational sound, Sam says:

1. Sound sells Sound – use the medium and its powers.
2. Hey Joe! (you had to be there).
3. Less is More. Most people don’t like ads. Take out as many as possible by targeting. Make the creative better by knowing more about the audience.
4. Compose yourself. Make original music. Get access to composers and music production skills.
5. Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories. Learn how to use amazing kit in new creative ways.

Gracia Lee

1. OSMU? No thanks! One source, much use. Don’t compromise your production to satisfy all platforms and touchpoints. Focus on the one that matters most.
2. Learn from Kong. It’s a simple app that does one thing well. It just plays the radio station.
3. Digital does not fit for all. Don’t force radio to change its characters. Don’t make the tail wag the dog (I think).
4. People on the table. Keep the human element around service. Introduce the team with a video if they work apart.
5. Be proud of being analogue. Some people are completely logged out at home and believe it is good for them. You should try it.

Helen Thomas

Tips for production and talent management here:

1. You’re all on the same team. Work together to create the best possible radio. Nobody should be left on their own.
2. Never say ‘no’ straight away. Every suggestions (unless illegal or libellous) deserves consideration and building upon. Generate loads of ideas then weed out the right ones.
3. Always listen intently to your presenter and react accordingly. Talent can be lonely. They need to know you are fully invested in their performance.
4. Bring something extra to the party. Note down observations and thoughts you have that can become content. Learn how to feed them into the talent and the team as suggestions. The best ideas make the talent look good.
5. Enjoy it! We don’t work in a bank – we have the best jobs in the world.

Interviews from Radiodays Europe will feature in our next Earshot podcast, coming soon.

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